Podnews Weekly Review

iHeartMedia purchased podcast plays to game their download numbers and the IAB says it's ok!? John Spurlock talks OP3.dev and how it could help filter this bad practice.

September 30, 2022 James Cridland & Sam Sethi Season 1 Episode 95
Podnews Weekly Review
iHeartMedia purchased podcast plays to game their download numbers and the IAB says it's ok!? John Spurlock talks OP3.dev and how it could help filter this bad practice.
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James Cridland:

From POD News, welcome to Pod Land, the last word in podcasting news. It's Thursday the 29th of September, 2022. I'm James Cridlin, the editor of POD News.

Sam Sethi:

And I'm Sam Sethy, the managing director of River Radio, Hi, it's Simon from pmo and I'm here today to talk about subscription for podcasting and the journey that PMO has been on, and I look forward to embark upon in the future as.

John Spurlock:

And this is John Spurlock, and I'll be on later to talk about O P three, the Open Podcast prefix project.

James Cridland:

They will Pod Land is sponsored by squad. We use the latest squad, version five to remotely record this episode. I'm in Australia. Sam's in the uk.

Sam Sethi:

and we're sponsored and hosted by Bus Sprout. Last week, 3,568 people started a podcast with Bus Sprout and now there's Bus Sprout Adds to grow your podcast wherever it's hosted. Bus Sprout has recently added control of mid roll settings as well as a new feature for Bus at.

James Cridland:

Pod land is where Sam and I review the week's top podcasting stories covered on pod news.

Sam Sethi:

We support both transcripts and chapters, and if your podcast app doesn't, then grab a new podcast app from pod News adult net slash new podcast apps.

James Cridland:

So, So what's the top story this week then, Sam?

Sam Sethi:

So, uh, well, you know, when I put, uh, a little reveal behind the curtain for everybody when we start to put the stories together, James, for our script. Um, and I go through podcast news and I'm looking around and then the top story wasn't gonna be the one we started with. And then boom, Ashley Carmen drops the, uh, big potato down on everybody, uh, with a brilliant, uh, reveal, in Bloomberg where she talks about podcast companies are by millions of listens through auto play episodes. Populated in free mobile games. , she went on to say, iHeart the top podcast publisher on Pod Track has bought around 6 million unique downloads per month since 2018, and these counters in IAB download now that James was the big story everywhere. So I'm gonna now ask you to give me a little bit more about whether this was a good thing that iHeart and Pod Track are doing, or is this a bit dodgy?

James Cridland:

There's a question. So what they're basically doing is, uh, if you play, um, any online game, then you'll know that, um, there, there's usually the opportunity for you to watch an ad and in return you get, you know, a thousand credits or you get a free life, or you get something or else. Uh, and that's basically how many of these, um, mobile games make their money. In this particular case, players got game tokens if they listened to a podcast for just 20 seconds. And there was a little clip of a particular podcast that's run by iHeart, was, you know, available in one of these games. And that's all fine, except when, when you listen to a podcast for just 20 seconds, then the mobile game app is downloading enough audio for over 60 seconds and over 60 seconds worth of audio means it's a, um, IB certified download. And it means that, um, I iHeart in that particular case can both, uh, charge for the ads delivered in the show because it's a proper, real download, isn't it? Because it's more than 60 seconds of audio. And it also means that pod track will count those in the rankers as well. So, um, so it's an interesting bit of, uh, data manipulation, I guess in many ways.

Sam Sethi:

I think you said something brilliantly on Twitter. You said, um, if you buy those in game ads for $5 for the cpm, sell two ads in the podcast for $25 cpm, you can make $45 CPM profit and appear higher in the rankings. You said it was genius, and I think that was sarcasm, just in case, uh, uh, anyone missed the tone. Um, That's in a summary, what they're doing. They're basically manipulating the numbers and increasing their profits. Clearly this has to be something that should stop, or at least, Does that make rank is irrelevant then, or does that just mean iHeart's rank is just not true? And where would they rank?

James Cridland:

Well, uh, there's an interesting question. So I firstly went to check whether or not, um, this would actually trigger the pod track redirect, um, so that it would actually count for the pod track ranker. And the answer is yes. Yes it does. So the second thing is I asked pod track and pod track say, Well, we have been aware of this sort of thing. We decided not to filter these downloads because they're consistent with the latest IAB guidelines. , and they also go on to say that they don't have a material impact on the publisher rankings, including the rank order of the top publishers. Well, they might not have a material impact on the rankings, but I bet they have a material impact on the numbers. 6 million unique downloads per month since 2018. That's an awful lot of, um, frankly, fake podcast listens and they clearly are fake because 20 seconds worth of audio played is not a 45 minute or one hour long podcast. And you certainly wouldn't hear all of the ads. You don't even hear, um, all of the pre-roll ad, let alone everything else. So is it fraudulent? Yes. I think if I was an advertiser in these, uh, in these podcasts, I would be asking for my money back, uh, from iHeart. And, you know, uh, we haven't heard any advertisers doing that quite as yet, but, um, you can well see that that will be a thing that they wouldn't necessarily be particularly happy.

Sam Sethi:

No. Now the ad company in question is ju and um, they can't clearly only have iHeart as a client. They must have other clients who are podcasters. Um, and clearly they aren't the only agency involved. So how big do you think this might be? I mean, is it, you know, other companies, you know, ihearts being mentioned, but are they the only ones who are doing this? Or

James Cridland:

well there are three companies so far, which have been mentioned. There's iHeart, then amusingly enough, there's Bloomberg, whose podcasts have appeared in these things. But actually Bloomberg distributes and Monetizes, it shows using iHeart, so it's really just iHeart under a different brand. Um, and then there's one more, which is the New York Post. And the New York Post is completely different. Um, isn't in any rankers and monetizes through megaphone. , so, it's not just iHeart that is certainly fair. But iHeart have done, they've got a pretty rich history in terms of, uh, in terms of gaming. Some of the, uh, chance you could argue. In 2018, I discovered that iHeart Media was embedding podcasts on radio station websites, uh, which led to very significantly inflated play counts. They managed to even get pod track to launch a brand new podcast chart, which was a short form podcast chart, um, specifically so that they could be, um, in the lead of one of these, uh, of one of these, uh, charts back then. Um, so that's, they've certainly done, but they're also doing other things. They appear to have very recently added a. Um, a bunch of additional shows from iHeart's Streaker platform, um, so that, uh, they can probably measure those iHeart numbers on pod track using, uh, Streaker 2000 additional shows added, or rather 2000 additional episodes added over the last month. So iHeart does appear to be doing some strange things in terms of making sure that they are number one of that pod track, uh, chart. I think what really confuses me about it is that, um, there is another, uh, ranker, of course in the US it's a ranker that works on, um, log files rather than on prefixes. It's run by Triton. Triton is owned by iHeart Media, but iHeart Media don't use Triton to measure their own podcasts. Why is that then? Is there something going on here, um, where Triton don't necessarily want to point out that IHA isn't quite as big as they as they are. Is there a conflict here between try and measuring, uh, their numbers and, uh, finding out that, uh, quite a few of their numbers are, are just fraudulent as these ones are? Um, or, you know, is there something else going on? I find the whole thing fascinating and it's just very strange that it's iHeart number one for podcasts, which is forever doing weird and wonderful things with podcast numbers. And it's just, um, to me it's just a little bit, um, a little bit, uh, suspicious.

