Holtzbrinck has launched an online network of downloadable audio snippets dubbed Quick and Dirty Tips. The move marks the first attempt by a publisher to establish a money making podcast business.
Quickanddirtytips.com, which will generate revenue through online ads and content licensing agreements, grew out of the publisher’s standing relationship with Mignon Fogarty, podcaster-turned-Holt author. Known to her listening public as Grammar Girl, Fogarty signed with the house last winter, after publisher John Sterling heard about the former technical writer’s growing fan base. (Fogarty’s forthcoming book, The Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Clean Up Your Writing, an extension of her show on the science of correct writing, is slated for April 2008 from Holt.) Though specifics were not revealed, Fogarty has established a profit-sharing relationship with the house on the Quick And Diry Tips business.
The site, which launched today, features five other podcasters who, according to Holtzbrinck, have collectively been downloaded more than 10 million times. Publicist Claire McKinney confirmed that the hosts—some of whom Holtzbrinck brought into the fold and others who were brought on by Fogarty—are established, to varying degrees, in the podcast world. The first additional podcaster, a Harvard M.B.A. named Stever Robbins, will be added to the site in September, to host a show about what the house dubbed “personal productivity” called Get It Done Guy.
The audio snippets, all three- to five- minute segments with space for pre- and post- show ad spots, will be delivered weekly and intended to offer advice on a range of subjects from parenting to personal finance. Available for free download at quickanddirtytips.com as well as at a host of other podcasting sites and iTunes, the snippets will also be available as written transcripts. On the licensing end, Holt has already established a limited deal with TheStreet.com for content from three shows.
When asked how this business model differs from other podcasting sites, Richard Rohrer, Holt’s director of marketing (who also has the new title of executive producer for quickanddirtytips.com), said other sites are a “catch all” for audio content. Not so with Holtzbrinck’s venture. “Each podcast gives one piece of actionable advice,” he explained. “You don’t have that consistency of purpose with any other podcasting-dedicated site.”
To that end, the site’s ties to the print side are negligible. While Holt has audiobook and print contracts with Fogarty, and audiobook versions of a few other shows are in the works, none of the other Quick and Dirty podcasters have print deals with the publisher. Since the goal of the site is not to boost print sales or promote authors, Rohrer said the first criterion for all potential contributors has nothing to do with whether they have a book with Holt, but, rather, how well they “fit with the [Quick and Dirty] brand and mission.”