Melz, you know much more about podcast novels than I do... why can't successful podcast novelists monetize with advertising embedded into the podcasts? Couldn't someone like you (or Hutchins, etc.) take the numbers from the first podcast novel releases sans ads and use that to pitch to a podcast advertising agency to place ads in the next podcast novel? Or even take it down a notch and don't go with pro advertising... just do, say, 3 ads per podcast at $35 a pop and sell the ads individually yourself (to other podcasts, small presses, whatnot). That'd be $2700+ for something similar to Escape. Not enough to live on, but but a lot better than nothing!
They could, but that brings up the whole debate of advertising in podcasts. Many have tried, and few have succeeded, because people just don't want to listen to ads, and the creator ends up losing listeners in the long run because of it. The 'podcast fiction' community is very hellbent on NO ADS in their fiction. When I insert an AD or promo, in the middle of UNLEASHED before the interviews, that's called 'sharing promos.' In other words, helping someone else in the community out by giving them exposure, hoping for an exhange in return. Everyone knows this and that's accepted. What is not accepted is a commercial as we know it, selling you something else for money. It's all messed up, but that's the norm.
I think Hutch quit for now, not because he was hoping to make money off the podcasts, but because the effort he was pouring into it was not seeing a ROI. Meaning he spent all this time and effort giving his work away for free, knowing that eventually he'd get a book deal, and when he finally got one, all that time and effort he spent didn't pay off, so now it's time to move on and try different things that will bring him a steady income.
You sponsor UNLEASHED but let me advertise it in my own, cool, way. Lots of advertisers wouldn't do that, and again, most of the listening audience doesn't want to hear it. It's a catch-22. How to make money without pissing off the people? So far, it has yet to be done consistently.