Sam Sethi:

Now a few people have jumped in as well. James, Uh, Rob Greenley from Lipson said not exactly the most ethical or honest practice for those selling download impressions to advertisers could be seen as fraud. Actually, this is fantasy buying. Faked downloads has been an edge case practice by some for many years, but most hosts can detect it and filter out those and fake bot downloads as well. So if it's detectable, uh, and pod tracker, choosing not to do it, are they complicit?

James Cridland:

I'm not sure that I have necessarily the answer to that. I mean, they are saying that these numbers are consistent and these downloads are consistent with the latest IAB guidelines, and so is the i b complicit. In this, um, pod tracker doing things by the letter according to the iab. Um, so pod tracks say, so is it the IAB that has basically said, Well, that's all okay then, isn't it? Um, Todd Cochran says that this is why podcast measurement platforms have to have robust fraud protection for this. We've seen it all since 2006, and blueberry, of course, runs its own prefix, um, uh, service. Um, and I think, you know, one of the difficulties here is, you know, it looks like a browser. Um, it doesn't have a unique user agent. It doesn't have the user agent of the, um, of the app because it's just a web view within the, um, the, the app itself. And so therefore it's actually, um, a little bit harder to spot. but even if you are going to spot it, you know, again, uh, they're consistent with the I IRB guidelines. Apparently it's absolutely fine if somebody plays 20 seconds worth of a, of a 45 minute podcast, but their system downloads , five minutes of it. Apparently that's a full download, um, of the 45 minutes. Um, , it's just, it's mind boggling to be honest.

Sam Sethi:

Well, Adam Curry is long held a view around this and, uh, he is sitting there rubbing his hands going, told you so, podcasters are by millions of listens with mobile ads. The podcast industrial complex, as he calls it, is crumbling. Um, of course Adam is very favored in value for value and the idea of payment through Satoshi and no advertising needed, therefore, so

James Cridland:

Yeah. Yeah. You know, I mean, I think on the other side, uh, people buy advertising because advertising works for them. It's not a charity. They're not just buying into a particular show because they like that particular show. They're buying, uh, a particular show so that people hear the adverts and people go out and buy their stuff. That's what advertising is all about. Now, advertising isn't going to work if nobody listens to the ad. And in this particular case, people are, you know, let's not be around the bush. People are being charged for. , buying advertising in a podcast that no one is listening to. , and that is clearly not going to work, uh, financially, but it's not going to work, you know, ethically for that particular advertiser, cuz that advertiser is gonna turn around and say, Well, hang on a minute. I've spent $10,000. Not one person has heard that particular ad. I'd like my $10,000 back.

Sam Sethi:

Nick Hilton said it quite interestingly. This is a very strange form of marketing, where the purpose is not to generate new listeners, something that digital marketers are usually desperate to do, but to simply game the algorithms that govern podcast discoverability. If you can add a million plays to your podcast through this weird in game mechanic, you're going to find yourself at the top of the app. And Spotify. Charles, that's a position that money can't buy or clearly is a position that money can buy cuz they've done it.

James Cridland:

Yes, to a degree, but it's not going to actually change the Apple and Spotify podcast charts, which are both based on the amount of people that follow that particular show within those apps and, um, the amount of plays within those apps that actually happen. So they're not going to appear in the top of Apple and Spotify podcast charts, but they, but, um, in terms of, uh, pod track or in terms of similar, uh, podcast prefix, uh, analytics, they will absolutely have an effect. Um, now they may not have an effect of the rank order of the top publishers as pod track tell me, but nevertheless, they're still gonna have an effect on the numbers. Um, and I think that that's an important, uh, an important side. Buying an ad in a game is absolutely fine. It's an absolutely, you know, successful thing to do. Lots of people do it. It seems to work very, very well. Um, but it's the, it's the way that the IAB guidelines have been taken advantage of here, which has really, uh, caused the issues I think.

Sam Sethi:

So in summaries, the solution that the IAB guidelines need to be updated, and what does that constitute? How long is long enough, then to qualify as a listen.

James Cridland:

I think there are two things. Firstly are prefix tools like pod track and other prefix tools which exist out there. And we'll go on and talk about other prefix tools in a little bit. But are these prefix tools not worth anything because you know, you're not actually measuring, um, anything more than a signpost to a file. But more than that, our download numbers, um, by themselves actually helpful at all. Maybe this is playing into Spotify's hands because only Spotify is actually selling on, um, actual play numbers on where people play, how long people have a listen, you know, and all of that information is only available in Spotify because it's a closed garden, because Spotify control the player as well as controlling, you know, the, the advertising and everything else in there as well. Um, so I think what worries me about this is that this is playing into the hands of those people who think that the Open Podcast ecosystem is a, is a bad idea. We should be getting rid of the open podcast ecosystem because the data is so flaky. And now we're actually seeing, um, podcast companies who are, whether they're doing this on purpose or not floating the, um, the, the theory behind those IB rules. Ending up with this bizarre situation where 20 seconds. Podcast listened to is equal to a full 45 minute podcast being downloaded, and they're charging advertising based on that. , so if we're not very careful, we'll end up with, um, Spotify and, uh, YouTube jumping in and saying, Well, we can fix all of this for you. Um, and, uh, the rest of the Open Podcast ecosystem, um, being damaged as a result.

Sam Sethi:

well, we'll have a little bit more in the show about maybe how that can be addressed. Now, moving swiftly on, um, another thing that I saw was a small little article from Omni Studio that you, uh, had in pod news. It was how many downloads per episode is good? And I thought that was quite interesting cuz uh, they've taken some data and they've updated it from last year. So this was from June, 2022. Uh, and they looked at how many downloads per episode is good. As I said, uh, in the last 30 days, it seems that if you've got 87 downloads in the first 30 days, you get into the top 50%. Some really interesting data about what categories work and which countries as well. Did you have a look at it, James?

James Cridland:

Yeah, it's, um, it's a good piece of data. Uh, I think it's from Sharon Taylor. She calls herself I all the way through, um, but never actually tells us who, who it is. Um, but I think it is, uh, Sharon's, uh, uh, data and it's, uh, it's, it's very interesting. They say that the top 1% of podcasts have 50,000 downloads, um, in the first 30 days, which seems a remarkably round number. Uh, the top 2%, um, has, uh, 21,334. Interesting also to compare them with our sponsor Buzz Sprout, cuz Buzz Sprout published the same numbers, uh, as well. Um, in this case for the first seven days rather than for the first 30 days. You'll find those at buzz sprout.com/global. Underscore stats. And I think what what's always fascinating here is seeing how those numbers differ. Buzz sprout's numbers are rather a lot smaller. But that may be because Omni Studio is an, is an enterprise podcast host, you pay an awful lot of money to be in there. Um, and typically you have very large podcast publishers in there. And also, secondly of course, Buzz Pprs numbers. Um, May be slightly skewed by the fact that they have a free, uh, tier, uh, in there as well. So people are, you know, jumping in, but maybe not, uh, promoting them as, uh, hard as you would if you want to get your money back.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah. Um, again, look, it's all about downloads, right? So. . You can see why, you know, companies like iHeart Media want their download numbers to be higher, puts them in different brackets for advertisers. Um, is there a way that the industry should, I I, I'm being very naive here because again, I've asked this question before and I'm, I'm sure you've told me no is the answer, but should we move to a, uh, non download model? I mean, Spotify is a non download model. I say it's streaming, and then everyone goes, No, it's not actually streaming. And then I go, I don't understand, but I go, Okay, and nod my head profusely. Um, but in.

