Podcasts go for the feature treatment

We’ve reached the inevitable in the world of podcasting.

Podcasts go for the feature treatment


The Future. We’ve reached the inevitable in the world of podcasting: podcast movies. The first batch of feature-length, fictional stories arrived in 2021, featuring top talent like Adam Scott and Kiernan Shipka. While the introduction of podcast movies could be a boon for original stories that would cost a fortune to actually shoot, audience habits — either sitting back or multi-tasking — could become a key factor in determining how best to construct a long-form audio narrative.

Brain screen
With the rise of long-form podcasts in talk-variety and interview formats, fictional ones are trying a feature-length approach.

  • Podcast production company Cadence13 recently released its first slate of “podcast movies.”
  • They included teen horror story Treat (starring Kiernan Shipka) and psychological thriller Ghostwriter (starring Adam Scott and Kate Mara).
  • Earlier in the year, Two-Up released the thriller Shipworm (starring Quentin Earl Darrington and Miriam Silverman).
  • And in August, Gen-Z Media released the kid-friendly Iowa Chapman and the Last Dog (starring Sway Bhatia and Michael Winslow).

Alix Sobler, who wrote Ghostwriter, explains that this new format is “a little more prescriptive than a book, because you hear voices and sounds, but you can still use your mind’s eye and get lost in it.”

Day players
While programming a podcast movie may seem like a difficult sell to both talent and audiences, a host of factors have finally taken away the friction.

  • Because of the popularity of premium subscriptions, podcast movies won’t have to rely on advertising soon (which works much better for serialized content).
  • Film and TV adaptations of podcasts are taking off, so talent is willing to get in early on a podcast movie if they can reserve the right to star in any adaptations.
  • Also, talent can record their roles in a matter of days, which makes locking down top names for a podcast movie much easier than for a traditional one.

Scoring adaptations with that top talent may be necessary in order to finance these experiments — at least from the get-go. Cadence13 co-founder and chief content officer Chris Corcoran said the company plans to make money by selling the adaptation rights for each project.