100 episodes

The pace of change the podcast industry is undergoing is staggering. The implications for podcasters, hosting providers, podcast listening app developers, and advertisers and agencies are enormous. And so is the growth potential. Presented as a companion to the weekly newsletter of the same name, our podcast provides you with direct access to our narrated articles, interviews with industry experts, bleeding-edge research, and can't miss industry news recaps. That Sounds Profitable, right?

Assumptions and conventional wisdom will be challenged. Easy answers with no proof of efficacy will be exposed. Because the thinking that got podcast advertising close to a billion dollars annually will need to be drastically overhauled to bring in the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars podcast advertising deserves.

Sounds Profitable Sounds Profitable Network

    • Technology
    • 4.7 • 12 Ratings

The pace of change the podcast industry is undergoing is staggering. The implications for podcasters, hosting providers, podcast listening app developers, and advertisers and agencies are enormous. And so is the growth potential. Presented as a companion to the weekly newsletter of the same name, our podcast provides you with direct access to our narrated articles, interviews with industry experts, bleeding-edge research, and can't miss industry news recaps. That Sounds Profitable, right?

Assumptions and conventional wisdom will be challenged. Easy answers with no proof of efficacy will be exposed. Because the thinking that got podcast advertising close to a billion dollars annually will need to be drastically overhauled to bring in the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars podcast advertising deserves.

    Apple Ramps Up Its In-House Podcasting Efforts & 6 other stories for August 18th 2022

    Apple Ramps Up Its In-House Podcasting Efforts & 6 other stories for August 18th 2022

    This week: Apple’s funding podcasts, brand safety tech continues to divide advertisers, what more can and should ad agencies do to support journalism, Edison’s Latino Podcast Report, and Spotify bundles Chartable and Podsights access for Megaphone users


    Apple Ramps Up Its In-House Podcasting Efforts with Studio Deal

    Manuela: Rumors of Apple getting into podcasting bore fruit last week with official confirmation. At least, sort of. Ashley Carman and Lucas Shaw’s Bloomberg piece from last Wednesday explains: 

    “The investments have been led by Apple’s TV studio, rather than its podcast division. Despite being one of the biggest distributors of audio in the world, the company’s podcasting unit has avoided funding individual shows or buying networks because it wants to be seen as a neutral platform.” 

    That TV division has entered into a deal with Futuro Studios to fund the creation of podcasts while Apple retains first-look rights on film and TV adaptations. In essence, the deal creates a pilot-factory for Apple to generate new IP and test them in the world of podcasting before graduating to the more expensive filmed version. 

    “Apple hasn’t pumped nearly as much money into original podcasts as Amazon and Spotify Technology SA, which have each spent more than $1 billion acquiring companies and programming. Spotify, Apple’s rival in music streaming, has made some of the most popular podcasts in the world exclusive to its service and thus unavailable to the competition.”

    Podcasting is becoming a relatively affordable testing ground for IP instead of fully committing to a TV pilot, along with the added bonus of any successful IP getting a built-in audience of fans before the first day of shooting. Successful shows like Netflix’s Dirty John adaptation are proving the method can work and work well. 


    ‘A key impediment’: Brand safety tech continues to divide advertisers into haves and have-nots

    Shreya: This Monday Seb Joseph of Digiday posted an article detailing the growing divide in how advertisers handle being posted to news sites when big, predominantly negative stories break. Nobody wants to be the next viral sensation getting roasted worse than Mr. Peanut when Planters’ ad campaign temporarily killing their mascot coincided with the death of Kobe Bryant. 

    In a world full of dangerous news cycles, brand safety tech companies like Integral Ad Science are able to impart more granular control over what content is considered brand-safe in a timely manner. 

    “Then there are those marketers who don’t use the technology. Take British newspaper group Reach plc, for example, which has said the war in Ukraine significantly dampened advertiser demand.

    This won’t surprise anyone. The truth is the downside is too steep and the upside too obscure for many marketers to do anything but avoid the polarizing news. That said, not every marketer sees it this way. And if they could afford to, they would advertise on news sites — just in a more nuanced manner.”

    An unintended side effect of advertisers deciding what topics are acceptable to block ads on is that some of the biggest news stories are also cutting off some of the potentially best-written journalism of the moment. Joseph quotes Zefr EVP of Strategy and Marketing:

    “We actually don’t accept or use keyword blocklists as a policy in our company, because they end up causing the same damage to over-blocking quality voices over and over again and they just don’t work well in UGC environments. We instead apply the GARM [Global Alliance of Responsible Media] models for debated sensitive social issues as a way to keep brands in front of suitable content while avoiding the issues that they’re concerned about.” 


    Ad Agencies Can, and Should, Do More to Support Journalism

    Shreya: Between hedge fund buyouts dissolving seemingly bulletproof institutions and ad dollars drying up when negative stories drop, things are looking rough for j

    • 12 min
    The Podcasting Problem Hiding in Plain Sight

    The Podcasting Problem Hiding in Plain Sight

    Survey after survey tell us that people continue to discover podcasting every year. But is podcasting growth really a case of three steps forward, two steps back?