James Cridland:

So the difference between Spotify and, and any other podcast, um, platform out there is that Spotify both sell advertising but also is in control of the podcast platform itself and is a large podcast platform. So they can actually see when somebody presses the play button, when somebody skips, when somebody stops. Um, which you can't necessarily see on, uh, on, uh, other platforms. Apple Podcasts gives you some of that information, but obviously Apple aren't actually selling, you know, any advertising. Um, So Spotify's a bit different now. There was an attempt three or four years ago from NPR to do exactly that to build something that they called rad. Um, can't quite remember what Rad stood for, but it was, um, basically a way of signaling back from any podcast app when someone pressed play, when someone paused it, when someone skipped, um, so that you would actually have playback statistics, um, back to any podcast host. And that was a good piece of open data, which the privacy brigade, uh, jumped up and down at and, and were terribly upset about. From the other side, It was very difficult to actually get any podcast apps to support that because they saw that as spying on their audience. Um, but, you know, Rad would've done exactly the same, uh, thing. But I think after a year's worth of quite bruising conversations, um, that, um, N NPR were having with, uh, other people, they kind of gave it up as a bad idea and nobody else has touched it because of that whole, you know, experience. Maybe this might bring that idea back again. Um, you know, who knows?

Sam Sethi:

Now let's move on to some other stories. Um, I've been fascinated by a company called Dymo based outta Denmark for a while now. Every time I see a story on pod news, I go, I don't know these guys. I don't know what they do. It's not on my radar. And yet they've raised recently 58.6 million euros, which in current currency is pr practically 58.6 million cuz it's pound for pound in Euro for Euro nearly. but they all

James Cridland:

By the way,

Sam Sethi:

Yes. Um, and they ly raised more than $116 million. These numbers are massive in any startup that's only three years old. Um, what do you think of potty ma? I mean, you've written about them a few times in the past, James.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think they're really interesting. I mean, they've, they've been, uh, acquiring a lot of stuff. Um, they acquired the largest podcast publisher in the Netherlands, for example, DAG and na, which has over, uh, 60 shows. Um, and they acquired them, uh, back in March, uh, in August. They launched in Finland, uh, with a number of exclusive shows in there as well. You know, they do seem to be doing, um, really well, and they've not been going for particularly long, uh, as well. So you ended up having a chat, um, with their, uh, ceo, didn't you?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I thought I'd reach out to Morton, uh, Morton stronger and ask him a, who are mode be, how have they raised all this money and, and see what's their strategy going forward.

Morten:

