Podcasts

Published: November 7, 2021 | Updated: November 7, 2021

Business with the ‘wow’ factor as Podcast Labs officially open impressive 3,000 sq ft studio HQ

Andy James and Kelly Butler, Co-Founders, Podcast Labs, in the new HQ building.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

It was the grand opening of a headquarters building with a real ‘wow’ factor.

Podcast Labs officially unveiled its new audio, video and live streaming studios to invited guests on November 4.

For Co-Founders Kelly Butler and Andy James it was a reminder of just how far the business has come in a little over 24 months.

It started life in a tightly squeezed room in a serviced office block, measuring just 100 sq ft.

Now its dedicated podcasting HQ, which overlooks heathland and is on a three year lease, has 3,000 sq ft of space.

Kelly, 29, said: “It’s been an incredible ride and our thanks to everyone who has supported us in amazing ways.

“When Andy and I opened Podcast Labs in October 2019, we were purely creating a recording space for local podcasters to achieve premium-quality sound.

“We had no idea we were setting the foundations to become a full-service podcast agency, producing and growing shows and working with some incredible nationwide brands with an awesome team around us.

“We’re so excited about what year three has in store with our brand new audio, video and live-streaming studios and some very exciting projects in the making.”

Podcast Labs saw its turnover increase almost six-fold in 2020/21 and hopes to hit £1 million within the next year or so.

Staff numbers have grown to five with plans to recruit a further seven, including an in-house designer, videographer and digital marketing specialist, within the next 12 months.

Andy, 31, said: “We’re firmly in growth mode.

“That will be our focus over the coming year.”

The move to its new studio space represents a significant investment.

Costs for kitting out and equipping the second floor of The Greenhouse in Mannings Heath Road, Poole, are in excess of six figures.

Andy and Kelly have invested a considerable amount of their own money and also received support from BCP Council’s Bounce Back Challenge Fund.

Kelly said: “We’re very pleased and grateful to receive the money but we met all the criteria.

“This is all about growth.”

Andy said: “The money has accelerated the business by about two years.

“Without it we would not have gone ahead with our growth plans at this stage.”

Much of the fitting out work in the new HQ was done by Andy and Kelly.

However, specialist contractors, all from the BCP area, were used for the air conditioning, glass, security and door entry systems.

Property agents Sibbett Gregory and law firm Steele Raymond were praised for their services.

“They have been absolutely brilliant,” said Kelly.

The popularity of the podcasting industry has grown at a dramatic rate with the number of people listening to a podcast for the first time doubling in 2020 during the pandemic.

Half of the UK population are now podcast listeners with a quarter tuning in at least every week.

Forecasts predict close to 20 million listeners by 2024.

Podcast advertising expenditure in the UK was just over £33m in 2020 and is expected to more than double, reaching £75m by 2024.

But while more new shows than ever are being launched, the medium is still in its infancy and by no means saturated.

Podcast Labs now works with nationwide brands and reality TV stars, as well as an array of local talent.

Kelly said the business will use its impressive new facilities to pitch for more national business.

She added: “There are lots of opportunities and we believe we have so much to offer.

“We provide a premium service but without the costs of a London agency.

“This is the time for us to really grow and develop the business – and we can’t wait to do that.”