James Cridland's PodNews: Your Daily Podcast & On-Demand Briefing

➽From podnews.net, your complete daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand.   Subscribe to get the full newsletter free


➤Our picture story: Maed In India: Our Neighbours, in our Podcast News section

➤iHeartMedia, the owner of iHeartRadio, says that its podcast revenue grew 103% year-on-year in Q2 - total digital revenue was $93m. Unique podcast listeners grew by 30% year-on-year; downloads grew by 62%. Revenue for the quarter across the company, however, was down by 46.6%: we can blame the pandemic for that.
As you try and understand the disparate podcasting models, let me explain (iHeartMedia’s) view of the current landscape. There are really two different approaches out there: one, paywalling exclusive content on a single app. Good for the app, not good with the listeners because they now have to pay for content that was previously free. Not good for creators because their audience and impact will be small. And not good for sponsors because there is insufficient scale in exclusive distribution. Ours is the opposite model and, we think, better model. Wide distribution, so listeners find the content they want, where they want. Creators build the largest audience size possible, and sponsors can scale their messages across these large audiences. Looking at the listing as measured by Podtrac and the associated revenue and earnings, the latter strategy is working. And we have yet to see an example of success anyone has had with the paywalling strategy in podcasting. - Bob Pittman, iHeartMedia
➤Podtrac has published its Top US Publishers list for July 2020. iHeartRadio is now #1 for US unique monthly audience as well as global downloads, beating NPR in both rankings. ABC is now measured alongside ESPN; it only measures participating publishers.

➤An SEC filing states that Libsyn’s former CEO Christopher Spencer, who resigned on July 31, will continue to be paid until the end of this year (he earns $400,000); will get a bonus of $177,776 in early January; and will then earn $215,000 a year for his role as Senior Advisor until the end of February 2023, for which he’ll have to work a maximum of eight hours a month. Libsyn will also pay Spencer $4,061,385 to buy back shares he holds.
The board of Libsyn includes those who last year criticised the company for “outsized executive pay”.

Rockwater highlights a surge in deal activity around sports podcasts - why it’s happening, and how sports podcasters can take advantage.

Dear Dearest is a new exclusive podcast on Spotify. The podcast is in Indonesian, and focuses on letters written and read by writers, musicians, and actors. It’s made by journalism podcast company KBR Prime (via Splice Slugs)

➤A number of additional podcast hosts are now allowing you to submit your podcasts to the yet-to-be-launched “Amazon Music/Audible” podcast service (some people are giving a backstage link that works for anyone on any host).

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➤The female founded and led podcast network Wonder Media Network has signed with talent agency WME, to help the network expand into books and television. Founded by journalist Jenny Kaplan and brand strategist Shira Atkins, WMN is an audio-first media company with a mission to amplify underrepresented voices. WME already represent PRX, Rusty Quill, Crooked Media and Malcolm Gladwell, and is owned by Endeavor, which also owns podcast network Endeavor Audio.

➤The New York Times will sell advertising on This American Life’s podcast in 2021, according to their earnings call. Meredith Kopit Levien, who becomes CEO in September, said that the company sees The Daily as “a distribution channel for us to launch other great work into the world”, and has an average of 3.5m daily listeners.

Libsyn’s CEO, Chris Spencer, has resigned. He’d worked at Libsyn for fifteen years, and will stay on as a Senior Advisor to the company. Last year, a bonus payment to Spencer was cited as one reason for a revolt by minority shareholders; the settlement in October installed a number of new board members who’d been publicly critical of the company: none of those are quoted in Libsyn’s release.

➤The Carolina Panthers, a US football team from Charlotte NC, USA, produce eleven weekly podcasts, distributed all over the place including an Alexa skill. They use StreamGuys SGrecast tools, says a press release.

➤Google Play Music’s podcast portal will no longer accept new podcasts “in the next few weeks”, according to an email from the company; and they’ll be removing it entirely later in the year. You should be using Google Podcasts Manager instead.

