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Is The IAB On Borrowed Time? + 4 more stories for Feb 4, 2022

Today on The Download: is the IAB on borrowed time?, podcast ads see big gains again, Google makes misinformation less profitable, podcasts grow globally, SXM enters the identity game, and Spotify stands behind Rogan even as earnings fall. Let's get started.

Neilsen spells doom for IAB

In the world of TV, Nielsen measurement has been the defacto solution that deals are guaranteed against for decades. But now, according to Tim Peterson of Digiday, alternative measurement solutions are gaining traction in tandem with Nielsen metrics and for some publishers and campaigns, replacing them completely.

Nielsen took its fair share of lumps last year, with the Media Ratings Council board voting to strip them of their accreditation for local and national TV viewership due to undercounting audiences during the pandemic. And with their newly announced plans for Nielson One, a cross-measurement product, there is a lot of comfort in using new measurement partners in parallel to compare to current Nielsen reporting, while publishers determine their path forward.

Incumbent measurement solutions are incredibly hard to shake, and this change in the TV landscape doesn’t mean that overnight, Nielsen won’t be the primary solution or that they’ll ever necessarily lose that top spot. But it does mean that any measurement solution that represents an industry can and should be challenged, to better represent the industry and all those participating in it. IAB measurement of podcasting may be the default today, but we should always keep an open mind to better opportunities.

Podcast Ads See Big Gains—Again!

Good news for the podcast advertising industry! According to AvertiseCast, the effective rates brands are paying for podcast ads have increased once again, and for shows of all sizes.

Their most recent study of the 2,515 podcasts tracked shows that aggregate or the average CPM is now $25.37, which is up from $22.50 this time last year. Doing the quick math shows that’s an increase of 12.7%. Nice

And the news is even better for shows with the largest audiences. According to AdvertiseCast’s data, shows that see over 100K downloads are getting an average of $23.08, up from $20.09 a year ago. That’s a 14.6% increase year over year, and great news for the growing value of podcast advertising.

CheckMyAds Makes Misinformation Less Profitable

The nonprofit adtech industry watchdog CheckMyAds continues to gain traction on holding platforms accountable for monetizing disinformation content. Writing in MediaPost, Karlene Lucovitz reports that Google has decided to stop serving Google Ads on Fox News’ host and Cumulus Media radio and podcast host Dan Bongino’s own website. This comes just a week after YouTube permanently banned Bongino from the platform for, you guessed it, repeated violations of YouTube’s COVID misinformation policy.

Quoting from the piece:

It is not clear how much revenue Bongino will lose as a result of the Google Ads and YouTube bans.

However, as Engadget noted, Claire Atkin, co-founder of the digital disinformation-fighting nonprofit Check My Ads, tweeted that Gateway Pundit lost $1.1 million in annual revenue after its Google AdSense account was revoked for spreading COVID and election misinformation.

Quick side note: Clair Atkin is my guest on the next episode Sounds Profitable: Adtech Applied, if you are not already subscribed.

What’s most interesting is Google, at least with their ad platform, doesn't have to make a decision on whether to censor content or not. Instead, they make the decision whether or not to fund it through their ad solutions. So sure, you can say anything you want on your own platform. But with this move, Google is saying pick someone else to make it profitable, a trend we hope to see echoed through all of media.

Growing Podcasts Globally

Every indicator shows podcasting has had a heck of a growth trajectory over the last few years. But even though we count our numbers now in the millions, it’s still dominated by English-speaking podcasts.

But that may be changing. In Digiday, Sara Guaglione investigates how podcast publishers and platforms are working to grow non-English language audiences.

Quoting from the piece:

Of the 600,000-plus podcasts that launched in 2021 [that had declared] a language [in the RSS feed], a majority – 53% – tagged a non-English language, according to [Dave] Zohrob [of Chartable]. By contrast, in 2020 less than half of the 900,000 new podcasts debuted in 2020 were in non-English languages.

Knowing that the majority of new podcasts launched last year are presenting information in a language other than English is a huge turning point for the global-ness of podcasting, which should be welcome news for any podcasting business looking to expand their global footprint.

SMX’s AudioID

The impending death of the third-party cookie and the degradation of mobile device IDs has been the backbeat of the advertising industry for the past two years. But until this week, with Facebook shares dropping over 20%, the impacts have been far more fearmongering than fact.

Technology’s focus on privacy means a more transparent world, and at the forefront of data collection for advertising is the concept of unified ID’s, which relies heavily on consensually provided data from signed-in users, something we tend to assume doesn’t apply to the greater podcasting space, as Apple, Google, Spotify, and Amazon aren’t keen on sharing that data.

But according to SiriusXM’s SXM Media’s latest press release, they’re actively testing their proposal for an industry-wide framework that would enable the podcast player space to provide that data.

“We are entering a new era of identity – both in culture and in technology – that defines us not by who we are on paper or the cookies we leave behind, but by our interests and passions. AudioID is a consumer-first, privacy-conscious infrastructure that will deliver our audiences the best experiences and give marketers access to data-driven capabilities like never before,” said Chris Record, Senior Vice President and Head of Ad Product, Technology & Operations at SXM Media & AdsWizz.

While the reach has yet to be determined, and public access to the framework has not yet been made available, this is incredibly encouraging growth in an area of podcasting we’ve previously considered stagnant.

Spotify Stands Behind Rogan Even As Earnings Fall

And finally, yes… some news on Spotify’s Joe Rogan “problem”. We know you’ve heard all about it, but we were waiting for Wednesday’s scheduled earnings call to bring it up. And we’re glad we did. According to Marketwatch’s Jeremy C. Owens:

“Spotify Technology SA executives said Wednesday they expect fewer subscriber additions in the first quarter than Wall Street expected, sending shares spiraling lower, but they contended the forecast miss was not because of recent controversy.

Spotify guided for 1 million fewer net subscriber additions in the first quarter of 2022 than analysts expected, and did not provide an annual forecast as they have in the past. Shares dove more than 18% in after-hours trading immediately following the release of the report Wednesday, though they rebounded to a loss of less than 10% after Spotify’s chief financial officer gave a bit of color on expectations for the year in a conference call.”

But the big question we have in podcasting is how much, if any, of the miss in projections can be attributed to protestors who take exception to Rogan’s comments? When Spotify founder Daniel Ek was asked specifically is these misses were impacted by recent customer cancellations related to the Rogan controversy, Ek said

“Um, no.” and that “the easy answer is we don’t reflect any churn from the recent Joe Rogan thing in general. What I would say is it’s too early to know what the impact may be. And usually when we’ve had controversies in the past, those are measured in months and not days.”

But Owens goes on to note:

“Spotify stock has suffered during the controversy, falling 18% so far this year, but that continued a previous downward trajectory. Shares have declined 44.4% in the past 12 months, as the S&P 500 index gained 18.8%”

Watch this space as this continues to unfold.

The Download is a production of Sounds Profitable! Today's episode was hosted by Bryan Barletta and Evo Terra. Special thanks to Ian Powell for his audio prowess, and to our media host, Omny Studio.

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