Manuela: We start from a story from the holiday break. On Monday, December 19th, Podnews editor James Cridland reported on a weekend of outages for Megaphone. According to Megaphone documentation, the outage started sometime before 11am Eastern on Saturday the 17th for producers. From the website:
“We are currently investigating an issue that is impacting content delivery. During this time end listeners most likely will not be able to download podcast episodes. We are working to fix this currently.”
Within two hours the case was updated to reflect the playback issue. At 10am the following day a second outage started, this time as a “podcast playback” issue that ran for over 12 hours, leaving megaphone podcasts effectively offline until 11:56pm Eastern. One of the larger major hosting platform outages of the year.
This incident marked the sixth time in 2022 Megaphone was temporarily unavailable to podcast listeners.
AdvertiseCast Publishes Final Podcast Advertising Rates of 2022
Shreya: AdvertiseCast rang in the new year with a January 1st update to their monthly AdvertiseCast Marketplace Podcast Advertising Rates. A quote from AdvertiseCast CRO Dave Hanley in their press release:
“2022 was a breakout year in podcasting. Podcasts have become mainstream with explosive growth among younger and more diverse audiences who are embracing niche genres and new ways of listening.”
December’s overall average CPM was $23.57, a 4% drop month-on-month. With this new information, AdvertiseCast now has the data to generate an overall average for the year. The average CPM for podcasts in AdvertiseCast’s observed population was $23.87 for a sixty-second ad spot, a 2% increase from 2021.
The three highest-CPM categories in December were, in ascending order, Business, Education, and Technology, with Technology podcasts pulling an average CPM of $27.
Software dev wants to make podcast ad blocker, charge money for it.
Manuela: Last week a Portland, Oregon-based software engineer Micah Engle-Eshleman announced his intentions to build something that, if fully developed, would change the industry: Adblock, but for podcasts. From adblockpodcast.com:
“Finally, a podcast app that skips ads! Adblock Podcast detects and skips ads on all iTunes podcasts.”
While light on concrete information, the project appears to be a web-based application that would detect and remove any advertisements embedded in podcasts served through Apple Podcasts, erroneously referred to by the branding Apple retired six years ago. The project will be a paid service with a vaguely-defined intent to use an undefined portion of money collected to directly pay podcasters via revenue share.
On paper, Engle-Eshlerman is proposing his web app would create a new, more profitable way for podcasters to be compensated for producing their shows. He’s quoted in last week’s Podnews as saying he hasn’t figured that part out yet.
Which feels apt for the entire project. How would it skip ads? How would a web app produced by one person handle the complexity of paying out millions of individual podcasts? Why are podcasters supposed to be excited that they have to let a stranger’s product rip out their ads and give them a percentage of what it collected that month? If a podcast that’s on a network has its ads skipped, does that podcast get the check or does the network?
At best, Podcast Adblock is a cautionary tale for bloggers and reporters covering podcast beats. Just because an email contains something that looks sensational doesn’t mean it’s worth giving air. Podcast Adblock has many telltale signs of being vaporware. A paid service based Adblock, a service that has been available for free in one form or another since 2002. From someone with no podcasting bona fides who still calls it ‘iTunes.’
Apple Podcasts launched Delegated Delivery
Shreya: This Tuesday Apple announced the implementation of the Delegated Delivery beta, which will allow podcasters to publish content to their Apple Podcast Subscription from the dashboard of select hosting services. From the blog:
“With an active membership to the Apple Podcasters Program, creators can now generate API Keys from the Account tab of Apple Podcasts Connect, which they can share with their hosting provider to allow them to publish content on their behalf. Once enabled, creators can submit new free and subscriber shows, publish new subscriber episodes, and continue to publish free episodes to Apple Podcasts from their hosting provider dashboard.”
Currently the beta enables podcasters on Blubrry, Libsyn, Triton Digital’s Omny Studio, and RSS to try out pushing episodes directly to their Apple subscribers. More hosting providers are slated to be added to the service throughout the year, with Acast, ART19 and Buzzsprout mentioned by name as the next in line for addition.
Removing the extra chore of logging in to a separate dashboard makes the act of producing an ad-free feed or bonus content even more attractive. Apple premium subscriptions were already popular before, it’s easy to see Delegated Delivery could likely help make them defacto practice for podcasts with substantial footprints on Apple Podcasts.
First 2023 edition of The Podscape now live.
Manuela: Before we get into the Quick Hits, we wanted to briefly spotlight something new from a collaboration between Sounds Profitable and Magellan AI. The first 2023 edition of The Podscape is now live. The sizeable infographic is built from taking inventory of podcasting’s companies, agencies, services, and anything else that could be classified. From the Podscape description:
“From content creation to hosting services to media planning, agencies, and media sales – download The Podscape to better understand how some of the biggest players fit together on one page.”
The 2023 Podscape is free to download and currently accepting feedback. 2022 was a busy year in podcasting and the goal of The Podscape is to create as accurate a snapshot as possible. Any notable exclusions or needed corrections should be directed to podscape@Magellan.ai for the next edition, currently slated for sometime in February.
Shreya: 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:
LiveOne to spin off PodcastOne into public company, Slacker possibly next by Kurt Hanson for RainNews. This short piece includes a source link to the SEC filing from LiveOne indicating the upcoming spinoff.
Podcast Vet Laura Mayer To Lead Podcast Creative At ABC Audio from PodcastNewsDaily. Exciting closure for listeners of Shameless Acquisition Target, as host Laura Mayer has landed a choice role at ABC Audio after selling the RSS feed to her year-long podcast project.
NPR’s Student Challenge is Back from NPR. For its fifth consecutive year, the NPR Student Podcast Challenge will run from January through April, encouraging middle and high-school students to produce podcasts in hopes of winning the grand prize of a $5,000 scholarship.
The best and worst campaigns of 2022, according to industry creatives by Kelsey Sutton, Ryan Barwick, Minda Smiley, and Alyssa Meyers for MarketingBrew. A fun weekend read, this look back at the previous year features some pivotal moments in online marketing. From catchy songs about plant-based chicken nuggets to people in neon t-shirts being creepy at baseball games, 2022 had a wide variety of campaigns.