I think there's two fundamental things that we're really betting big on and investing into. One is that, uh, we have the benefit of having. A pure focus on podcasting as the only thing. Um, which means that if you look at our app and the product experience, we're able to build around podcasting and spoken word auto, it just serves a different way of discovering content, engaging with content and so forth. So having this vertical focus, as we call it, from, from a product and tech perspective, really allows us to build out a different experience and unique experience. And then on the other side, it's our investment into the creator community. So, We do invest heavily into being a part of the greater community and helping create us and monetize through our version, which is subscription. And that really benefits the greater communities and a lot of new creators outside audio. Also beginning to create audio content as well, which again, benefits our users and drives a lot of user growth to our platform. So it, it's the ecosystem on one side, having to focus on subscription as we do. And then on the other side, it is very much the product focus, which is what we're driving. I mean, that's quite a strong bet. Local first subscription based. Was that your pitch to the investors? We're gonna do Ying while everyone's going Yang, we're gonna go to this totally new unfettered space where there's no competition and we're gonna go into this market, Own it before anyone else comes and joins. I have a background in subscription, so I am a firm believer that like in. Content industry, there will be a mix of subscription and advertising based models. Not that we don't believe in advertising, we believe strongly in advertising and it will be a very significant part of podcasting in the future as well. But we do feel that there is lacking, or what's lacking subscription version as well, which some creators benefit from. And some creators benefit from advertising. Right. So it has been a core part of our pitch since we launched and. Obviously when we launched there was a lot of people saying, Well, no one will ever pay for podcasting, and what are you doing? And some people are still saying that, but I think we're proving them wrong and the people are willing to pay for podcasting. It's a great content that listeners invest an enormous amount of time in enjoying and that also. In my world equals uh, potentially a willingness to pay, uh, instead of it being at advertising based solely. So we are growing, as you said, and I think that is the, the core proof of this. Definitely an, an appetite from the listener side to have more content, friction free content, and enjoy it in an app that's tailored solely for podcasting and for spoken mode Audio. So what's the average price of the subscription that you're seeing at the moment, and has that gone up over the years that you've been doing it? We haven't raised prices pretty, it's, it varies a little bit market to market, but in average, I think around five Euros our listeners to pay on a monthly basis. It varies a little bit depending on the market and so forth. The interesting thing is, as you mentioned, we also just raced. So a lot of investors have obviously asked the question, What will recession do to your business? And so far we see the lowest churn we've ever had so that that the users that, that decide to quit the subscription and leave is the lowest we've seen. And we also have some of the best. Uh, C levels, which is how much does it cost to acquire a new user for us? So we don't have any things pointed toward that recession will hit us. Let's see what the future brings. But I think having the exclusive content we have and having listeners spend around 20 hours on our service per month just creates so much value that listeners keep on paying for it. So two questions that I'd like to lead into. One is, , you support the local content creator. How does that happen? Do they come to you? Do you go to them? How do you decide on what you're gonna go and what category? Is it thriller? Is it, you know, news? So trying to understand what your content base is really. Yeah, so every week we publish around 300 new episodes on Parma across the markets we're in, and it varies from market, what kind of genre it we focus in on, but a lot of entertainment obviously, but also true crime documentary. We also have invested quite a bit into fiction content, for example. There's a lot of content types that we spend an enormous amount of time on. If you turn onto tv, open a book where you haven't found that in podcasting or short for audio, which we pick believers will also. Have the place in a short form world. So, but typically a lot of entertaining content, but also content that you can learn from. So content you can relax to and have a laugh to, but also content that will make you question and self development and so forth. Typically we have, um, we license content where we pay for it upfront. So if you, for example, have fiction, then. It might take six months to write a fiction show. So, so we then fund those offers journalists in those six months and onwards after launch to, to create content. So, so a lot of the content we have is license content where we pay a fixed fee, uh, which makes it a photo for people to also spend time on creating the content. And then we also have some creators that already have, uh, a show and they have, uh, uh, recording, uh, capabilities and, and so forth editing bilities. So they. They simply just, uh, upload the content to our platform and then they monetize through subscription through our platform. So we also have the rev shares, we call it, where you get 50% of the revenue generated depending on how much you're listened to, But it's a user-centric revenue share we call it. So that means if a user only listens to your show, then you get all of that user's revenue is not like, In the music industry where Beyonce, she takes the bulk of the money, even though you might not even be listening to her as a subscriber. Right now, you've grown out of Denmark into multiple other markets. You've expanded out into the Netherlands recently. What other markets you're in and what markets are you planning to go in? One of the things I noticed on the investment acquisition was the market expansion was one of the key requirements. So what markets might you be going into next? I think that what we see is that we, every time we launch a market, it's definitely an side for subscription, both from creators, but also from from the listener side, right? So, so we really feel that there's a global potential for our service, like Body Mo. Um, and that also means that we are aggressive in our rollout strategy. So far we're in Denmark. We launched, uh, a month ago in Finland. We're in Norway. We're in Germany, we're in Spain, we're in the Netherlands, as you mentioned as well, and also in Mexico. So I think the next 12 months we have four or five market launches. Most of them are European, also some of the bigger European markets. So I don't think we announce exactly which markets for competitive reasons, but I guess if I say European and some of the bigger ones, then there's not a lot to choose between less in terms of why we're not already in May I just say we, we look forward to you in France now, apart from. Podcasting's, one of the things you've done is gone into audiobooks as well. Spotify last week announced that they've gone into audiobooks. First of all, given that you've been doing it for a while, how do you find users? Are they 50 50, you know, audiobooks and podcasts? Is it 80, 20? What's the split in terms of listening? Cuz you've got good data and experience in doing. Yeah, I think audiobooks is a core part of our offering, but it's definitely the majority of listening and value is through podcasting and short format. That's our focus and where we're born and where we really can re make a difference. I think that the interesting thing with audiobooks is that it can drive more engagement, so audiobooks can serve a different need for the user that if you also unlock that and start. Listening to audiobooks, then you get even more value out of PMO and you stay for longer, and which is great for everybody in the ecosystem. I think some of the interesting things we're rolling out over the next couple of months is our new recommendation and towards audiobooks so that, for example, if I listen to a podcast history show about some historical event, Then I'm also recommended books that dive deeper into that topic and vice versa. Right? So I think both for podcasters but also for office, that we can begin to cross promote the two formats to really help the users. And that by help the creators to unfold that content and get out to new audiences makes a lot of difference, right? So that's some of the things that we believe will add significant value, not just having the content, but actually having the content, uh, recommended in the right way at the right point of time to really unfold it in a. Now, are the audio books part of the standard subscription or they like Spotify an additional payment beyond the subscription? Yeah, so we have 10 hours of audiobook listening in our standard subscription. And then if you want to go unlimited, then you pay, uh, an extra month for fee to have Unlimit Unlimited listening. Uh, so we don't have a LA card, uh, solution like, like Spotify have have launched recently, so all you can eat, but the loads here is only 10 hours. And, and then the, the high tier is, uh, is unlimit. Now there's two other trends going on in the market. Apparently YouTube seemed to be knocking on the door of podcasting. What I've seen so far is pretty poor. Would you consider moving into a video based content offering for pot mode? It's an interesting question. We actually have been testing it the last like four or five months where we've done professionally produced video versions of some of our shows, but we've done it on our platform so that you can, as a listener, you can enjoy the video version of the. And go full screen and watch it. I think the power of the medium of audio is that you can integrate it while you're doing something else, right? While far run and so forth. So I'm a big believer in audio and there's so much growth still to be grabbed in that. But I do also believe that video can. A different layer to the experience if it's used in the right way. I think it depends very much on the format and the creator and and so forth. But for some shows they get stronger by also having video and creates a, an even more unique experience from a listener perspective or viewer perspective. So it is actually something that we already are testing, but. Numbers so far are pretty good in terms of users watching video and streaming the video and so forth. So I think that video will be part of the core experience, but it's not gonna take over. I think it will be an add-on and extension rather than something that will take over in the future. But definitely I do believe in video and I think it just helps extend the full experience at potential of a creator by also having that as an option. I agree. Now, one of the other things I read in the investment doc was you are looking at technology and product as a part of the investment. What's the technology that you might be looking at? For example, I'm very keen on value for value cryptocurrencies. Satoshi as a payment system. Are you looking at that so you're not paying gateway fees to, I don't know, PayPal, stripe, or whoever or what? What's the tech that you might be looking at? We're not looking to be honest much in that direction yet. You won't rule out that something will also. And it will be a big part of the future. Part if, for us, it's more geared towards how can we help creators to get even closer to their users. I think the unique thing is that we own the, the, the demand. So to say that users, they browse around in an app that we've built, and if we can build more, uh, ways for creators and users to get closer to each other, that makes a ton of sense. And then we invest a lot into, to the whole discovery and unfolding. One of the things that we're seeing really good traction on now is actually audio recommendations. So instead of just having. A normal text recommendation or a popup in depth, then you actually get a personalized audio recommendation as part of the experience, which has really high engagement and high head rate for users that find that valuable and listen to more content because of that. So I think that would be a lot of more investments going towards really discovery and unfolding content, but also, Figuring out if we can add a different layer to the content, can we add a deeper layer than just the flat audio experience? Because we benefit from actually owning the, the tech side of, and the product side of the experience as well. Yeah, you could add into anything you wished to make the experience better. Um, where's the exit more? Where's the exit? Uh, are you oing? Are you. Uh, being acquired. When you form a company, one of those things that you look at is, you know, five years down the track or whatever the timeframe may be. Do you have anything in mind? You may have it, you may not wanna tell us, but in your own mind and with your co-founders, have you thought about what you might wanna do? Yeah, but I think I have, I've tried founding a couple of companies prior to Part and why Party Mode is so different and why it's something that I want to take all the way is that it's a great group of people and the team is amazing to work with, but we're also creating content that makes a difference, right. We're creating content that, and we help fund creators to be able to invest the time in creating great content that hits the front pages of newspapers. Content you can learn from that can make you ask questions. And personally, if you see what happens in terms of the growing, uh, amount of people that have social media as the main news source, right? I think that we can really make a difference in terms of helping, uh, creators and users to, to, uh, enjoy content that. They can laugh to, but also content that will make them ask the right questions and which I think is very powerful and very meaningful. So, uh, in terms of exit, I focus very much on building a global company and a company that is, is making a difference not just for creators, but for users and for society. And then I'm sure that will be plenty of exit paths in the future, preferably ipo, where we can stand on our own legs with what we would be, what we look towards. But for now we're focusing on building an amazing company and. Then we'll take the exit question once and we get way further down the line.

James Cridland:

Martin Stronger from pmo. Fascinating stuff. Uh, I think, uh, there's a lot of talk in the US about subscription based shows, and for me, you know, the best thing that the US could do is to actually have a look at how other countries are doing it. Um, and that goes for quite a lot of things, but particularly around, um, you know, podcasting and a, a subscription based, uh, show. So really, really interesting. So thank you for that.

Sam Sethi:

They are certainly expanding into four more European countries, um, who couldn't obviously tell me which ones. Um, but you can certainly guess, um, they are going great guns and, um, they're holding their nerve by being subscription based only, uh, which is quite interesting. The other one that I thought was interesting is cuz they do audio books. They've worked out what the average user in terms of audio books is going to listen to in a month. And unlike Spotify, they're not charging individually extra on top of their base subscription for additional audio books. They include that within the pricing thing.

James Cridland:

Mm mm No, it's a, it's a really interesting, uh, company and it's been, you know, going, going for a number of years. It would be interesting to, uh, see how they end up, uh, growing. And I think, you know, fascinating that they've been focusing very much on non-English speaking countries and I wonder whether the four that they are expanding into, uh, I wonder whether one of those is likely to be the UK or Ireland, because that, um, I think there will find, uh, things that are a little bit different in the, in, in those countries.

