Credit: Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

Eurosport knows video. The legacy broadcaster, founded in 1989, owns and airs rights in 54 countries across a wide range of sports. They successfully moved to digital with a powerful online offering of content to watch live and on-demand. Yet when Eurosport France decided to supplement their offer with audio, they were met with a particular challenge, explains editor-in-chief Aude Baron.

Eurosport gets high traffic and engagement on their own site and app, yet current podcast distribution strategies rely heavily on third-party apps (Spotify, Apple Podcasts, etc.) where publishers have little to no control of if and how their content is featured.

They needed to produce and distribute high-quality audio content that would further engage their current audience and also help them reach new audiences. And they needed to accomplish this in a budget-conscious way, explains the self-confessed "optimisation and ROI-obsessed" Baron.

Eurosport France already had everything it needed to launch a successful slate of podcasts: great content, talented journalists, and strong web traffic. Podinstall is the tool that helped them connect the dots to build listenership.

Your website is your listening platform

Podinstall is a web player that lives on your website. While most publishers use a CMS that is optimised only for text and video, Podinstall allows you to give users an audio-first experience without sending them away from your platform. Publishers are empowered to reach new listeners while staying within their brand's ecosystem and providing users with a seamless listening experience.

Podinstall’s user experience puts audio front and centre. Contrary to embedded players in article pages, Podinstall allows users to immediately engage with your audio without competing with titles, text, and display ads.

With the subdomain podcasts.eurosport.fr, Eurosport keeps listeners within their own ecosystem, instead of systematically sending them to other platforms or losing them altogether. Keep in mind that 80 per cent of the population does not listen to podcasts regularly, so CTAs like "wherever you get your podcasts" can be alienating to a huge potential audience.

The commonly held belief is that podcast audiences must be grown on listening apps. A publisher can use their website as a sort of "storefront" for audio, but to get their audience to actually listen, they have to send users away from the platforms they own and operate.

But that assessment is leaving out a big area for growth. The listening app with the highest growth potential is not Spotify, nor Apple Podcasts; it is Chrome (or Safari, or Firefox). The open web is OS agnostic and does not depend on when your last update was, or how much storage you have on your device. One tap to listen and your page view just became your podcast stat. With Podinstall’s audio-first interface, publishers can expect a conversion rate of 50 per cent from page views to listens.

Optimise content distribution

To build out its content offering, Eurosport already had a goldmine within its existing offer. Its first show "Les Grand Récits" (Essential Stories) is an adaptation of an evergreen long-form article series of the same name that explores legendary moments in sports history. Eurosport has recently released a six-episode Olympic series of this show in six languages across its international sites.

For more timely content, Eurosport was already producing a ton of audio - in the form of video. Baron said the lightbulb moment came when a colleague said he loved the live post-game football show FC Steam Team, but always put on the replay to have the sound when he was driving. Sounds a lot like a podcast!

Today, Eurosport takes the audio from all of its sports analysis and interview shows and distributes them as podcasts. It recently scored a big hit with the French Open daily recap show Terre Débattue, and is launching a similar format with "L'heure Olympique" for the upcoming Tokyo games.

Eurosport’s podcasts are distributed to all listening platforms, but the audience for each podcast varies according to content type. For news shows like FC Stream Team, 80 per cent of the listeners come from Eurosport’s site. For evergreen shows, that stat is inverted, with 20 per cent of listens on-site and the rest on dedicated apps like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer, etc.

Simply put, Eurosport’s audio strategy uses podcast apps to reach new audiences and their own website to deepen their relationship (and increase time spent on page) with current audiences. Baron explains that this diversified distribution strategy is future-proofing her newsrooms: "You need to find a balance. You cannot depend only on your own platform, you cannot depend on others."

June 2021 was full of sports news and thus a record month for Eurosport podcasts. The majority of its 1,1 million downloads were on the web.

If you would like to rethink audio discovery and distribution, please get in touch with Sarah Toporoff at Podinstall.

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