    Credits:


    Written & Editing by Tom Webster
    Produced with Spooler.fm
    Hosted with Omny Studio
    Sounds Profitable theme written by Tim Cameron

    Sounds Profitable: Narrated Articles is a production of Sounds Profitable. For more information, visit soundsprofitable.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 8 min
    Podcast Quarterly Earnings & 6 Other Stories

    Podcast Quarterly Earnings & 6 Other Stories

    This week on The Download:  Quarterly earnings, more quarterly earnings, Audio is getting its own track at Advertising Week, and Spotify is giving podcasts their own space in its app. 


    Arielle: Hope you’re ready for some earnings reports, because we’ve got two segments worth of second quarter earnings to go over. First up: the big platforms. Last Wednesday Alyssa Meyers of Marketing Brew posted a roundup of Spotify, SiriusXM and Acast. Things kick off with a silver lining: 

    “Call it what you want, the ad biz is not looking its best right now. But according to these execs, the growing podcast segment is keeping its head above water.” 

    Economic uncertainty is undeniably impacting the ad industry. The CEOs of Spotify and SiriusXM both cite ‘macro’ trends as being notably dire but not to podcast ads sales. SiriusXM’s Q2 ad revenue for Pandora and associated platforms reports a 5% year over year increase, reaching 403 million. Spotify posted a 31% year over year gain, earning around 366 million. This time around they neglected to isolate their podcast ad revenue as its own statistic. 

    Meyers quotes Spotify CFO Paul Vogel as saying they’re experiencing “strong growth on the podcasting side.”

    Hosting service Acast has been busy this second quarter, citing new features, a massive increase of podcasts on the platform, and their acquisition of Podchaser as driving factors of their 39% net sales growth. A figure that calculates out to 31 million USD. 

    While the macro trends are concerning, The Download will never pass up an opportunity to report numbers going up in podcasting. Big or small, names in the industry are increasing ad revenue, and that’s a good thing. 


    Shreya: Now to cover the Q2 numbers from three large broadcasters: iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, and Audacy. There’s a few dark spots throughout but, interestingly, their podcast numbers are shining beacons of hope in all three reports. 

    Overall iHeartMedia reports an 11% year over year increase, despite, in the words of company president Rich Bressler: “the uncertain economic environment.” Podcast revenue is up to 86 million, a 60% year over year increase. 

    Meanwhile, Cumulus Media joined the macro club during president Mary Berner’s opening statement: 

    “Despite the challenging macro environment, we increased revenue in the quarter by

    more than 5%, driven by our digital businesses whose growth accelerated in Q2 to 20% year-over-year.”

    Podcasting made Cumulus around 15 million this last quarter, up 27% year over year. All told, podcasting accounts for 6% of the company’s revenue. Not too shabby. 

    Finally, Audacy’s president David J Field brings us a final use of the term ‘macro’ for this episode: 

    “After a very strong first quarter in which we grew revenues by 14% and significantly increased margin, our second quarter results were adversely impacted by declining macroeconomic conditions and ad market headwinds which reduced our top line growth to 5%.” 

    The company made a nice $69m from “digital,” which includes podcasting, and is up 18% year over year. Podcast downloads grew 40% year-over-year. Revenue from podcasts is supposedly in the upper teens of percentage growth, but Audacy didn’t give specifics. Even with the ad market headwinds it seems podcasting is doing well for them. 


    Arielle: Wednesday of last week was a busy day for Alyssa Meyers, as we cover her second article of the day: “Audio gets its own track at this year’s Advertising Week.” 

    Advertising Week’s head of podcasting Richard Larsson told Marketing Brew, 

    “The rise of audio throughout the pandemic, coupled with Advertising Week’s efforts to build its own podcast network, culminated in the decision to give audio a more official spot on the agenda this October.”

    Audio representation continues with one of - if not the - longest-running podcast awards ceremony. Yesterday the People’s Choice Podcast Awards anno

    • 9 min
    How To Approach A Podcast Industry-Wide Education Initiative

    How To Approach A Podcast Industry-Wide Education Initiative

    In this episode of Sounds Profitable: Adtech Applied, Bryan speaks with U of Digital Managing Partner Shiv Gupta about what it means to create a comprehensive educational approach across an industry. Gupta comes to us by way of the digital marketing space, but has spent his career creating programming aimed at educating and serving across different sectors and levels within companies. Adtech Applied cohost Arielle Nissenblatt joins to set up the chat and break it down with takeaways at the latter half of the show.

    Listen to learn about:


    Shiv Gupta’s career
    Why it’s important to create non-biased courses that educate on entire industries
    How Sounds Profitable plans to approach an education initiative
    Why we need your feedback on this podcast

    Here’s our favorite idea from this conversation: creating opportunities for folks to learn, either if they’re new to a job or looking to move on to the next level, benefits everyone.

