Companion podcast is fast becoming a thing in marketing, thanks to the Chernobyl podcast. The immense streams amassed by the podcast opened the eyes of movie producers to the potentials of airing a podcast after the final episode of a show is televised.
Why it matters:
The influence of a show starts to fade immediately the last episode is televised. We’ve seen this happen to our favorite shows; for instance “Prison Break”, “Merlin”, “Spartacus”, to name but a few. This sloping effect is about to change, as companion podcast gives show producers an opportunity to extend the lifespan or influence of their shows.
Companion podcast is not the same as the regular podcast and it may be viewed as a sub-genre. A podcast can be hosted by fans or third-parties, but companion podcast is more authoritative since the guest is expected to have a direct influence on the show or subject discussed. For instance, the most suitable guest for a companion podcast about a movie is either the show producer or a featured actor/actress.
‘The difference with companion podcasts is that they’re being produced by the networks themselves which have access to the stars involved, and, crucially to those who produce and write shows. And they are proving to be massive hits.’ (WARC 2019)
Also, companion podcasts and regular podcasts are used in different ways. Brands see the podcast as an endless reservoir of content ideas while companion podcast is used to ‘strengthen fan loyalty’. These two sub-genres are relevant to marketers and brand owners.
Companion podcast is a proven instrument for brands that want to keep their fans talking about their products even if such products have a short lifespan. The Netflix podcast themed, Behind the Scenes: Stranger Things 3 podcast, and the HBO miniseries podcast titled, the Chernobyl podcast, are good examples of successful companion podcasts.
‘Viewers of Chernobyl, which won 10 Emmys, loved it. To-date, The Chernobyl Podcast has been played more than 10 million times across various platforms, including HBO Go and HBO Now.’ (WARC 2019)
As you’re planning to get future content ideas from fans via podcast, it’s necessary to engage them through companion podcast. Airing a companion podcast will not only enlighten your fans on controversial issues but also give them something to talk about years after your show has ended.