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Spotify’s AI Translator, New Apple Podcasts, SXSW x Podcasting, & More

Spotify’s AI Translator, New Apple Podcasts, SXSW x Podcasting, & More

September 29, 2023

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

Welcome to Friday, podcasting. We made it through the week, and the themes we’ve picked up along the way include cool new features, and re-envisioning how we approach old tactics with new information. Let’s get started.

Track behaviors, trends, and insights: Download Magellan AI’s podcast advertising benchmark report for Q2

Apple Podcasts Updates with iOS17

This Tuesday Apple announced some new additions to Apple Podcasts. Subscribers to apps such as Apple Music, Apple News+, Calm, and LingoKids now have access to over 60 original podcasts, with more shows from top apps and services launching weekly throughout this fall. Listeners with in-app subscriptions to eligible apps will be automatically connected to the publication’s channel and see every podcast they have access to in their Library tab.

In addition to a slate of podcasts from publications like Bloomberg and the Washington Post, Apple has launched a daily news briefing titled Apple News Today, a weekly interview show Apple News In Conversation, and Apple News+ Narrated, a catalog of audio stories produced by News+ publishers.

Spotify Announces Voice Translation

This Monday Spotify CEO David Ek announced a new feature being piloted on Spotify: artificial voice translation. The feature, exclusively found in Spotify’s app, translates episodes of podcasts into different languages using generated audio to make it sound as if the original host is speaking in the target language. The pilot program currently has one episode each of of the Lex Friedman Podcast, Dax Shephard’s Armchair Expert, and The Diary of a CEO with Steve Bartlett translated into Spanish as demonstration of the tech, with a special Voice Translations Hub available for people to check as more pilot translations are finished.

Creator and audience feedback on the pilot program will be used to expand and iterate on the concept as it sees wider release on the app.

Hispanic Audiences Love Audio, But Spanish Less of a Factor

Last Thursday from Inside Audio Marketing: audio remains popular with Hispanic audiences, but recent data from Nielsen’s RADAR report shows just having Spanish language content might not be enough.

The March edition of Nielsen’s RADAR report finds 94% of Hispanic respondents aged 18-49 listen to AM/FM radio on at least a monthly basis. The report also found Hispanic listeners are 13% more likely to consume podcasts when compared to the general population. A quote from the report:

“For Hispanics, the focus isn’t solely on language proficiency or the language in which the content is delivered. Instead, it’s about striking a balance between language preference and the relevance of the content.”

With a growing percentage of second and third generation Hispanic people in the population, simply providing general content translated in Spanish isn’t enough. Nielsens’ Custom Consumer Sentiment Study, also from March, found Hispanic audiences self-reported listening to podcasts more frequently (60% of respondents) and have increased the number of podcasts they listen to (62%).

One of podcasting’s special abilities is the flexibility to create and distribute content for any niche audience a publisher can think of. So, as companies roll out Hispanic Heritage Month content and consider how they’re going to target these demographics in future, keep Nielsen’s findings in mind. There’s a delicate balance needed between language preference and content that’s relevant for the intended audience.

Getting “Dabblers” to Embrace Podcasting

This week from Signal Hill Insights: Company founder Jeff Vidler breaks down data from a recent study done in partnership with Sounds Profitable titled The Podcast Landscape. The selected data specifically focuses on two groups of people: habitual podcast listeners, and “dabblers,” people who’ve listened to a podcast in the last thirty days, but not in the past week as of them being surveyed.

When considering how to convert dabblers, Vidler points to radio. Starting in 1965, 1010 WINS in New York has used a news-wheel format, constantly broadcast news content in a loop. Their tagline has been “you give us 22 minutes, we’ll give you the world,” followed by a call to action that trains listeners tune back in to the station at set points throughout their day. New listeners then develop the habit to catch each new rotation of the news wheel.

A system that stands in stark contrast to the industry-wide call to action that one can “subscribe where you find your favorite podcasts.” A habitual podcast listener knows where they find their favorite podcasts. A dabbler, on the other hand, might not know what website or app they would use to find a podcast outside of their first touchpoint, which might not even be a podcast app.

Vidler stresses that studies like The Podcast Landscape show the gulf in difference between these two types of listener, and now with that information it’s up to the podcast industry to meet the dabblers where they are. With the right wording and behavior change, podcasting could get a lot better at giving dabblers the tools to blossom into habitual listeners.

Industry Insights with Megellan AI

Between Q1 and Q2 2023, overall average ad loads increased from 5.55% to 5.97%. Quarter-over-quarter ad loads increased across all show groupings, but most (+0.86) in the Top 500.

Looking to get a handle on podcast advertising metrics? Book a demo with the Magellan AI team.

Quick Hits

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