Weekly round-up: Money Stuff

Hey podheads, this issue is all about the money. The title is also a bit of a tribute to one of my favorite newsletters by the same name written by Matt Levine. Here’s issue #34.

Unluminated?

Man, things just keep getting worse for Luminary. After the bungled launch, more networks pulled out from the platform last week. Stitcher, PRX, including Radiotopia, ESPN, and Lantigua Williams & Co join a growing list of shows and networks to pull out.

Luminary also responded to Podnews on Twitter over the coverage of its teething troubles:

Read: After several stumbles, Luminary swears it wants to do right by podcasters – Melissa Locker/Fast Company

Moneytalk

How aboot this!

Rogers Media, one of Canada’s largest media conglomerates announced that it is acquiring Pacific Content – the Vancouver based podcast production company. Rogers Media owns 56 radio stations, 29 local TV stations, 198 web properties and the
Toronto Blue Jays major league baseball team. The size of the deal wasn’t disclosed.

Pacific Content specializes in creating branded podcasts for the top brands. It works with big brands such as Facebook, Charles Schwab, Zendesk, Mozilla, McAfee among others.

This acquisition comes in the wake of a reshuffle in priorities for Rogers Media. In June 2018, it had launched the Frequency Podcast Network. In March 2019, it sold off its last remaining magazines and called it quits on print media (surprise!)

More boom for the buck

Audioboom, the UK based podcasting company is looking to raise $3.6 million through a private placement. It had raised $2 million in February. The stock has performed really well year to date vs the FTSE.

In order to support and continue the strong revenue growth experienced by Audioboom in Q4 2018 and Q1 2019, the proceeds of the Placing and Subscription will be used predominantly to accelerate the acquisition of established podcast content and their audiences, with a view to increasing the Company’s gross revenues and gross margins in 2019 and beyond. In addition, funds will be used to develop further co-production content partnerships and Audioboom Originals productions, to deliver valuable original content.

Audioboom

Walls

Swedish podcast company Acast announced the launch of Acast Access, a paywall solution. This new product allows publishers to create “accessed-RSS” that contains exclusive content that can be consumed on any podcasting app, in contrast to the closed Luminary model.

Here’s Johan Billgren explaining how this works In the press release announcing the launch:

Acast Access is built on the concept of having two RSS feeds for one show. One is the standard, public-RSS feed. The other is the private version of that show, the accessed-RSS. The publisher then decides what parts of the content are exclusive and only available through the accessed-RSS, and what parts are in both feeds. Acast Access then checks the anonymized user data against the publisher´s API to determine which users are approved as either logged in or paying subscribers of the publisher. From the listener’s perspective, Acast Access is easy to use. It takes just two clicks to replace the public feed with the accessed version in their podcast app of choice.

Johan Billgren, Acast Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer

The company has raised $70.2M in funding so far. It had announced the acquisition of podcast hosting platform Pippa last week.

Bullish talk

Slate is betting that podcasts will drive 50% of the revenues this year. Slate was one of the earliest publishers to focus on podcasts and it has clearly paid off.

This year, audio could represent “nearly half” of Slate’s revenues, up from 28% in late 2018

Charlie Kammerer, President, Slate

Slate’s 30 podcasts generated 180 million listens in 2018, a 78% increase year over year. “Slow Burn” piled up over 15 million downloads by itself.

It also announced season 3 of Slow Burn.

Spotify watch

Spotify appears to be testing a new personalized playlist feature that mixes music and podcasts. The Verge has more on this.

The company also launched voice-enabled ads. These ads are invoked based on user commands. Spotify was running an ad for
Stay Free: The Story of the Clash, it’s own original podcast.

Read: Spotify debuts voice-enabled audio ads with unilever

The music streaming giant also debuted a new global brand campaign.

The twin-pronged approach champions the ubiquity and discovery of its extensive library of music and podcasts which have seen it welcome 217 million users, with localised content targeting each target market across out-of-home, digital, radio and social.

Bytes

Mike Pesca, host of Slate’s The Gist penned a piece on why podcasts are a cure of today’s toxic discourse. – WaPo

Despite my background in traditional radio news, I’ve come to believe that podcasts are the best tonic for all that toxicity. 

Redcircle a new startup wants to help podcasts grow. The startup offers free hosting and analytics. One of the cooler things about the platform is a feature that makes cross-promotions with other shows easy. – Ashley Carman/The Verge

NBC News Gears Up for Podcast Push. – Brian Steinberg/Variety

From Downunder: Radio stays strong as podcast listening and smart speaker use grows, says study. – B&T Magazine

Overcast introduces new clip-sharing feature. – Andrew Liptak/The Verge

Variety, iHeartMedia Launch New Film Podcast ‘The Big Ticket’ With Marc Malkin. – Variety

Interesting tidbit about The Daily by The New York Times

The Times announced that its popular podcast “The Daily,” hosted by Michael Barbaro, has reached 2 million listeners per day. The podcast has grown its staff from four people to 17.

Mediapost

A Q&A with Scott Aukerman of Comedy Bang! Bang!Andrew Husband/Forbes

Mediawatch

What Wired learned after launching its paywall a year ago. – Nicholas Thompson/Wired

I’m a big fan of newsletters, in fact I’ve been urging all my podcaster friends to have one. Here’s how newsletters are helping writers make some money. – Alex Kantrowitz/Buzzfeed

The Guardian breaks even against the odds: we couldn’t have done this without you. – Katharine Viner/The Guardian

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

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