    Links:


    Bryan Barletta
    Arielle Nissenblatt
    Shiv Gupta
    U of Digital
    Sounds Profitable Summit at Podcast Movement
    The Download
    Sounds Profitable: Narrated Articles
    SquadCast
    Podscribe

    Credits:


    Hosted by Bryan Barletta & Arielle Nissenblatt
    Audio engineering by Evo Terra
    Executive produced by Evo Terra of Simpler Media
    Sounds Profitable Theme written by Tim Cameron
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 37 min
    Programmatic Advertising for Podcasters: How to Get Started

    Programmatic Advertising for Podcasters: How to Get Started

    The Summer of Programmatic continues! You may have already decided that programmatic advertising is important, but is it difficult to get started? The answer is...no! And this week, we lay out a simple plan to get you up and running.


    Credits:


    Written & Editing by Bryan Barletta
    Produced with Spooler.fm
    Hosted with Omny Studio
    Sounds Profitable theme written by Tim Cameron

    Sounds Profitable: Narrated Articles is a production of Sounds Profitable. For more information, visit soundsprofitable.com.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 9 min
    TikTok Eyes Podcasting? & 6 Other Stories for August 4th 2022

    TikTok Eyes Podcasting? & 6 Other Stories for August 4th 2022

    This week on The Download: New TikTok Trademark Could mean new streaming service, third-party cookies get a stay of execution from Google, Apple App Store ads could signal Apple Podcasts’ future, and two perspectives on the downturn ad economy. 


    New TikTok App Trademark

    Manuela: Last Thursday Dan Whateley and Amanda Perelli, writing for Business Insider, covered a new trademark application for a service called TikTok Music. As the simplistic name suggests, TikTok parent company ByteDance could be looking to branch the TikTok brand out beyond its current relationship to music and create a fully-fledged streaming platform. 

    “The idea that ByteDance would launch a standalone "TikTok Music" streaming service in the US to compete with players like Spotify and Apple Music isn't unfounded. It already runs a streaming app called Resso in three markets — India, Brazil, and Indonesia — that has been grabbing market share from other streamers in the past year.”

    While nothing has been formally announced or set in stone, the sources Perelli and Whateley contacted for their story suggest it’s highly unlikely ByteDance would file such a trademark. Filing in the US and Australia wouldn’t happen without a strong chance the company meant for it to come to fruition. Then there’s the matter of this move making perfect sense for TikTok. 

    Why cover this on The Download? Well, in addition to the general fact TikTok is slowly devouring the online world, it’s coming for audio specifically and the trademark application lists, among other things, the proposed new app’s ability to stream:

    “downloadable mobile applications providing podcast and radio broadcast content.”

    What remains to be seen is what the TikTok version of ‘a podcast’ will be.


    Google Delays Cookie Death Again

    Shreya: Once again we won’t be seeing the death of third-party cookies, as Google has delayed their death blow for another year. Last Wednesday The Verge’s Richard Lawler covered the story in the article “Google delays blocking third-party cookies again, now targeting late 2024.” 

    “The plan is to expand the group of Chrome users who have Privacy Sandbox APIs enabled to “millions of users globally” starting in August, then gradually opt more people in throughout the rest of the year and into 2023, giving the publishers and developers of these sites time to find out how the technology works before the APIs are “generally available” by Q3 of 2023.” 

    With this second delay third-party cookies are becoming the shoe that refuses to drop in advertising. While podcasting doesn’t depend on cookies per se, the ability to track individual consumers remains an expectation of digital marketers who don’t want to see the genie go back into the bottle. If it does, podcasts are on equal footing with mobile and web ads, and all will have to do the work to target the right consumers.


    Apple App Store Ad Offerings Signal Podcast Future

    Manuela: This Tuesday’s issue of Stratechery covers many sections of the Apple earnings call, but one particular section stuck out to The Download: Apple’s new advertising slots. The new slots are detailed by 9to5Mac’s Chance Miller. “Apple is expanding its advertising business and adding two new ad slots to the App Store. Currently, the App Store has two ad slots: one on the main ‘Search’ tab and one in the Search results. The two new App Store ads announced today will bring advertisements to the App Store ‘Today’ homepage, as well as to individual app pages.” 

    While the App Store and Apple Podcasts are different services, this change could signal a shift in the winds over in the podcasting world. Currently there are no ads in Apple Podcasts. Apple also puts considerable time into featuring podcasts in places ads would normally appear at no charge. Years of careful curation and optimal placement have caused those spots to become incredibly coveted. By making some of those spac

    • 9 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
12 Ratings

12 Ratings

consciousdave ,

Great podcast for those interested in ad tech aka podcasters

Bryan and now Tom, are great researchers; been following them both for a while. Bryan is passionate about the podcast space and how ads fit into it. Tom comes from Edison research and has a heavy research background- very knowledgeable about podcast data. They’re already making a great team and I look forward to continue to track this space with them. They too do a good job of helping indies by giving a lot of free game and webinars etc. Definitely recommend to fellow podcasters that want to monetize and run ads

RelNiss ,

0-100

I didn’t know anything about podcast ad tech before this show!

Courtneyisaboy ,

Incredible ad tech learning

This has helped me understand the advertising side to podcasting. It’s put in such a way that even the dumbest of humans, me being that, can understand and follow along.

Great production. Great ideas.

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