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Hollywood continues the story with high-profile companion podcasts

Watchmen podcast // Courtesy of HBO

Hollywood continues the story with high-profile companion podcasts


The Future. Companion podcasts that accompany hit TV shows are becoming a staple in the age of streaming TV, creating an “engage-when-you-want” watercooler effect that keeps the conversation about shows going. But now that social audio is becoming the rage, expect a high-profile series to experiment with its own Clubhouse or Discord chat to create a truly decentralized watercooler.

Feed the beast
The only thing cooler than having your own show is having your own show… and a podcast about it. And creatives are discovering that companion podcasts enrich what’s on screen in many ways.

  • They provide historical context. HBO took this approach with podcasts for hit shows Chernobyl and Watchmen, which we’re both hosted by A-list screenwriter Craig Mazin.
  • They break new information. For the Woody Allen docuseries, Allen v. Farrow, HBO (again) was able to release a key interview that the producers couldn’t get during production of the show.
  • They give you a peek into the process. Netflix’s Behind the Scenes podcast details how the pudding is made for shows like Stranger Things and The Witcher.

Talk it out
With 80 million Americans listening to podcasts weekly, HBO director of podcasts Michael Gluckstadt said that “people want to spend more time thinking and talking about the shows that they’re watching […] It’s on their mind, and it’s a platform that really complements their watching experience.”

Audio is essentially the new watercooler. But as Topic Studios head Maria Zuckerman said, companion podcasts “have a built-in audience hungry for more content […] but you want to offer them a deeper dive or a different lens.”