Sam Sethi:

I, I would probably push back on that one, James. I wouldn't want to, if I was Morton coming to an English speaking language market because I don't think that's their differentiator. I think they would then be coming up against many competitors. I think they're going to markets where they have fewer competitors and they can gain a market share faster. That may be just my interpretation, but so I, I we'll see of what the four

James Cridland:

No, I think

Sam Sethi:

but I'm, I'm guessing that it won't be the UK and Ireland. Now, another company you wrote about was called 30th Studio. Um, they're, they are in Sweden and they make subscription based content as well. They claim to have more than 20,000 subscribers paying, uh, $5 per month. Um, and they've recently got a $1 million worth of investment. This sounds very much like pmo. Um,

James Cridland:

Yeah. Doesn't

Sam Sethi:

spoken or heard of third year at all? James?

James Cridland:

I was last in, uh, Sweden in 2019. I don't remember them being a big thing back then. Um, but uh, yeah, I mean, it does look as if, you know, that's the sort of thing that Poddy MO would be interested in, or indeed Pod X, which is the other, um, strange old company coming out of the Scandic countries, um, which is, uh, a company which is investing in podcast ip, um, and, uh, going out and reselling that, um, which seems to have some very big backers, you know, as well. So, um, who knows, maybe that's, um, going to, maybe they are setting themselves up third year studio as a, as an acquisition target.

Sam Sethi:

Good luck to them. That's all I'll say. Good luck to them now. Uh, a couple of weeks ago we, or last week even, we talked about this new, uh, platform that John Spurlock has been developing called P three, the Open Podcast Prefix Project. Um, and it's again, looking at prefix analytics, which seems to be the hot topic this week. Uh, it's committed to open data and listen to privacy. Um, I don't really understand this space, I have to say you explained it very well last week. Um, but I thought I'll go to the horse's mouth. Sorry, John shouldn't call you a horse. Um, and I thought I'd ask John more about it.

John Spurlock:

