Weekly round-up: Developments

Hiya podheads, here’s issue #23.

Data watch

RAJAR, the UK based audio measurement company released its MIDAS Winter 2018 Q4 survey results. The report contained some interesting data points about podcast consumption. Here’s are the highlights:

  1. 6.5 million adults or 12% of the adult population in the UK now listen to a podcast in an average week. Pretty flat from 11% in Q1 2018.
  2. Most of the podcast consumption happens during working/studying (29% share) driving/traveling (30% share).
  3. Only 1% of the podcast consumption happens on smart speakers.

A CBS poll found that 2 thirds of Americans listen to a podcast at least once in a while and 23% listen to them, a few times a week.

There is a deluge of new podcasts. An analysis by Dan Misener found that 2018 saw the highest number of podcast launches.

Dear patrons

Patreon, the membership platform that allows artists and creators to make money from their fans said that there are now over 3 million good folks supporting the creators on its platform. What’s more, the company is set to process over $1 billion in contributions this year. Finally, some good news in a morass of negative headlines. Patreon has emerged as a successful demonstration of an alternative business model to ad-supported models that pretty much underpin most of the internet.

You see millions of views and hundreds of thousands of comments and likes, [but] there’s a huge discrepancy between that impact you see on a daily basis and then your paycheck that comes at the end of the month.

Jack Conte, Patreon co-founder and CEO. Enagadget

Patreon a while ago had told Podnews that the company had seen an 8 fold increase in revenues from the podcasting category.

Also read: Analysis of top earning podcasts on Patreon

i Don’t heart bankruptcy

iHeart Media, the radio broadcasting giant is nearing its exit from bankruptcy according to Bloomberg. I had written a bit about the travails of iHeart Media, its bankruptcy saga, and its seemingly bullish bet on podcasting for redemption.

The biggest U.S. radio broadcaster got confirmation in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas for a creditor-supported plan that reduces its debt to $5.75 billion from $16.1 billion and spins out Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. into a separate company, according to a statement. That could position both companies as takeover targets.

Bloomberg

But it looks like the vultures are already circling the prey. There have been reports that Apple and Liberty Media headed by John Malone which owns Sirius XM which in turn acquired Pandora in Sep 2018 heart iHeart Media.

Money talks

Spotify (again) and Pandora are betting big on podcasts. Spotify has been making a lot of moves, which we have extensively covered in the previous issues. Pandora finally opened up podcasts in the US and is betting big on the Podcasting Genome Project – a personalized recommendations system to attract podheads. But now they are looking to make some moolah. Here’s an excerpt from this piece on Adage:

Pandora and Spotify declined to share specifics about their podcast targeting capabilities. Both did say that users will always get ads when streaming podcasts regardless of whether they listen through a paid subscription or an ad-supported model.

AdAge

Spotify is also readying for a major ads push while simultaneously building a catalog of originals and exclusives. Tough to call how this plays out but I’ll watch out.

In shorts

The Economist is launching a new daily current affairs show called The Inelligence.


We think launching a daily podcast is the next logical step in the evolution and expansion of our audio output. There is clearly a growing appetite for podcasts.

Tom Standage, deputy editor and head of digital strategy.

Vice is launching 3 new shows – The Violent Times, Extreme, and The Anxiety Hour.Mumbrella

Adam Carolla Renews podcast deal with PodcastOne. – Variety

Looks like Audioboom is putting its worst behind. It recently announced the results for te year ending 2018 and here are the highlights:

  1. The company announced a 92% increase in revenues. They rose from $6.1 to $11.7 million for the 13 months ending December.
  2. Revenue per 1000 listens rose from $19.02 in the first half of 2018 to $25.87 in December.
  3. Losses reduced from $5.7 million to $5.2 million.

Looks the markets liked the numbers.

Google Finance

Looks like Google Podcasts is testing a closed captions feature on the app. This essentially allows you to see a live transcript of the episode as you listen to it. Pretty cool feature actually. – 9to5google

Joshua Macht straddles the past and the present of podcasting in this awesome piece. – Boston Globe

Jessica Kupferman penned a really good piece on why top 10 lists are bad for the industry. I’ve always hated listicles and felt a piece of my soul die when I created a list of all year-end lists. So, this is an official goodbye to listy articles – Podtalk will be lists free henceforth.

Run for the hills or grab your pitchforks folks, cos the robots are coming. Amazon Alexa is now getting a newscaster’s voice. So, the next time you ask Alexa for the day’s news, you’ll hear a professional news anchor’s voice. – Techcrunch

By the way, Xinhua, the state news agency in China already has a AI news anchor.

Creepy? Futuristic? I don’t know what the f*** (prude mode on!) to make of this.

Joshua Dudley wrote a piece on Forbes about the year that was Wondery. – Forbes

From Twitterverse

Dave Zohrob, co-founder of Chartable started a thread that is a treasure trove of podcasting resources.

Martine Powers, host of Post Reports answered this question What does an average day on the Post Reports podcast look like in this awesome thread.

Mediawatch

There was more bad news last week as Buzzfeed announced that it is laying off about 200 employees (15% of its workforce). I’ve sparingly referenced the troubles of digital media because I believe podcasters should be aware of the ills that plague it. Why? It’s necessary to know the larger lay of the land you operate in. Here’s an interesting thread by Jeremy Littau, professor of journalism at Lehigh University on the reason for the increasing layoffs by media companies.

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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