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Spotify’s Android Commission Rate, X Cancels MRC Audit, Adblocker Usage Rising & More

Spotify’s Android Commission Rate, X Cancels MRC Audit, Adblocker Usage Rising & More

November 21, 2023

Today in the Business of Podcasting

Before we get into the news, one quick programming note: due to the Thanksgiving holiday, this will be the last installment of the Download for the week. We’ll see you next on Monday the 27th.

A secret Google deal let Spotify completely bypass Android’s app store fees by Adi Robertson and Sean Hollister

New testimony from the ongoing Epic v. Google trial from Don Harrison, Google’s head of global partnerships, says Spotify pays a 0% commission when users buy subscriptions through Spotify’s own system. Also, if users pick Google as their payment processor, Spotify pays 4% of the transaction to Google. Generally, other companies have to pay between 15% to 30% commission to Google when selling in-app. Google’s User Choice Billing program does allow companies to slice off around 4% of their Google commission if they agree to use their own payment system, but traditionally their commission reduction is only enough to offset the costs of running an independent payment system. Harrison says Spotify’s 0% deal was made due to the “unprecedented” popularity of the app, giving the company a leg up on other music and podcasting apps that have had to pay Google’s commission. [Source]

Brand safety concerns mount as X (formerly Twitter) pulls out of MRC audit by Krystal Scanlon

X has opted out of an independent audit by Ernst & Young for its Media Ratings Council (MRC) brand safety credentials, citing resource constraints and technological challenges that make them unable to continue with a formal audit. As a result, the MRC will be removing the “in-process” status from the company. Brand safety is a hot-button issue with X currently, as this Monday the company’s owner has filed a lawsuit against watchdog group Media Matters for their report last Thursday, which shows ads for companies like Apple and IBM running next to tweets promoting pro-Hitler ideologies and Holocaust denial conspiracy theories. Audits and certifications matter. Podcasting prioritizes and grows that sentiment in our industry. Spend your money here. [Source]

NewsGuard’s Whitelist Of Ukrainian Publishers Aims To Combat Wartime Misinformation by Anthony Vargas

The latest initiative from Newsguard, a company that ranks the credibility of news outlets, is creating a whitelist of publishers based in Ukraine to combat the decline in ad spend on publishers since the beginning of the Russian invasion in February of 2022. The project was prompted by a request from Reporters Without Borders to help Ukrainian publishers to complete an assessment that would make them compliant with the Journalism Trust Initiative. In the process, Newsguard also assessed the publications it helped through JTI’s approval process, creating the whitelist. Newsguard also maintains similar lists for podcasts. [Source]

Roku And Unity Want To Prove CTV Is A Performance Channel by Alyssa Boyle

Roku has announced a new partnership with app monetization platform Unity to help gaming and mobile app developers add connected TV (CTV) to their user acquisition campaigns with performance marketing attribution for streaming. A big hurdle for Roku, and CTV in general, is convincing performance marketers CTV can deliver more than basic reach and frequency. Podcast advertising has spent quite some time becoming experts in performance marketing, often with less data than CTV. There’s potential for CTV to benefit from podcasting’s institutional knowledge. [Source]

Working From Home Spurs Ad Block Rates to Rise by Trishla Ostwal

According to ad-filtering tech firm Eyeo’s 2023 Ad-filtering report, mobile and desktop ad-block rates are experiencing gradual growth of 11% from 2021 to 2023. Thanks to increased home desktop computer use from more people working at home, desktop adblocker use has reached 27% of the population by the end of Q2 2023. Mobile ad-blocking is currently at 22%. One solution to combatting the rise of ad-blockers is the Acceptable Ads Committee, which serves ads that fit specific criteria to people who use ad blockers but have opted into Acceptable Ads. According to Acceptable Ads, the opt-in rate has increased 42% from Q1 2022 to Q2 of this year, with over 300 million members. Raptive reports they’ve delivered 2.7 billion impressions through Acceptable Ads that otherwise would’ve been blocked.  Save for som edge cases, podcasts are built and distributed in such a way ad blockers have not yet been able to impact podcast ad distribution. [Source]

…as for the rest of the news: SiriusXM Media SVP and Head of Ad Innovation Lizzie Widhelm is on the latest Digiday Podcast, and PodPod has signed Spotify as a headline partner for their Podcast Advertising Summit, set to take place in London on January 25th.