The new podcast S-Town is a special project of Serial and This American Life that broke metrics records.
The new 7-episode series achieved 10 million downloads in four days, which broke the fastest-download record of its predecessor, Serial. Both are special projects of the mothership franchise of This American Life, which provided the hosts and staff of the new podcasts.
S-Town is one of the more recent and dramatic examples of publishers opting to spin off special projects that explore issues in more depth, push the boundaries of storytelling formats and reach audiences in new ways. Innovation creates an opportunity to change how we measure success.
We’re seeing publishers create special projects as microsites, podcasts, email newsletters or other stand-alone brands that are a production of a larger publishing brand. More recent examples include The Daily podcast from the New York Times or the What’s in Store Medium publication from MailChimp.
In our next #MetricShift chat on Friday, April 14th at 1 p.m. ET, we’ll discuss the metrics of special projects. What are the benefits of a spin-off and how do you measure them? Why not build your bigger brand and drive clicks to your main channels? Is it about targeted certain audiences? How can you think differently about measurement with special projects?
The chat, which you can find by searching for #MetricShift on Twitter, will be moderated by Tim Cigelske, associate editor of metrics at MediaShift. Guests will include Erin Caughey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel special projects/investigations web developer; Laura Kezman, Radio Milwaukee video producer; Nate Imig, Radio Milwaukee community stories manager; Nathan Bashaw, co-founder and story maker at Hardbound; Sarah Schmalbach, Product manager at Guardian mobile lab; and Jason Alcorn, MediaShift.org metrics section editor and nonprofit news consultant. A Storify recap is posted below:
Tim Cigelske (@cigelske) is the Associate Editor of MetricShift. He has reported and written for the Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Budget Travel, Adventure Cyclist and more. Today, he is the Director of Social Media at Marquette University as well as an adjunct professor teaching media writing and social media analytics.
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