Dear Media reinvented internet celebrity | World Business

When Pia Baroncini, influencer and creative director of fashion label LPA, decided to launch a podcast at the start of the pandemic in 2020, there was only one company she wanted as a partner: Dear Media. “Dear Media’s ability to understand a podcast host as a creator, and monetizing it from that angle is really its biggest appeal,” she said.

Now, two years later, her podcast, Everything Is Better—where she offers talks on issues like parenting, pregnancy, financial planning, and entertainment—is a huge hit. Credits its partnership with Dear Media.

Since its launch in 2018, Dear Media has quietly become one of the most prominent names in women’s media. The podcast network’s social media channels reach a combined audience of over 120 million. Dear Media’s offerings were downloaded more than 200 million times in 2022, and the company has launched more than 50 lines of influencer merchandise and doubled its annual revenue in each of the past four years.

The brand has become ubiquitous in women’s online spaces. It’s hard to scroll through TikTok or Instagram without watching a Dear Media podcast video. “You see a clip on TikTok and you immediately know it’s Dear Media,” said TikTok Corporate star Natalie, who has nearly half a million followers on the app.

The podcasting industry is expected to reach $94.88 billion by 2028, and major players, including Spotify and Apple, have acquired or commissioned a slew of high-profile exclusives. And the growth of platforms like Anchor, which allows anyone to create a podcast, has led to a tidal wave of local offerings. But as the economy contracts and this media sector enters what podcast critic and analyst Nicholas Quah calls the “podcast winter,” competition is fierce. This is where Dear Media comes in.

“[There’s] In general, there is a sense of pessimism in the podcast industry. “I haven’t seen as many attempts to build a brand that focuses on a woman’s multimedia lifestyle and has a podcast presence as distinct as Dear Media. The big question for a network of this size is whether it has the downloads.” Meaning, for Dear Media to survive, it must continue to produce shows and expand its audience.

Daisy Media seems to have come up with a winning formula: leveraging podcasts as a springboard for influencers to build multimillion-dollar brands. Dear Media Network hosts 63 shows, primarily chat shows (where the hosts and guests have free-form conversations) with dozens more programs in development, and is constantly bringing in new talent. Her roster of popular shows includes “Not Skinny But Not Fat,” a pop culture show hosted by influencer Amanda Hirsch, “Back to the Beach,” hosted by reality TV stars Kristin Cavallari and Stephen Colletti, both of whom starred on MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and “Laguna Beach.” Absolutely Not,” a comedy podcast hosted by actress and comedian Heather McMahan.

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“They’ve created this network of strong women and they all have really interesting channels,” Baroncini said. “….we are all constantly doing podcasts with each other.”

Last year, Dear Media launched its first limited series, “Summer of Gold,” hosted by retired skier Michelle Kwan and co-produced with Togethxr, a women’s sports media company. It tells the oral history of the 1996 Olympics, when women’s sports teams won gold. This year, the network also premiered its first fantasy show, Bone, Marry, Bury with Sarah Hyland, about romance and murder. Derry Media also announced a show with “Black Ash” star Tracee Ellis Ross called “I Am America.” It features stories that shine a spotlight on everyday Americans and their “transcendence.”[s] All the divisions that exist in this country.”

While Dear Media itself has managed to stay clear of the online drama that’s often synonymous with the influencer industry, it hasn’t shy away from controversial talent. In October, the company enlisted Claudia Ochry and Jackie Ochry Weinrib, the daughter of far-right extremist Pamela Geller, to host a show, though Claudia Ochry has been mired in backlash for holding similar views as her mother, such as repeatedly making racist comments and belittling coronavirus pandemic.

Dear Media was founded as a joint venture between entrepreneur Michael Bosstick, who serves as the company’s CEO, and Raina Penchansky, founder of Digital Brand Architects (DBA), the leading lifestyle influencer management firm that helps social media creators monetize. expand their brands. The DBA’s priority in this area was solidified when the management company was acquired by the United Talent Agency in 2019.

The business came to fruition after Michael Bosstick and his wife, Lauren Bosstick, a lifestyle influencer known for her @theskinnyconfidential handle, produced a successful podcast based on her brand called “The Skinny Confidential Him & Her.” The show featured candid conversations with entrepreneurs, content creators, and authors.

Although their show was successful—the Bossticks had produced over 500 episodes, hadn’t missed an episode a week in six years and racked up over 150 million downloads—they had trouble finding a podcast network. They did not feel that any of the leading networks took them seriously or were interested in serving a primarily female audience.

Bossticks realized that countless women influencers with massive online followings, including lifestyle content creators, reality stars, and entrepreneurs, wanted to start podcasting but were rejected or grossly undervalued by the male-dominated podcast industry. . So, they partnered with Penchansky, whose company had a track record of working with leading female content creators, and Dear Media was born.

