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TikTok spotted scraping podcast feeds & 8 Other Stories


This week: TikTok spotted scraping podcast feeds, YouTube launches audio ads and host-read ad service, Internet radio platform Live365 to distribute through TuneIn On Air, the Spoken Word Audio Report debuts next week, and Digiday research shows publishers are warming more to programmatic.


Evidence suggests TikTok to explore podcasts.

Manuela: TikTok is coming to podcasting, or at least it looks to be that way from the breadcrumb trail of hints the company has left behind over the past year.

Most recently, in Monday’s edition of Podnews, James Cridland reported podcast hosting company Audiomeans has spotted a

“new bot that is scraping our feeds, starting October 11th.”

The host also provided Podnews with details about the bot scraping their feeds that ties it back to TikTok.

Back in May the social media giant registered a trademark for a new service titled TikTok Music, which happened to include a provision for podcast content. Further back still, in the last week of December 2021 all TikTok users got a notification prompting them to take the ‘TikTok Podcast experience survey’ that collected listener-focused data, as well as audience metrics if the person filling it out identified as a producer.

With questions like “if TikTok is going to launch a podcast feature, which of the following do you think will lead to a positive podcasting experience?,” it’s no surprise we’re seeing signs they’re building something podcasting related almost a year later. 


YouTube launches audio advertisements, service for host-read podcast spots.

Arielle: This Monday YouTube announced a launch of audio-only ads, including ways to allow advertisers to specifically target podcasts, music, and those using connected TVs. This feature was beta-tested in 2020 but has now gone live globally. Sheila Dang covered the announcement for Reuters.

“The streaming video platform said it will expand audio advertising globally to allow brands to market to people who use YouTube to listen to music or podcasts.” 

It should be noted, as of this writing the YouTube podcasts homepage is still unavailable outside the US, though the announcement of global audio ads suggests this will change soon.

Then on Tuesday MarketingBrew’s Alyssa Meyers covered further development on the story as YouTube brought host-read ads into the mix.

“YouTube BrandConnect, its branded-content platform that connects creators with advertisers, is piloting a program that offers video ads read by podcasters, signaling YouTube’s continued interest in expanding its footprint in the podcast world.” 

The BrandConnect system will allow brands testing the program to op into 60 or 90 second host-read ad segments that exclusively appear on the YouTube version of the podcast. The spots will either include video of the host reading the copy or a custom title card with audio overlay. BrandConnect managing director Lori Sobel mentioned skincare company Neutrogena has implemented the tool to run a campaign on the The Financial Confessions.

In the future BrandConnect has intentions of using audience insights to pair brands with creators. 


Live365 signs TuneIn On Air distribution deal.

Manuela: Last Wednesday Soundstack’s Live365 platform announced a distribution agreement with TuneIn. Broadcasters on Live365 premium subscriptions now have access to the TuneIn On Air, opening up access to the platform’s 30 million US-based people using the TuneIn mobile app on over 200 connected devices, including integrations with automotive systems by Tesla and Volvo. A quote from TuneIn CEO Richard Stern:

“This partnership with Live365 fits perfectly within our mission to reinvent radio for a connected world and democratize access to radio for broadcasters large and small. We believe great conversations are driven by the power of the human voice and we know our listeners rely on us to stay connected to the issues that matter to them most via our content catalog. We're thrilled to help more broadcasters reach TuneIn's expansive audience."

This partnership comes at a time when traditional radio listenership is dropping. Last month Tom Webster, in an article for Sounds Profitable, wrote about the most recent Edison Research Share of Ear study. In recent years there has been a slow decline in Americans 13 and up listening to audio on AM/FM radios, while listening time on mobile devices has grown in almost direct correlation. 

“I am certainly not the only person to write about this, but radio has as much of a hardware problem as it does a “software” issue. Other than your car, it is getting harder and harder to even buy a broadcast radio receiver. Some mobile phones do offer radio tuners, but Apple has famously rebuffed all attempts by radio lobbyists to include one in the iPhone. And so, as you might guess, AM/FM’s Share of Ear on mobile devices is comparatively quite small, indeed--in fact, today that share is markedly smaller than the share allocated to podcast listening on mobile devices.”

Bringing radio to those mobile devices eliminates the issue of limited access to hardware. TuneIn is a standout example of a service modernizing the radio listening experience and making it accessible from mobile devices. Thanks to their roster of connected devices including automotive systems like Tesla and Volvo, their version of portable radio even can take over one of the last bastions of AM/FM hardware. 


The Spoken Word Audio Report 2022 Launches Next Week

Arielle: Mark your calendars, NPR and Edison Research are set to release the 2022 version of the Spoken Word Audio Report on October 27th. The study will explore:

“specific types of spoken word content, various spoken-word platforms, and devices used to consume spoken word content. With young people in the U.S. listening to spoken word audio more than ever, this year’s study includes a special focus on Gen Z consumption.”

Vice President of Edison Research Megan Lazovick and Lamar Johnson, VP of Sponsorship Marketing at National Public Media , will present the study via webinar at 2pm Eastern Standard Time. Registration for the webinar is live and a link is available on the Edison Research blog post announcing the event.


Digiday+ Research: Direct-sold ads lose favor with publishers, while programmatic ads make gains

Manuela: The tide appears to be shifting more in favor of programmatic advertising. This Monday, Digiday deputy managing editor Julia Tabisz covered a survey of 200 publisher professionals conducted by Digiday+ Research over the first and third quarters of 2022. Their findings show a growing difference between money made from direct-sold ads and programmatic. 

“While programmatic ads still make up a smaller portion of publishers’ revenues on the whole than direct-sold ads, publishers see potential in programmatic, Digiday’s survey found, which could affect how publishers prioritize their businesses through the end of this year and into next. For instance, the percentage of publishers who said they will put a large or very large focus on building the programmatic part of their business in the next six months has risen from fewer than a third (32%) in Q1 to 43% in Q3.”

The survey found the percentage of publishers who self-identified as getting a large or very large portion of their ad revenue from direct-sold ads fell from 59% in Q1 to 45% in Q3. On the flip side, publishers who got a large portion of ad revenue from programmatic ads only shrank from 32% to 30% from Q1 to Q2. 

“Digging a bit deeper into how publishers manage their programmatic ads business, it turns out that the open market is the biggest source of publishers’ programmatic revenue — and it’s growing.” 

Longtime listeners of The Download have heard this before: programmatic isn’t a dirty word, and an excellent tool when used properly, and we love to see wider industries embracing it. 


Quick Hits: Recommended Weekend Reading

Arielle: Finally, it’s time for our semi-regular roundup of articles we’re calling Quick Hits. These are articles that didn’t quite make the cut for today’s episode, but are still worth including in your weekend reading. This week:

5 Reasons Brands Shouldn’t Sleep on Co-Listening by Melissa Paris for SXMMedia. SiriusXM, in collaboration with Carat and Edison Research, has published their second co-listening report as a follow-up to their 2018 study on co-listening.


Announcing Independent Attribution by Amelia Coomber for Podscribe. Podscribe has launched their independent third-party attribution pixel for podcast advertising. 


The Same People Who Listen To Podcasts Also Stream CTV by Allison Schiff for AdExchanger. Schiff covers the similarities podcast listeners share with connected TV audiences, including data from Acast, The Trade Desk, and Nielsen.

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