Basically, it is a prefix service, just like other podcast services that track downloads. This is something that has been pretty standard for large shows, at least over the last few years. Independent verification of downloads, and that can be useful for business arrangements if a show wants to be acquired. Or sell advertising or I've just compared to other shows in an independent way, a third party to verify these sorts of things is actually very useful. The podcast hosting companies do a really good job. Most of them do a really good job of stats themselves, but comparing host to host, you know, comparing shows between hosts can be difficult cuz even if they have the same certifi. A lot of these certifications are not as exact as you would think, so they leave a lot up to the implementation. So even comparing shows across host is difficult. So what I did with O P three, which is the new service that I've been working on, is it basically is the same idea as those services, except that it is open. in the sense that the data that comes out the other end, the safe listener data that's stored is actually available to anyone to innovate on top of. And the reason that, that's interesting, it's not some sort of altruistic, you know, like let's just make everything open. I think if you look at where podcasting is now and look at what hosting companies provide now, they have a lot of features that they love to get to, and they all have stats now that they kind of offer. This used to be something. Hosting companies could use as a differentiation. You could say, Hey, I have stats. This makes my hosting company better than the other. But now it's almost, I hate the term, but it's table stakes. It's something that like you expect any host to have. And so if all hosts are doing stats calculations and it's not trivial, it's actually quite difficult to do this. Well, they're all doing it. Dozens of hosts. It's sort of a shame. And so the idea is what if we had. Clearinghouse where we could, you know, kind of specialize the concern and make stats. I don't know, a common building block that any host, new host could build on top of and really trust the numbers that are coming out of it because it's coming from an independent place. Right. That's the idea anyways. So I don't know if that makes sense, but that's sort of the idea. The reason I'm doing it myself is that, again, it's not corporate backed. Uh, I'm not getting paid for this necessarily. I am asking for sponsorships, but it's basically something where the quality of the data is what's most important. So I do some posts about new episodes, so a podcast that release new episodes and where they're coming from and what they're using, that sort of thing. That's one source of data, but it'd be interesting to know. How popular some of these shows are, where the downloads are. That's kind of a whole nother dimension on it. So I'm coming more from the data aspect. I love data. I love crunching the numbers, and I think data's actually really interesting. If you are a podcaster, you can glean all sorts of interesting statistics based off off your show and potentially use it to tailor your content and again, do business arrangements, that sort of thing. Also, as a listener, I'm very committed to privacy. There's many ways that these services can go off the rails and, I don't know, be incentivized to mix the incoming data with other databases and things like that. But as a listener, I think for, for basic, Download information for basic summary information. You don't need to do that. You don't need to know, Hey, one of your listeners was sad on Thursday. You know, that's not something that is needed to know. Kind of high level stats about the show. So this service is something that is it. It Basically, there's this concept of minimization in GDPR where it's like you only capture the attributes that you need. Um, and sort of that's the model that we're using for this service here. We actually throw away most of the requests that we get at the moment and, and we have a few privacy policies up there now, but the intention is to. Have enough documentation that people can actually see what we're doing with the data. So where do you get your data from? Is that from the open RSS community, or are you reliant on hosts to implement it first so that you can access their content? So this, a prefix is something that the podcaster has to opt into. So they have to choose, Hey, I wanna enable this for my show. And the reason they're called prefix is, is because it's basically a. Uh, hdp, you know, my domain prefix that you put in front of all of your episodes. So when the app goes to download the episode, they hit my server first, and then I redirect them over to the real content. And again, there's services like Pod Track and Charitable that do this already. There's some shows that have four or five of these prefixes, so when you download, you're actually ping ponging through five or six different servers. But it ba it basically gives you an idea of where the requests are coming from. Each one of those services gets the same information. It can be independently verified. So basically what I'm asking with this service is, uh, even though it's very early, it is, is very stable. So it's kind of something that is ready to go from a data ingestion point of view. So I'm really looking to get sample shows that are kind of larger than your average show. We do have one whale of a show on there right now, and that was great for testing out the, the infrastructure. But if you have a large show and, and think something like this. Important to kind of the future podcasting. Get in touch cuz I would love to have larger shows actually send some of their data in. It just helps prove out the entire thing. Again, we can't offer much right now, the roadmap is on our site, but right now we, we make the data available over a kind of a basic api, but in the future we're gonna do, you know, the, uh, standard download calculations. We're gonna filter out duplicates. Bad traffic and that sort of thing. And then eventually provide charts and widgets so that people can do comparisons and that sort of thing. Great. So James has already implemented at Pod News, and I know Justin's already implemented at Transistor fm. Has anyone else that you know of implemented it already? as far as hosting companies go, I've had some conversations, some hosting companies actually don't do integrations as nice as the, uh, transistor one where it's just a checkbox. The process, even for the existing brief fixes for a lot of these hosting companies is just to email them and then they will kind of verify that it works on the backend. And so right now, pretty much any host you can email and they will do that for. I know I've seen some megaphone shows come through and I've seen some, like you said, transistor and some Buzz Sprout shows come through, but I, I know we are working with the shows that do provide those check boxes to make sure P3 is, is one of the options. Now, one of the things that you announced this week was something I just didn't understand at all, so I'm glad you're here to explain it. The Open Podcast analytics prefix service, aka o P three, has now. Trailing world cards to its api and I was like, Whoa, I'm way above my paycheck here. Now I have no idea what you're talking about, so please, can you explain that in English? Yeah, so it's a very technical thing. It's basically something. To enhance the current api. The current api, you can say what are the stats for a particular episode url. So you can give it one link to your episode and we'll give you the requests that we see for that. Some shows vary those URLs, so depending on who hits the RSS feed, that URL could actually change a bit. Maybe they have additional query per. So it's basically just a way to say, Give me information on several URLs with the same prefix so that I'll start with the same characters. Does that make sense? So that way you can kind of see the requests at a larger level. Now this is a stop gap. The next thing on my plate, actually, if you look at the roadmap, is to do this on the back end. Automatically roll up to shows and episodes. We wanna be able to say, Hey, we received a request. Identify this show, the public show and the public episode. That's job one because we can't do any. Show based, you know, shows or, or download summaries without it. So this is, that release last week was just kind of a stop gap. Okay. I know that Dave Jones from the Podcast Index is working on some visualization tools based around what you've done and that there's a open GitHub available and I'll put in the show notes where people can see other apps that are beginning to use the data as well. I know James is very heavily involved in that. One of the things we talked about briefly off air before we came on was the Ashley Carmen breaking news this week about iHeartRadio paying for ads within games, which inflated their numbers. Is there anything that could have been done using O P three, for example, that would've helped mitigate this? Yeah, this is an interesting story. I think I saw a lot of high takes on this yesterday. But I think it's actually a little more complex than a lot of the stories that I've seen so far. Anyone that's been involved in digital marketing knows that marketing is paying for traffic. It's paying to get your product in front of someone else. And a lot of times these days, that's in a digital form. And so there's all sorts of clever and crazy ways of getting your, your podcast in front of viewers that wouldn't have otherwise seen it. And so that's one way to look at apps like this, is that it's a venue. It's kind of like a banner ad. For a podcast, you have to listen to the content a bit. So it's a way to have people try the ad man in something like this you, I would be interested in retention. So of the thousand listeners that are forced to listen to 20 seconds of a podcast, I don't think the retention is zero. I'm sure some of those folks subscribe to the show. It's probably much lower than your standard placement anywhere else. And so that's where I think the distinction should be made. I think especially for advertising, it's probably worth paying for some of that traffic, but you almost wanna spend a different CPM on it. So I think for a service like O P three, ideally we'd be able to identify this so-called rewarded traffic, which I love that term rewarded. It's something that we should be able to identify and include. Or not in the download calculations. So basically be transparent about where the traffic is coming from. So for a given show, you could be able to say, Give me the standard download calculation and we'll make a decision on whether or not to include these. But then you'll be able to further slice and dice it and say, Okay, now include rewarded traffic, or how much of the show came from this rewarded traffic? How much of it came through VPNs? One of the things that's sort of similar to the, the automated problem is a VPN problem. Many more people are using VPNs these days, and what that means is that some of the filters that the industry has been using to filter out some of these downloads are now partially made up of legitimate traffic. So it's not as simple as just what you know, throwing out all ips that are coming from Amazon Web services. There's a lot of these VPNs that are hosted on Amazon Web Services. I think o P three, what we're gonna do is basically tag traffic so that you could say, Hey, this came from a cloud service. This came from, you know, this marketing venue, or this came from a, a legitimate app. And then people can make their own decision and we'll make a, a single decision by default, but you should be able to slice and dice the data as these things change. It's a very dynamic ecosystem. Hmm. I mean, I, I guess when I look at what Ashley wrote about, and you are looking at something that is highly desirable, the gamer wants to get to the game, so they're prepared to wait out the 20 seconds that they have to within the ad. You can't skip it. I don't know if it's a good thing having this type of. Content for marketing purposes to just inflate your numbers. What do you think? Again, I do think it does inflate the numbers to an extent. Like let's say you did a ad deal prior to using one of these services and you agreed on a certain cpm. Then once the ad deal was reached, then you start using one of these services. That's problematic because now the traffic that you're getting is kind of of a different flavor than it was before. Mm-hmm. . This is just my opinion. Yeah. So you would've negotiated a different rate had you knew that this. Where most of your listeners are coming from. And so the fact that it's not disclosed maybe is something that's problematic. But if you're a listener, if you're a podcaster that has no ads in your, in your content, you just wanna get in front of people and this is a nice, easy way to do it while you're sleeping, I think that's fine. You know, I don't, I don't think it's, it's just like any other digital marketing channel. If you're an app, you know, we've made apps for 20 years. If you're an app right now, you have to pay the app stores quite a. To get your, even your search results in front of your users. So this is something that's not kind of new to any sort of digital marketing sphere. And I know even the new podcast 2.0 apps, there's a few apps that will pay listeners, right? They'll pay you to listen to podcasts. It's sort of similar. It's something maybe they would not have done had they not had a, just a little bit of an incentive. And again, I don't think it's necessarily high quality traffic. I think for every thousand listener you're gonna get maybe one that signs up. But to call it cheating, I think is a little bit simplistic. It is something, I'm really glad that it's out there because I don't think a lot of people knew about it and only us, like work in the internet, uh, infrastructure world kind of knew about it. But I think it's, it's nice to have it transparent and that's something P three will do is it will show you, hey, this is, you know, kind of categorized traffic. Will, Will the other, I suppose I call it the dirty secret of podcasting, which is downloads with ads baked into them, which then are never heard, but they are paid for. So the third ad within a podcast that isn't heard because of people only listen to 60% of the podcast before they fade off. Mm-hmm. . But that ad has had to be paid for cause it's download. Should we? Remove the whole download model now, because isn't it just a legacy of, I don't know, I suppose 3G and poor data communication lines, I mean, you and I wouldn't download our Netflix film before we watched it today because of good communication networks. Can't we just stream podcasts and therefore bypass this hold downloaded? Shoot. That's a big question. I think even me, so I have fiber at home. I download, I pre-download, and there's certain reasons for that. If I'm going out for a walk or if I'm leaving the house, it is nice. There's some sense that podcasts are short enough that they download sort of transparently in the background. It's nice to have that content no matter if the power goes out, whatever happens. Mm-hmm. . So just from a. Uh, even, even Spotify does this. So they will, uh, for the pasts, they will actually download instead of stream a lot of their content. Now, things like YouTube and, and, and Netflix don't, but there's also a technical aspect on the back end. So there's dozens of these podcast hosts now, and they're all built around the concept of downloading. There's a lot more communication, more tight communication that's necessary between listener and backend if you wanna stream. And so getting all of them to upgrade to another standard. It's not impossible, , but from what I can tell, it would be a, a very difficult challenge. I think honestly, there's very little difference. If you look at the kind of backup, a lot of apps basically download on demand, which is, I don't know, you could call it streaming already. The only thing you lose is the delivery aspect. So the delivery, like you said, if an ad was actually listened, . But even if it's street, I think the really, the listener app only knows that aspect of things. So until we get some sort of standard that listener apps provide that data back, which I'm not holding my breath for, but it would be nice, you're gonna be basically always just have to factor it in. So I've had a bunch of conversations after launching this P three service, and it seems like that most advertisers are fine with the download model because they know, I mean, they're, they're aware of this as well and they know that a certain percentage. Even though they say it was delivered are not actually listened to and they just factor that into their model and they apply some sort of blanket percent and that seems to be fine. Obviously they probably like it even more micromanage and controlled. That seems fine for now, but we'll see if, we'll see how it. Goes forward in the future. I think given how distributed podcast hosts are and podcast listening apps are, it's gonna be very difficult to organize around a single standard. I know NPR tried to do something exactly like this several years ago now, and they just had a real uphill battle and even their. Shows did not use it, but it's, uh, it's a very difficult problem. Yeah. James says the same thing. He says that, you know, the industry's factored in for downloads not being listened to, or, or, you know, for example, Apple will continue to download podcasts that are not even heard, let alone started. And yet those numbers are factored into the download model. John, thank you so much for building o P three and now explaining what O P three is and delivering it as an open standard across the industry. Can you tell everyone if they wanna find out more about it, where best to go and look? Yeah, absolutely. It's just o p three.dev. So dev like development. And, uh, really I'm looking for two things. Like I said before, large shows would be great to get on board early and then also sponsorship cuz this is not a free service to host. So there's a lot of data. This needs to be up 100% of the time. It needs to serve requests coming from all over the world quickly. So there will be ongoing operational costs. So I do have a sponsorship there if you click on the sponsor link for people to basically indicate that. Love the idea of a, an auditable open service like this, and it's just a way to indicate that it's worth spending time on. So I'd encourage everyone to take a look at that. And then also, if you're a podcaster, to add the prefix, it's free. You don't need to sign up for anything. It's fairly simple. Um, if your host supports it, or even if they don't, you can email, like I said before. So really excited to get this out there and have host be able to worry about other features other than stats going.

James Cridland:

John Spurlock, from the Open Podcast prefix project, and indeed many other, uh, things, uh, as well. He's been doing some really fascinating data and some really, really good work. So, uh, great to hear him on the Pod Land podcast again, And we should be very clear, they are not producing analytics yet. They are producing logs of the amount of redirects that they are getting. That is not a download. Uh, even, even though, uh, some people are busy working on, uh, tools that, um, show this data in a little bit of a better way. Um, uh, none of these are actually pointing to what downloads are yet because they haven't been filtered properly yet. Um, but it'll be really interesting once that happens.

Sam Sethi:

I'll put a link in the show notes to the, um, tools that are currently available, , now James, one of the things that John talked about was exactly what you said a few minutes ago, that unless we fix this problem in the open ecosystem, Spotify has the competitive advantage by having the closed system knowing everything that's going on. , he did think that O P three could be a way of, uh, overcoming that problem, but I hadn't heard of RAD until you mentioned it. Is O P three basically a new version of Rad?

James Cridland:

No. So I mean, O P three is basically just an open way of looking at podcast download data and being able to actually see that in public. Uh, and I think that the exciting thing here is that it does allow anyone who wants to, to be able to have a look at data from a wide variety of different podcast. Publishers. Um, and so that's gonna be useful for academics that want to know, you know, Spotify or Apple who's bigger. Um, it'll also be useful for a variety of other things as well. In fact, one of the pieces of work that John, um, is working on at the moment is what other data he actually has from a particular download. What can you then pull out of that? So one example, for example, might be when someone downloads a podcast and you're probably thinking, Well, I already know all of that information. Well, actually, yes, you do, but you probably don't because actually what you know is, um, the, the time, um, that somebody downloaded a podcast according to server logs. But, um, the time here, for example, is 4 46 in the afternoon. The time with you, uh, is rather a lot earlier in the morning. , and so actually knowing that somebody's local time, for example, that. A privacy invading thing at all. But it does enable me to understand what time you are listening to a podcast. Um, and that is quite useful. Um, so, you know, a bunch of this additional data will be really helpful. Um, but this isn't a replacement to, um, any, um, player stats. This is still very much based on the download on the file request, , but, uh, the data that we get out of it is I think, gonna be really, really useful.

Sam Sethi:

We'll keep an eye on the Open Podcast prefix project, and if you want to keep an eye on it too, you can go to o p three.dev. And John's kindly put a roadmap of what's gonna come down the road for him. Now, moving on, um, it seems there's a lot of other companies in the industry who are looking at providing different real time and measurement tools. One of those is the a tech company Gumball, which has announced a new product called Gum Shoe. Uh, it's a realtime tool to measure ad impressions from Host Red podcast ads, Tommy Moore, James.

James Cridland:

Yeah, so, um, obviously podcast advertising, um, normally is a 32nd spot. You've probably already heard one. Thanks to Buzz Sprout ads. Um, it's a prerecorded thing that goes into a podcast and that's all fine, and they're quite easy to measure. When you have a look at Host Red Podcast ads, me just whittering on about squad and how good it is and how good version five is and blah, blah. um, that is much harder to spot because you can't measure that in terms of where the ad ran. Uh, you have to do rather a lot more hard work, and that's what Gum Shoe is all about. So it's there to measure, um, those ad impressions from Host Red podcast ads. It allows all kinds of things including booking tools and audience demographics and everything else. And it's something that actually hasn't really existed in this industry before now, is a set of tools that are having a listen to individual shows to work out where the host red ads are. Um, so it's a very clever piece of, uh, tech and it's good to see, uh, Gumball gum, shoe head gum, uh, working on that particular.

Sam Sethi:

Other companies are doing other interesting things. Uh, podcast analytics platform and Magellan AI has announced a new attribution tool. The service enables insights into campaign performance, pacing, and success within the Magellan AI dashboard. Um, again, I am totally blinded by this area. This is probably Brian and your area more than mine. But what is this one about, James?

James Cridland:

I was impressed that you called them Magellan. I, I called them Magellan for the first year and it turns out that I'm too British, uh, and that they really are called Magellan ai. Um, they're also sponsoring pod news this month as the title sponsor, so thank you to them for that. Um, so this is an attribution tool, so it's, uh, it essentially allows you to know that the person who heard that ad then went on and bought that product or visited that website. So, um, that's a, uh, something that, um, pod sites offers that charitable have, have offered that Magella and AI are also now offering as well. Um, and there's a bunch of, uh, additional data that they've got in there too. So that's a good piece of, um, additional tech, again, helping advertisers understand what people are having a listen to in particular podcast.

Sam Sethi:

Another company that I want you to help me try and understand who've announced something new is Pod Scribe. They've announced a third party impression and verification tool. The prefix service offers placement, verification, automation and brand safety. Okay, Unpack that for me, James, cuz that doesn't mean anything to me at all.

James Cridland:

Well, so impression verification is basically instead of, uh, instead of just trusting that somebody actually put the ad where they said that they put the ad, um, that that's fine, but actually, you know, a trust, as we've seen from earlier stories, trust isn't always a good plan. Um, so instead, um, pod scribe has launched a tool which, um, allows that, um, add impression to be measured, uh, automatically. Um, what it also allows you to do is, um, it allows you to, uh, know how many of those shows, you know, have actually run, uh, with your ads in there. And also the brand safety stuff is something that advertisers are very, very keen in looking into. Um, so making sure that they are not being associated with the types of content that, that an advertiser doesn't necessarily want to be involved with. If you are a, a kid's brand, then you, you don't wanna be advertising next to salty adult content and so on and so forth. So, Yeah, so there's a bunch of, uh, those tools, uh, existing and pod scribe is certainly one of those. And it's, uh, you know, again, another, another impression and verification tool. And I think, you know, with all three of these, um, you are seeing that there's a real, uh, requirement in the industry at the moment for just getting a bit more reliable figures, uh, out there in terms of, uh, numbers.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I agree with that totally. Now the last one I wanted to talk to you about in this section was a podcast information tool called podcast that has released a number of updates to its dashboard to access Apple and Spotify ratings and improved chart ranking panel and an integrated prefix tools. The company claims the fastest prefix redirect in the industry. And I don't even know if that's a good claim, but, um, and why that would be a good claim. So tell me why, why or what is podcast?

