Ex-ABC producer Courtney Carthy launches Australian podcast network Nearly

With more than a decade of experience in the audio and digital media industry, former ABC development producer, Courtney Carthy, has opened his own podcast network Nearly, to meet the demands of a “fast-growing audience for high-quality audio storytelling.”

The business runs two fold, offering both podcast content services for brands and ad-supported shows for consumers, which include recently launched comedy show The Debrief with Dave O’Neil, and pop culture podcast, The Clappers.

Carthy said the new business is a reversal of the Gimlet model – which began with ad-supported narrative content and now runs brand-driven content.

“We’ve started the other way around,” he explained.

“We’ve gone for producing more corporate branded content for people with money first, knowing that we’d need a lot of funding to produce our own high-quality shows that were ad-supported and really make it worthwhile.”

Growth in technology and mediums which allow for high-quality storytelling prompted Carthy’s decision to launch the platform.

“We decided to launch Nearly because there’s a fast-growing audience for high-quality audio storytelling and the delivery method being podcasts. Through your mobile phones and data getting cheaper, you could really get these quality stories and quality audio content on demand,” he explained.

Nearly’s first podcasts, with more to come at the back end of this year

“I’ve got eight years of working in the audio and digital media industry experience behind me and the moves that I could see in the market, the audience changing and the consumption rates showed that there was an opportunity for a product like that.”

Carthy said one of his main focuses for the rest of the year will be building more content in a “sustainable way”, and ensuring all ad-supported shows kept up with each other.

He said while brands may feel like they are taking a “leap of faith”, there was large opportunity for them to grow audiences.

“What an audio product does is intimacy of having headphones in your ear or listening by yourself while you are at home doing something, is you are concentrating, consuming that in a way that is very personal – plus because it’s not a television show you are building the images in your head,” he said.

He added brands could “exploit” websites and other social channels through podcasts as well.

“You can make it into a short video for social media, you can share that photo on companies’ social media channels, annual reports, internal communications,” he explained.

Podcast statistics kept in “black box” by Apple says Carthy Source: Chelsea Dennison

Podcasts have websites and social channels, so there’s opportunity to exploit those as well in a really dynamic way.”

One of the company’s first clients is ARENA – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency – which surrounded its podcast with blogs and imagery from a trip completed by Nearly to solar farms.

“They were able to get social media content, blog content, contact lists from people we’d met – all of that information you can gather from treating it not just as a single output but as something where you can absorb as much as possible,” Carthy explained.

Asked how he measures success, Carthy said while Apple keep podcast statistics in a “black box,” a major form of measurement was increase in downloads compared to the previous episode.

“Give it a week and if it’s doing better than the previous episode that’s success for us at the moment,” he said.

“We couldn’t say that having 10,000 a show – that’d be great but why is it 10,000 and why isn’t it 15,000? There’s no real way to know.

“Podcast statistics are essentially kept in a black box by Apple – and that’s changing which is great – and they’re only available to the publisher.”

Carthy hopes to be producing podcasts with the same quality as his former employer, the ABC.

“We like to think that’s the standard we are aiming for in all of the things we do and when we did the work with the ARENA I pushed the deadline back because we were trying to make it better and up to scratch and have everything engineered properly and mixed well.”

“It makes such a big difference whether the listener knows it or not. That production work, consideration built into it makes for a much better product and a product that more people can appreciate, whether that be advertisers or listeners.”

Nearly’s network launch follows Nine’s launch of 9Podcasts, SCA’s launch of its new Australian podcasts on PodcastOne, and Omny’s announcement last week it would distribute Australian podcasts through Spotify.

Nearly’s first podcasts are available through iTunes.


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