2024 Update: Advertisements and Behind the Scenes
We’ve published a new advertiser page, submitted v22.214.171.124 to the JioStore with support for the recently-released JioPhone Prima 4G, and are sharing behind the scenes updates optimizing the PodLP backend.
PodLP is different from other podcast apps. It’s designed and optimized for smart feature phones on tiny ~2" (~5cm) 240x320px screens and targets a global audience of largely first-time internet users. Given technical constraints and a unique audience, we’ve managed sponsorship scheduling and purchasing ad hoc.
Since launching in June 2020, sponsors have supported PodLP’s mission of bringing education, information, and entertainment in the form of podcasts to the next billion listeners. Today we launch the new advertiser page, outlining historical performance, current pricing, and considerations when taking out sponsored listings on PodLP. We hope this answers many common questions and look forward to working with our prospective sponsors in 2024.
If you are interested in growing your podcast on PodLP, email us.
JioPhone Prima 4G
In November 2023, Reliance launched a new, high-end model of it’s flagship JioPhone: the JioPhone Prima 4G, at ₹2599 (~$31 USD). It comes with Bluetooth 5, WiFi, and 3.5mm headphone jack perfect for listening to podcasts. In late 2023, we submitted the latest build of PodLP, v126.96.36.199, to the JioStore. Once quality assurance is complete and the build is approved, PodLP will once again be available on every KaiOS phone sold to date.
Behind the Scenes
Since launching in June 2020, PodLP focused on building a scalable and cost-optimized backend to efficiently serve millions of global listeners. In 2021 we launched push notifications, leveraging SQLite and EFS to publish new episode notifications in batches using the smallest possible payloads. We estimated that even in countries like Malawi and Benin where mobile data rates can exceed $27 USD per gigabyte, 5,000 notifications from PodLP would amount to a 1¢ data charge.
With AWS Activate Credits in the rear-view mirror, we continue to invest in cost-optimized, open source technologies. Until this month, out top fixed expense was a
search.small CloudSearch instance at ~$47 per month. We replaced it with serverless Apache Lucene on EFS. This approach compiles Java bytecode into a native executable using Quarkus and GraalVM. We’ve merged our recent changes upgrading to Lucene 9.9.1 and expect monthly costs of ~$2.5-$5, a 90% savings.
Despite launching over a decade ago, we were surprised to learn that AWS CloudSearch does not support backup and restore. To manage the migration safely, we released CloudSearch Backup, a Lambda function to automatically back up CloudSearch instances and store document batches in S3. Finally, for our second highest fixed expense we swapped a managed NAT Gateway for a NAT Instance using fck-nat, reducing a $31 per month expense into $3/m on a
Each change helps cut cost while continuing to provide listeners on budget feature phones with a snappy experience and access to a catalog of 500,000+ podcasts. As we continue our optimization journey, we plan to continue releasing components and utilities to give back to the open source community.
PodLP is the #1 podcast app for feature phones, available on the KaiStore and JioStore. As of Jauary 2024, PodLP has been installed on more than 10 million devices in nearly every country. Learn more at PodLP.com.