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El Mundo

Spanish newspaper creates a daily podcast to engage users

El Mundo partnered with Google to build in-house infrastructure & onboard new talent to create a daily podcast.

The challenge

Reader-supported Spanish newspaper El Mundo was looking for new ways to fortify its subscription model to create additional revenue streams from advertising.

El Mundo had seen the popularity of podcasts — including its own weekly finance podcast, “Las Cuentas Claras” — grow during the pandemic as screen fatigue set in. The publisher saw an opportunity to diversify its content formats to meet the changing demand of its readers. It decided to launch its own daily podcast, with the ambition to become the first national newspaper in Spain to have an audio offering five days per week.

Successful news podcasts, such as “The Daily” from The New York Times and “Today in Focus” from The Guardian, lent inspiration to the team. El Mundo, like many newspaper institutions, was set up to deliver content in more traditional print media formats. It wasn’t equipped for frequent, rapid-turnaround podcast production.

El Mundo had to develop new physical and technical infrastructure and upskill staff to meet the demands of writing, producing and executing a more frequent series. They would also be doing so with only one full-time production employee.

Throughout the journey, GNI acted as close consultants and collaborators, providing strategic and training support as El Mundo looked to make their ambitious podcast plans a reality.

One of the first challenges that GNI helped El Mundo overcome was helping to set up a suitable studio within the newsroom that was equipped with microphones and a sound system.

GNI also helped El Mundo identify the right characteristics for the one full-time role available. It required someone with both the personality and technical skills to fulfill the job, as they would only be supported by part-time employees and freelancers. The talent would therefore have to be familiar enough with the audio world to cover hosting, script-writing and editing duties. They also had to understand El Mundo’s approach to print media well enough to transform it into engaging audio media.

“We started to think of our content in audio form, which is a very important step,” explains Vicente Ruiz, Deputy Director and Head of Innovation and Strategy at El Mundo. “We can now identify what topics work better for audio and which journalists feel more comfortable explaining them this way.”

Significant support and training was needed to ensure the existing editorial staff could support the new podcast format. Google helped El Mundo set up two courses with the host of “El Mundo al Dia” to better understand the process of podcast narrative development and the required technical resources.

El Mundo promoted its podcast schedule to a broad audience through its website, mobile app, newsletters, social media and print editions.

Vicente Ruiz
We were determined to be the first national newspaper in Spain to have a daily podcast.
Deputy Director & Editor of Digital, Unidad Editorial

The Results

Since its launch, the podcast has become a key asset for engaging with El Mundo’s subscriber base. Every day, more than 100,000 subscribers receive a notification to listen to “El Mundo al Dia”. This has helped drive over 6 million plays since launch, with around 50% of subscriber listens taking place within El Mundo’s own dedicated platform.

The podcast also noticed a significant increase in listeners in February 2022, as people tuned in to its coverage of the invasion of Ukraine. It reached its first one million listeners by September, and reached two million listeners just one month later.

“El Mundo al Dia”now has 19,000 average listeners per day as of February 2023, with its three most popular episodes each reaching over 70,000 listeners.

In 2023, the podcast’s success was also recognised at the prestigious Ondas Awards, where it was awarded the Mejor Podcast Revelación prize for best newcomer podcast. A new weekly podcast is also in pre-production at El Mundo, due to go live in 2023.

Reflecting on learnings from the launch, Ruiz says “The most important thing is to have the right technical and human teams in place, and you need to understand that telling a story for a newspaper is not the same as for a podcast. You have to adapt.”

  • 6 million+ podcast plays
  • 70,000+ listeners in the three most popular episodes
  • 19,000 average listeners per day
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