How Publishers Can Extend Their Branding on Clubhouse

Social-conversation app Clubhouse has gained more attention as its user base has grown rapidly and luminaries like billionaire Elon Musk have appeared in its invitation-only chats. As with any digital platform, Clubhouse gives publishers an opportunity to engage audiences, expand incremental reach and sell sponsorships.

Clubhouse started a year ago as a provider of audio-only virtual rooms and gained traction as the pandemic led people to spend more time on social media or group video calls. Its weekly users had grown steadily to 2 million by January before surging fivefold to 10 million the following month, CNBC reported.

Clubhouse had been available only on Apple devices, and its user base is likely to expand more rapidly with addition of a version for Android, the mobile operating system that runs about 70% of the world's smartphones.

The app probably would have grown faster if it didn't require people to invite others to use it. However, that limitation gives the startup more time to set up the infrastructure to host millions of live chats at the same time.

The startup this week set up an "accelerator" program that provides monthly stipends, equipment and promotional services for independent creators to produce more content for its platform. In announcing the Clubhouse Creator First program, it cited programming like "News News News," which covers daily headlines every day five minutes at a time, and "The Lullaby Club," which provides "a sonic bubble bath" to help people relax and get to sleep.
For existing publishers, there is an opportunity to extend their audio production capabilities from podcasts into live audio chats.



Unlike podcasts, which can be time-shifted for on-demand listening, Clubhouse is focused on providing the immediacy of a live production. The format also allows for sponsorships, such as host-read spots, though the audience is likely to be much more limited until the platform expands. Still, it may be worthwhile to experiment with the format, possibly as an extension of live programming by publishers whose in-person events have been impeded by the pandemic.

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