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Apple’s Automatic Transcriptions, Podcasts on ESPN 2, Brand Safety Summit Lessons, & More

Apple’s Automatic Transcriptions, Podcasts on ESPN 2, Brand Safety Summit Lessons, & More

February 2, 2024

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

What a news week. Since last we recapped, podcasting has delivered oodles of new data and a big step forward in podcast accessibility and inclusion. Let’s get to it!

Greater Trust. Greater Transparency. Better Performance.

Apple Podcasts Debuts Automatic Transcript Generation

A long-awaited accessibility feature has arrived on Apple Podcasts. With the newest iteration of iOS (17.4), Apple Podcasts will now automatically generate transcripts for podcasts in English, French, German, and Spanish across 170 countries and regions. Back catalog episode transcripts will be added over time.

Every net-new podcast created and added to Apple Podcasts Connect will start generating transcripts from its first upload. Creators have the ability to replace the automatic transcript with their own hand-edited file by uploading a new VTT or SRT file. The Apple transcript can also be downloaded and used as a starting point for editing.

James Cridland of Podnews has constructed a sizable FAQ for a number of questions asked since the announcement. 

While no automated transcript system can be 100% perfect, providing transcriptions by default gives the industry an excellent baseline for accessibility. If this became an industry standard, podcasting would be on the same level as YouTube. Creators on YouTube can choose to hand-transcribe their videos, but viewers who need captions can rely on YouTube’s automatic subtitles if those bespoke captions never come to fruition.

Alex Cooper’s ‘Call Her Daddy’ Podcast Ends Spotify Exclusivity

This Wednesday from Caitlin Huston on The Hollywood Reporter: Alex Cooper’s podcast Call Her Daddy, which has been a Spotify exclusive since signing a multi-year deal in 2021, has joined the open world of podcasting. As of January 30th, the back catalog of Call Her Daddy audio has been made available to all major podcast platforms on an open RSS feed. The video versions of episodes will remain exclusive to Spotify.

The move is the next in a series of former exclusives being partially released back to the public, following shows like Armchair Expert, Science Vs., anything goes with emma chamberlain, and Trevor Noah’s What Now?, which was announced as a video exclusive back in June of 2023. A Spotify executive tells Huston the strategy shift will drive increased values for both the creator and Spotify as the earliest shows released from the walled garden have seen strong increases of audience reach and ad revenue.

Lessons From The Brand Podcast Summit

This Tuesday from Jeff Vidler at Signal Hill Insights: Over 1,400 CMOs, content marketers, and podcast producers registered for Lower Street’s first Brand Podcast Virtual Summit on January 24th.

The audience of a branded podcast remained a common discussion thread throughout all sessions. A quote from Roy Sexton, Director of Marketing at Clark Hill Law: “Podcasts should not just exist to placate someone’s ego… If it’s not bringing in a lead or awareness or audience growth, you need to pull the plug or re-tool.”

Lower Street’s Shannon Martin urged brands to not overlook in-house evangelists who might have vital feedback to shape a podcast for its audience, including the vital Brand Fans. The next meeting of the Brand Podcast Virtual Summit will be on April 24th and registration is currently open. 

Triton Digital’s U.S. Podcast Report, 2023

This week Triton Digital released a 17 page report covering the listening landscape and trends in podcasting for 2023. Key findings in the report include top genres, networks, and demographic breakdowns. According to their Podcast Metrics Demos+ data, the number of podcast listeners since 2021 has grown 12%. With that growth also comes a decrease in the age gap. While podcasting has historically trended to millennial and younger audiences, the population of podcast audiences aged 55+ has grown 22% over the past two years.

For genres, News was the most-downloaded of the last year, followed by True Crime and Comedy. According to Triton’s podcast ranker data, the top news podcast of the year in downloads was NRP News Now, with Crime Junkie topping out True Crime and Smartless in Comedy.

On the subject of rankers, Magellan AI released their top podcast advertisers for December 2023 this week. After quite a while firmly at the top-spending podcast advertisers, BetterHelp has been de-throned by Amazon with just under $200,000 more ad spend. Over the movers and shakers category, Sprint takes the top spot with just under $590,000 in December spend, a 490% increase from November. Down in the 13th place Roku also seems to be getting the podcasting bug, increasing their $7,300 November podcast ad spend to $122,400 for December, a 1,577% increase.

New Direct-to-Consumer Podcast Advertising Report

This Thursday from Acast: Podcasts Win with Direct-to-Consumer Shoppers. The report is built from two studies conducted in December by Attest in the US, UK, and Canada. The first study focused on 450 marketing and advertising professionals who market to DTC shoppers, and the second surveyed 900 consumers who typically shop online directly from a company’s website.

48% of podcast listeners surveyed rarely buy a new production without an endorsement from someone they trust. Podcast DTC shoppers also trended higher with waiting to purchase from ethical and diverse companies than their overall DTC counterparts. While brand marketing may have overtaken DTC as the most prominent form of marketing in podcasting, DTC remains alive and well in the industry.

Meet the “Do Not Say” Flag

Quick Hits

While they may not be top story material, the articles below from this week are definitely worth your time: