Prince Harry and Meghan Markle should get their “messaging right” after their lucrative podcast deal with Spotify was ended by mutual agreement, according to a PR expert.
Meghan and Harry’s production company Archewell Audio only made one podcast series for the streaming giant after signing a contract in late 2020, estimated to be worth around 25 million US dollars (£19.5 million).
The ending of the deal will raise questions about the popularity of the podcast hosted by Meghan and whether the agreement was value for money for Spotify which earlier this month announced job cuts.
Mark Borkowski, a public relations and crisis consultant, said the announcement would diminish what the Sussexes could receive from possibly future episodes of the series.
He said: “Spotify and all the streamers who did very well out of lockdown are now looking hard at the costs – their algorithms don’t lie.
“If they were successful and they were valued by Spotify they would still be there.”
He added: “It shows that they don’t really have anything interesting to say and more importantly they don’t have critical friends in the centre of their organisation. And whatever you are as a content producer, you’ve got to sustain it over a period of time and you need the best team around you.”
The podcast Archetypes ran for 12 episodes from August 2022 with Meghan chatting to celebrities, historians and experts about the history of stereotypes levelled against women.
Tennis star Serena Williams, singer Mariah Carey, Paris Hilton and actors Mindy Kaling and Constance Wu were among the guests.
The joint statement from Archewell and Spotify said: “Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.”
An Archewell Productions spokeswoman reportedly told the Wall Street Journal: “Meghan is continuing to develop more content for the Archetypes audience on another platform.”
Harry and Meghan stepped down as working Royals in 2020 and moved to California for personal and financial freedom and the Spotify deal, alongside a more substantial tie-up with Netflix rumoured to be worth in excess of £100 million, appeared to be vindicate their decision.
But to maintain their lifestyle, which includes paying for security, they need to generate an large income which has always been problematic for members of the monarchy.
Mr Borkowski suggested they needed to learn from this setback and attract a “top team” to help with creating content.
He said the Sussexes needed to consider “we’re not getting our messaging right for our audience” and that maybe their followers were “not looking for great pronouncements on civil society… maybe what they want from Meghan is a lifestyle brand”.
While from Harry, whose controversial memoir Spare heavily criticised the Royal family, it might be more royal “soap opera”.
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