Hello and welcome to 2022. Winter remains, all of you. Haven’t seen the sun in weeks apparently, but we continue, surviving the podcast news for the warmth and mirth.
Now let’s move on to the news. There isn’t much to discuss today, but I have a new report which I am delighted to share with all of you. Let’s start there.
EXCLUSIVE: Podcast ads went wrong
This morning I posted a story on The edge on the continuing push to make programmatic advertising work in podcasting and the challenges podcasters are already experiencing. The idea behind the transition is to allow advertisers to easily and automatically bid on podcast ad inventory and target those ads to specific audiences. That’s why we’ve seen podcast platforms not only buy advertising and hosting platforms, like Amazon with Art19 and Spotify with Megaphone, but also make deals with podcasters for the exclusive rights to sell ads against them. programming. For this to work, platforms not only need a lot of advertisers, but also a lot of podcast inventory.
This is only part of the challenge, however. The second, and probably the most difficult, is to get podcasters comfortable with the idea that the software is inserting ads into their shows without their approval for each individual ad. This is especially tricky in podcasting, as it has traditionally been an industry where audiences enjoy the advertisements they hear and take action because of them. (I’m sure some people would even say this is the “magic” of podcasting and a critical selling point.)
All of that background brings us to my story, which highlights a few situations where ads have popped up in places they shouldn’t have. A science podcast, for example, received advertisements for oil companies, despite these categories being blocked. Meanwhile, American Public Media has completely disabled programmatic from its children’s programming after an incident in which an advertisement for The sex life of students has been inserted. Both of these issues are caused by poor categorization or ads categorized into a catch-all genre that is either inaccurate or not robust enough. In the case of Student sex life, for example, the ad was categorized as ‘television’, but could have been accompanied by some sort of mature rating or label to avoid this specific situation.
In both incidents, Spotify fueled the ads. I asked for clarification on how the platform classifies announcements, as well as what it is doing to prevent such situations from advancing and yet to be answered. Still, Spotify has been the loudest about its podcast advertising moves and probably needs a program to run in order to monetize all of its audio investments.
I have questions, however, following this report. First, the industry to want move towards a programmatic future? Is moving away from personalized ads read by the host the best solution? Can podcast ads automate while still maintaining a high quality bar? Will audiences soon learn to ignore podcast ads, as they do with TV ads, radio ads, and web ads?
I don’t have the answers, although I have my thoughts, most of which are yes, the industry, with industry being defined as big business, wants this, as long as it’s not a requirement for small shows to participate, but that will come with a sacrifice of audience engagement. I think we’ll end up in a world without a jump button as well. However, some intrepid platforms might make their selling point the ability to skip ads, and even if I think hard, those decisions are what the industry is heading for.
Phew, that was long. I just have a few other topicals to mention, mostly things we couldn’t shout out before the holidays. Starting with some news focused on advertising.
SiriusXM Signs Content Development and Ad Sales Agreement with Tom Segura’s YMH Studios
SiriusXM continues to do business. This time it’s signed a with actors Tom Segura and Christina P for their YMH studios. Both companies will work on the development of new content, the content will be ad-free in Stitcher Premium, and Sirius will retain the exclusive rights to sell ads globally. This follows Sirius’ agreements with The last podcast on the left, Audiochuck and 99% Invisible, among others. It’s all about selling ads, baby!
Deadline presents Caroline Edwards from ICM, focusing on “activism and advocacy” content
Before Christmas, heh sorry for the delay, Deadline profiled Caroline Edwards, Director of CIM Podcast Initiatives. The article mainly involves Edwards taking stock of the industry so far and gives us a sense of what she and the team are focusing on in 2022. They look at ‘diverse voices’, children’s programming. and politics – especially advocacy and activism.
“I’m really excited to be raising, cultivating and supporting this next generation of people who are talking about what’s going on in our world and what we can do about it. It’s not the easiest sales, but 2020 was all about the celebrity show, and the fallout from these weren’t all hits, so we need to focus on people who are native to that medium. People are now looking at people who are really good [at podcasting],” she says.
We’re back with ad sales: ‘)
Spotify General Counsel and Head of Global Affairs leaves for Disney
A small note here, but Horacio Gutierrez, General Counsel and Head of Global Affairs at Spotify, is leaving for disney, where he will be Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary. Lots of words, a title. He will assume this role on February 1. Gutierrez has primarily presented himself in our world as the main spokesperson for Spotify’s battle against Apple. My editor-in-chief Nilay Patel interviewed him for Decoder in June, in which Gutierrez argued that Apple was not only acting as a monopoly, but was “unfair” and deserved government regulation.
That’s it, guys. Hope the podcast news gods bless us more this week as we’ll be back on Thursday and Friday for you Insider subscribers. For the free, we’ll see each other on Tuesday. Bye!