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Beer Gets Into Video Podcast Advertising + 6 more stories for Mar 18, 2022

Today on The Download from Sound Profitable; Beer gets into video podcast advertising, kids podcast business is booming, and an appeal to private marketplace deals over FAANG, and more.

Production company Crooked Media has kicked off a campaign incorporating a purely visual sponsorship into Offline with Jon Favreau, and it’s from a sector not frequently seen in podcasting. Morning Brew’s Alyssa Meyers covered the story last Friday, shining light on a YouTube-focused partnership between Crooked Media and Blue Moon beer, a subsidiary of Molson Coors.

“For Blue Moon, Crooked agreed to add title cards that say ‘presented by Blue Moon,’ along with the brand’s logo, to the start of each Offline YouTube episode, Crooked Media VP of commercial marketing and creative strategy Joel Fowler told Marketing Brew.”

In addition to the title card and host-read ads in each video, Blue Moon will also buy YouTube ad space specifically on Crooked Media’s YouTube channel. Joel Fowler told Marketing Brew Blue Moon is the first “bigger blue-chip brands that you’re seeing come into the podcast space.” Fowler foresees more Fortune 500 companies embracing multi-media podcast ad campaigns in the near future.

 Disinformation detection company NewsGuard is looking to provide brand safety by uprooting disinformation in podcasts. According to reporting by MediaPosts’ Joe Mandese:

“NewsGuard is said to be in talks with at least three of the ad industry’s big holding companies to fund the new podcast rating service, and would reap a six-month exclusive window as part of the deal.”

Mandese connects a renewed industry interest in new brand safety tools for podcasts to the latest controversy surrounding the resurgence of COVID-19 disinformation on Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience.

NewsGuard aims to provide a personal touch with physical human analysts to employ prior knowledge and context to determine a podcast’s veracity, building lists of safe or problem podcasts as time goes on.

While initially NewsGuard’s attempt to adapt their blog fact-checkers for podcasting sounds noble, it raises some eyebrows. It’s a proprietary tool that’ll have six-month exclusivity for the anonymous holding companies funding the project. Their chosen hands-on approach also isn’t scaleable like other solutions currently in production, like that offered by Barometer. Unlike NewsGuard, Barometer is using the publicly-auditable GARM framework and isn’t focusing on exclusivity with a particular investor.

It is *The Download’*s opinion that the brand safety problem needs not be solved with proprietary solutions, but with accessible and easily-replicated frameworks.

 Once again J. Clara Chan over at Hollywood Reporter has some fun developments in the podcasting world. Published last Tuesday, Chan’s The Booming Business of Kids’ Podcasting gives a rundown of the big-name attention kids podcasts are getting.

“Podcasts in the kids and family category have seen a 20 percent increase in listenership since 2019, according to NPR and Edison Research’s 2021 Spoken Word Audio Report. Podcast adaptations of hit children’s shows are proliferating, while, conversely, film and TV studios are becoming involved earlier than ever to snap up podcast IP catered toward kids.”

That 20% number is likely quite low, as discussed in Lindsay Patterson’s Medium blog on how the Kids & Family category needs an overhaul. Regardless of where the number’s at, it’s good enough to get some big movers interested in kids’ podcasting content. Spotify has produced a podcast spinoff of the viral hit toddler sensory videos CoComelon. GBH Kids is producing an adaptation to continue the recently-retired PBS Kids series Arthur. On the opposite side of the equation Warner Brothers is optioning the TV rights from Gen-Z Media’s unreleased podcast 20 Million Views. According to Ben Strouse, CEO of Gen-Z media while speaking to Hollywood Reporter: “Everyone’s looking for great IP, especially great family IP, which is what we’re counting on.”

As YouTube, television, and every other form of media has discovered: making content to entertain kids is profitable. Now podcasting just has to thread the tricky needle of advertising to younger audiences with legislation like the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act severely limiting traditional advertising practices.

On Wednesday Michael Korsunsky published the incredibly thorough op-ed “How Publishers Can Lessen Their Dependence on FAANG” in a Wednesday op-ed for Adweek.

Korsunsky opens with a quick recap of the alleged handshake deal in which Google offered Facebook perks like lower digital ad fees in exchange for Facebook’s support of Google’s Open Bidding program. News that gives the appearance the F and the G of FAANG are colluding. For those not looking at the transcript: FAANG is an initialism of the five biggest players in tech consisting of Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Well, technically with Google becoming an Alphabet company the last letter should be A, but FAANA doesn’t have the same flair.

Quirky names aside, Korsunsky’s not happy.

“[T]he news is a betrayal of publishers’ trust and highlights yet again the overdominance of the walled garden; it should therefore be treated as a bellwether moment for all digital marketers.”

Korsunsky thinks its high time to kick shadowy open marketplaces to the curb and embrace transparent, more direct transactions on private marketplaces. For more background on the perils of open-market programmatic, check out Michael Bürgi’s Digiday piece “Open-market video programmatic is rife with fraud, say buyers, further complicating an already-difficult marketplace.”

What does this mean for podcasting? As an industry it’s best poised to expand with programmatic through private marketplaces, providing more transparency and better relationships than open marketplaces. If advertisers get on board with finding this solution more preferable outside of podcasting, it will likely bleed over to increased programmatic sales in podcasting

Once again we bring shocking news posted to Twitter. On Monday Digital Content Next CEO Jason Kint posted a Twitter thread analyzing developments in a sizable privacy lawsuit against Google in Northern California courts. The court order calls for Ernst & Young, Google’s independent auditor, to immediately relinquish all files relevant to the suit. Google is also ordered to show cause as to why they should not be sanctioned in light of new information suggesting Google allegedly ordered Ernst & Young to withhold over six thousand sensitive documents relevant to the case.

“It’s a bad look for E&Y to be playing this way for Google considering they perform much of the auditing across the advertising industry.”

In addition to the advertising industry implications, Ernst & Young is one of the primary auditing firms for certifications, like those through IAB.

Continuing The Download’s tendency to experiment and grow, we’ve got two new segments that don’t quite have names just yet. We’re working on it. First up, a brief recap of podcast company funding rounds of note over the last week.

On Tuesday Libsyn landed 4.75 million in new equity financing.

And as broken in Monday’s Podnews, podcast startup Kaleidoscope secured 3.5 million in funding, as well as a six-show deal with iHeartMedia.

For this second and final segment, we want to branch out our occasional honorable mention into a regular highlight of multiple stories we couldn’t fit into today’s episode but are absolutely worth your time to read in full. With that in mind, here are this week’s three must-reads:

  1. The Care and Feeding of a Podcast Audience by Tom Webster.
  2. Women Podcast Listeners: What We Know Right Now by Caila Litman.
  3. Big Tech Always Fails at Doing Radio by Matt Deegan, which might be of special interest to those who remember our coverage of the Amazon AMP app last week.

The Download is a production of Sounds Profitable. Today's episode was hosted by Shreya Sharma and Manuela Bedoya, and the script was written by Gavin Gaddis.

Bryan Barletta and Evo Terra are the executive producers of The Download from Sounds Profitable.

Special thanks to Ian Powell for his audio prowess, and to our media host, Omny Studio.

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