Rachel Corbett joins Nova as head of podcasts and digital content

Rachel Corbett has joined Nova Entertainment to lead its podcast and digital content output, as part of the audio company’s focus on expanding its digital audio output.

Corbett told Mumbrella she was excited to have a fresh start in an established audio business.

“Nova’s really looking to put a focus on digital audio and build its suite of original content. It’s exciting, it’s a real opportunity to start things, in some ways, from the ground up, while there’s still Nova’s partnerships with other creators so we’re not entirely working from scratch,” said Corbett.

Corbett is excited to begin building out Nova’s podcast suite

“There have been some really successful podcasts that Nova has in house, but now it’s like the world is our oyster which is really cool. We’re looking at a strategy and coming up with new shows and that’s really my wheelhouse and also the thing that I’m most passionate about.”

Corbett will lead Nova’s digital content strategy, development, production and talent management. Leading a team of digital content creators, she will innovate new digital content formats, working closely with Nova’s commercial team and programming to grow its digital audiences and commercial offerings.

“Podcasting is all of the good bits of radio with all of the restrictions of radio removed. Really niche content that couldn’t have worked, or that wouldn’t have been commercially viable, on a radio station makes a lot of sense in podcasting, so you’ve just got so much more opportunity, not only in the breadth of content that you can create, but in the ways you can deliver it which, for a creative person who loves audio, it’s just the perfect mix of those two things,” said Corbett.

Corbett got her start in audio working on radio, hosting and producing with Triple M in Melbourne. She moved across the Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) network, spending time at 2Day FM and moving back to Triple M in 2011. She has also been a regular contributor on TV, including for The Project and Studio 10.

Corbett founded PodSchool in 2016 after spending some time teaching radio and podcasting at AFTRS. In 2017, she joined Mamamia as head of podcasts, a role she left earlier this year.

“Because I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s still really amazing that people feel like [podcasting] is just at the beginning, but that’s really exciting. When I first started with Mamamia I was still having to explain podcasts a lot to commercial partners, it wasn’t something that a lot of brands were super comfy with. By the time I left Mamamia, every brand was like ‘how can we get into podcasts’. That’s where we are now – brands and clients really understand the power of audio and the importance of it and that’s really exciting for a content business,” said Corbett.

Fayad Tohme, Nova Entertainment’s chief digital officer said: “Rachel’s track record of success in developing exceptional content that connects audiences and brands made her the perfect choice to develop Nova’s podcast production capabilities, provide scale to our podcast catalogue and identify opportunities to invest in original and appealing content. She has the right skills and talents to lead our team of content producers and further establish our audio proposition.”

Nova recently ended its partnership with podcast company Acast, but still has a podcast partnership with News Corp Australia, Sky News and some international publishers. In June, the business appointed Tim Armstrong as head of digital audience and monetisation. Armstrong will focus on accelerating the company’s digital audio platform strategy, enhancing monetisation and streamline operations, as well as growing the company’s digital audience.

Armstrong will work with Corbett in building Nova’s digital audio offering and improving its monetisation

Tohme said: “Tim’s appointment allows us to build a centralised, multi-functional digital platform to manage, distribute and monetise our content. His background in digital technology and operations is essential for us to be able to deliver innovative and effective digital propositions for our audience and clients.”

Corbett said now is the perfect time for Nova to expand its podcast offering as more people are looking to digital audio for connection and entertainment during COVID-19.

“This time has been weird because it’s been very isolating for some people and I think it’s only heightened our need to connect with people and when we’re not allowed to stand next to somebody or see the people that we’re used to seeing, you’ve got to find different ways to connect. Podcasting is that friendship you develop with the person who’s talking to you and the good ones really are the ones that build that relationship with an audience,” she said.

“When you’re lonely or you don’t have the life you used to and things have changed, I think that opens up a real opportunity to create those kind of connections with content producers. It’s one of the best things about doing a podcast and one of the things that is most meaningful about it, if you can be that for somebody, what an incredible thing to do. It’s not just creating content, it’s creating a connection with people who just like to be around you in their ears.”

As for what makes a good podcast and what Corbett will be looking for in her new role, which she commences on October 5, she said it’s all about the audience.

“It’s just really a good idea executed well. The idea has to be listener driven – I think one of the reasons some podcasts fail is because they’ve thought about it from an ego perspective, rather than an audience perspective, so there’s not much thought that’s gone into is there an audience for this show? Are there people out there that want this content, that are looking for this content, that when they find this content will be like ‘it’s made just for me’? Having that in mind, really thinking about how you execute that, there are a million different ways that you can do it, but the main thing is that you’re creating an idea for an audience.”


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