'We have to grow this responsibly': Tenderfoot TV co-founder Donald Albright on the podcasting's bright (but consolidated) future
"Even though the numbers are steady, the advertisers are thinking: 'people aren't spending money, so I'm not going to spend money advertising to them," Albright said on the Digiday Podcast.
Albright co-founded Tenderfoot TV —named before its pivot to audio — with filmmaker Payne Lindsey in 2016. The production company is behind true crime hits like Atlanta Monster and Up and Vanished.
"For us, a company with 500 million downloads and six number one podcasts... they don't always just jump right in," Albright said about advertisers.
The company's listenership hasn't suffered much from the disappearance of the commute — prime podcast listening minute— that many stakeholders feared.
"When I look at our data, most of our podcasts are consumed on desktop or laptop, not in cars," Albright said.
And he's optimistic about the industry's ability to create more jobs and attract the kind of top talent that in a previous era would have opted to work for Netflix or other giants in video storytelling.
Albright himself hadn't listened to a podcast until Tenderfoot's own Up and Vanished — podcasting is his second career, after one marketing and producing music (Lindsey comes from the world of video too). Tenderfoot counts 10 employees, including its two founders.
And As podcast companies get acquired left and right, Albright emphasizes the need to preserve the creative independence that podcasts nurtured well so far.
"My fear is that now everything that you do is going to be through the lens of a corporate entity," Albright said. "Not just them having legal control of what you can and can't say, which in some cases I understand, but creative control. That's something we'll always push back on no matter who our partners are."
Tenderfoot TV itself has teamed up with the iHeartPodcast Network on a slate of nine podcasts.