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eMarketer is forecasting US podcast ad revenue will cross $1bn next year. Historical data, uncredited in their report, appears to come from the IAB’s annual Podcast Ad Revenue study, which we reported on July 14. eMarketer have forecast lower growths than the IAB, though.

The biggest radio advertiser in the US last week was the podcast Forgotten: Women of Juárez ▸, with 71,630 spots - beating the second-biggest advertiser, insurance company Progressive, which had 53,260 spots. The podcast is owned by iHeartRadio, as are the radio stations the ads aired on, the website that reported on the story, and the monitoring company that released the data.

➤At long last, Google Play Music will be shut down in October in favour of YouTube Music, the company has announced. Google Play Music contains a podcast player for some users: confusingly unconnected to Google Podcasts, a separate podcast app that Google launched 778 days ago.
➤Entercom’s RADIO·COM - including podcasts - will be available on “tens of millions of smart televisions” after a deal with software company Vewd. (Not on RADIO·COM? Here’s how to get there)

➤B2B brand podcast company Casted has announced two new members of its board.

Warner Music Group’s CEO isn’t concerned that they may lose money from Spotify’s interest in podcasting. The company is also “looking at the economic model of podcasting” but “haven’t seen the right ones yet”.

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➤Are Anchor podcasters different? Is the platform full of dead podcasts, as some say it is? Podnews takes a look - and discovers a number of differences between Anchor podcasters and those on other podcast hosts.

➤“Alexa, play the Podnews podcasting news podcast on Pandora.” Pandora users in the US can now use Alexa smart speakers to listen to podcasts.

iHeartRadio is on the hunt for The Next Great Podcast, a competition to develop and launch a show on the platform. It’s open to podcasters worldwide. The company is also working on a original ten-part narrative sci-fi thriller podcast There Be Monsters. It will star John Boyega and Darren Criss, and will be available later this year.

Patreon has lost a law suit brought by fans of Owen Benjamin, a comedian banned from the platform. The court action could, according to some commentators, put Patreon out of business.

PAR now has exclusive sales representation for all Starburns Audio shows. “We couldn’t be more excited to expand our partnership to be able to offer all of Starburns’ great podcasts,” says PAR President Rick Selah.

Libsyn has hired Richard Heyse as their new CFO. “I am delighted to join Libsyn at this exciting time. I believe the potential for shareholder value creation is excellent given the favorable growth trends in the podcasting and web-hosting market and Libsyn’s position as a leader in the space”.

➤Read More Now


➤Libsyn report that Apple continues to be the #1 podcast app, accounting for 68.2% of mobile downloads. According to the podcast host, which is the largest paid podcast host in the world, Spotify is at 8.3% and Google Podcasts at just 1.3%. Sharing these figures on The Feed ▸, Rob Walch adds: “The death of Apple Podcasts has been greatly over-stated”.

Another stat from Libsyn is that only 0.25% of podcasts are listened-to on a smart speaker. Tom Webster has some thoughts about this - involving bathrooms.

➤For advertising, how well do podcasts convert? Podsights has posted their Conversion Benchmark Report, based on 1.2 billion ad impressions from $28m of advertising. Podcasting converts significantly better than social media, says the data. Embedded ads work twice as well as dynamically-inserted ones, the company also reports.

➤Dylan Pugh, Spotify’s former Head of Podcast Monetisation for EMEA, has launched his own sports and lifestyle podcast company. Pomodo launched at the end of July. Their first podcast is about themselves - Pomodo - the startup journey ▸ - while Couples Quarantine ▸ launches on Wednesday. (They’re both hosted on Spreaker.)

Podchaser has added the ability to connect your Twitter account to discover new podcasts and friends. (Psst - you should follow us: we’re @podnews).

AdsWizz has added additional targeting for podcast advertisers who use their programmatic advertising platform.

➤Podcast Garden, a company that promised “free, unlimited web hosting”, appears to suddenly be offline. The company last posted on Twitter or Facebook in December; it hosted at least 200 podcasts.

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