“We’ve realized at this time that many other programs that focus on women have also not received the attention or resources they deserve,” said Michael Bosstick. “Men were dominating the top charts of the major podcast platforms, and there were very few women represented in the way that we felt was appropriate. We were collaborating with and talking to so many amazing women and we thought it was about time off the charts a bit.”

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What Dear Media already knew was that the media industry was shifting away from traditional brands towards online content creators. “The idea of ​​building a platform by creators, for creators, that caters to female audiences looking for opportunities beyond just voice was born,” said Michael Bosstick.

Each Dear Media brand speaks to a specific type of woman or interest. Dear Media’s programming covers topics including fashion, entertainment, pop culture news, dating, marriage, pregnancy, the challenges of being a woman in the workplace, and more. The network includes men, but they largely speak to the company’s predominantly female audience.

“Consumers view the Dear Media podcast as a resource for real life,” said Safat Haider, influencer and founder of wellness brand Arrae, which hosts “The Dream Bigger Podcast.” “the [listener] Lots of Dear Media finds it relevant, no matter where they are in their lives. Whether it’s a parenting podcast or a job podcast, there are plenty of real-world applications out there.”

“The hope is that you might come to Dear Media for a comedy show but then decide you also want to hear a parenting show. Or you could come to hear a business show and find out that you also like a pop culture show,” said Michael Bosstick. “Our goal is to create a show broad enough that it can appeal to anyone as they go through their weeks and days as well as through different moods throughout the week.”

Unlike other podcast companies that have generic equipment and nice studio spaces, Dear Media has built ready studio spaces for Instagram and YouTube in West Hollywood and Austin. The spaces have become a hub for influencers and celebrities who come as guests or to host their own shows, just to sit in front of Dear Media’s branded microphones. Dear Media’s branding is affixed to each show’s thumbnail, and the name Dear Media is shouted out at the beginning of every episode of every show on the network. This branding allowed Dear Media to achieve a level of name recognition that other networks have struggled to achieve.

“A brand is something that’s been at the forefront of every business conversation,” said Big Port, president of Derry Media. “What does the brand look like in the cover photo, in the studio, when it comes to distribution. It’s something that’s becoming really recognizable, and when you see content on other platforms it’s like, ‘Oh, this is Dear Media’s show.” “”

While Dear Media uses podcasts as a springboard for the talent it works with, the network’s success comes from its ability to help influencers build mini media empires around themselves. “We view all shows as brands in their own right, and when you look at them as brands rather than just channels of sound, you can do more,” said Michael Bosstick, referring to opportunities that include merchandise, live events, tours, product lines, streaming, and IP. “This is a focus that many of our competitors can’t or won’t enjoy.”

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For talent, working with Dear Media opens up monetization opportunities not often available in traditional podcasting. “Why should I have a random advertiser on my podcast that I don’t really use?” Baroncini said. “I wanted to work with brands that are a part of my life and can seamlessly integrate with my other social media channels.”

Michael Bosstick has championed sponsored episodes, where guests pay thousands of dollars to appear on a show, similar to the way influencers produce sponsored content for brands on their social feeds. This practice is common in the online creator space, but in podcasting, it traditionally only happens behind the scenes. Bosstick puts it out in the open. “The Skinny Confidential Him & Her Podcast” charges $20,000 to $40,000 per sponsored interview, according to Bloomberg News. “We always frame it: There are no talking points; you can’t ask questions; the only thing is it’s just your branding,” he told Bloomberg. He said funded episodes represent only 1 to 3 percent of Dear Media’s total programming.

The company also rotates consumer products. Derry Media has embraced The Skinny Confidential, the original Bosstick lifestyle brand, and Woo More Play, the sexual wellness toy company. The company has also invested in and helped grow a complement brand, a vegan and gluten-free dough line, a refreshment company, a line of sparkling wine cocktails and a range of natural remedies. She also runs a thriving merchandise business.

Chatbots remain the bread and butter for Dear Media, but the company is rapidly expanding into new formats. In 2020, Dear Media raised an $8 million Series A investment, and told Forbes that the company plans to use the money to expand its slate of programming. “We’re focused on adding more diversity, not only in the types of women we represent, but also in the type of content,” Bosstick said at the time.

In November, Dairy Media introduced “Dailys,” five to 10-minute pieces aimed at the Daisy Media audience. The outlet calls them “easy-to-digest rings that can be eaten with snacks that people can start or end their day with.” The company hired a team to focus on the product.

“You can listen while you’re doing the dishes, folding the laundry, taking a walk, or working,” Burr said. “It’s content that doesn’t take up much of your day and can be added to the programs you’re already listening to.”


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