James Cridland:

They've got a bunch of, uh, of things. One of the things that they're doing is pulling out, um, Apple and Spotify ratings, which is, uh, a lovely thing. There are a bunch of companies doing that. Charitable, of course, also does that, uh, sort of thing, and that's fine. Um, this fastest prefix redirect. I love the way that, um, the research, uh, has actually been, um, uh, shown on their website, which is, we don't even know whether this is actually very important and it probably isn't particularly important. Um, And then, uh, Joel, who, um, uh, who wrote the post says, You know, I mean, it matters a little bit in my opinion, but it may not matter that much. The prefix, um, speed, which is only really important if you are pressing that play button and your podcast app is going off and downloading the audio instantly. Um, podcast is much, much faster than the other three that they checked. Now. He hasn't checked P three yet. It'll be interesting to see if he does check P three. My suspicion is that O P three will be just as fast as podcast because of the way that P three is built. But anyway, we'll, we'll, um, I'm sure find out about that. . But, uh, yeah, it's not, not not that important, but, uh, you know, speed is important for other things online, and speed certainly is one of the reasons that, uh, the pod news website looks. Uh, as it does. It's supposed to be very, very quick, uh, for you to, um, to, uh, download and use. And so, uh, you know, that's a good thing. The one interesting thing that Pod Kit did come up with though is, um, because they're pulling Apple and Spotify ratings, depending on which country you, uh, the, um, the audience is in, they've been able to actually point out. That, um, quite, uh, you know, there's quite a lot of differences between individual countries in terms of the types of ratings scores that they give. So almost a third of all ratings given in Afghanistan, for example, are one star, almost a third. Um, Brunai is second most grumpy if you like, um, but they only have 14%. Um, so there's a big difference. And, and again, it comes down to culture. It comes down to that difference between if you are a Brit you are going to, um, you are going to give a, you know, an Uber driver, a slightly different star rating than you would if you are, if you are an American. Uh, and

Sam Sethi:

No, no, no, no, no. Brits are really grumpy at the moment. We'll give one star ratings to everything at the moment.

James Cridland:

I mean, Brits are extraordinarily grumpy, but actually Brits, uh, are much less likely to give a five star, uh, in my opinion, than, than a typical American is because, um, I think Brits firstly want to be a little bit more, uh, you know, honest in terms of their rating. Um, but also, you know, we've, we've grown up with a different set of cultural norms than, you know, somebody in the us. Um, I, I thought it was interesting looking at this. The other, the other way though, um, places that, uh, give out the most five star ratings, uh, Costa Rica, uh, is I think number one, Guatemala is number two. Slovenia, the only country with love in its name, uh, is also there as well. Um, so, uh, so there's a nice thing.

Sam Sethi:

Well, when I read the company claims the fastest prefix redirect in the industry. All I could think of was Benny Hill and Ernie, and he drives the fastest milk cart in the west cuz it was about as useful.

James Cridland:

Yes. Thanks for that.

Sam Sethi:

cultural reference. Now moving on to some tech stuff. Uh, if you use a power press, uh, from a blueberry, then good news you can actually start to use Pod Ping. Um, it looks like they've integrated into the Blueberry dashboard, um, and that is about increasing the speed of your podcast being delivered to its app client. So again, James, tell me more. What's Todd done?

James Cridland:

Yes. So, um, so this is, if you use Power Press, uh, blueberry is coming, but Power Press is already done. Um, when you publish a uh, podcast episode, it will automatically, um, go onto Podcast Ping and that means that any new podcast app will. Almost instantly, um, know that you have, um, made a new, a new episode, which is a pretty cool thing. Um, if you host with blueberry, then that will come relatively soon. Um, and I think Todd is very keen on this. He's been talking about, um, wanting to attract the, the 3% as he calls them, those people that are interested in the new podcasting, uh, 2.0 tags and the name space and everything else. And he sees there being a real opportunity in being a company that supports all of those.

Sam Sethi:

On the new media show this week, James, uh, in fact they have Dave Jones as a guest. So Todd and Rob are talking a lot about Podcast Index 2.0 and all of this stuff. So if you wanna

James Cridland:

you listened? Uh, have you listened to that all the way through yet?

Sam Sethi:

No, no. Should I have done

James Cridland:

I've listened to, I've listened to half of it so far, and, um, and I very much enjoyed the, uh, I enjoyed the opening, which was Todd saying, uh, Sarah that Pat s himself, uh, Dave Jones. We must find out how you got the name Todd Sage. Um, and so I'm, I'm very much hoping that, um, that the story of how Dave Jones got the name Pod Sage, uh, comes up in in the new media show. It is, of course, uh, it is of course your invention.

Sam Sethi:

Well, I think our invention, I think we came up with it.

James Cridland:

Yes.

Sam Sethi:

Yes.

James Cridland:

I think he likes it, so I, I think that's probably all right. . So, uh, yes, I've been enjoying, uh, I've been enjoying that. Um, I have, uh, for the new media show, I have switched back to the, uh, the Pocket Casts app if only because I then have it on. Getting rid of all of all of the gaps and listening to that show, 1.4 times speed. Um, and it's a super great listen when you do that. It's, it's just like, uh, bang, bang, bang, you know, there's so much information in there, very, very fast. Um, so that's, uh, certainly a good listen. Um, let's move on. Uh, AHO has added more than 75, uh, new data API points. This is really cool. If you are making dynamic ads, um, then you might want to make a dynamic ad if, for example, Liverpool ended up losing a match, um, uh, just so that you can crow over the poor people who have to support Liverpool. Um, so, uh, Adho would allow you to end up doing that. It fuels a lot of the dynamic ad. Uh, manufacturing things. Um, and you can obviously do it on sport, you can do it on stocks, on news, on all kinds of things. So actually, if you were clever and you were, say British Airways, then you could check with Adho when you were producing an ad just to see that there wasn't an air crash in the news at the moment. And if there was an air crash, then automatically stop all of your ads from running. You could do all of that kind of stuff with there. So that's a pretty cool and clever thing that, um, that that company has built.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah. Uh, in just very minor use. But Audacity 3.2 is now out adding realtime effects and support for Apple silicon.

James Cridland:

Yes. So I understand, uh, Audacity is getting better and better as an audio editor. Um, and uh, yes, uh, if you want your, uh, details to be passed back to Russia, then go ahead and use it. But don't forget that it does that. Uh, it's a free download, um, at, um, uh, yeah, wherever a Google search for Audacity will. We'll end up finding it. Um, there's also a new transcription tool from Open ai. Um, they do a lot of, um, artificial intelligence stuff. It's called Whisper. Um, it's supposed to be super, super good. Um, it is free, it is available as an open download. Anybody can, um, download it and stick it onto their own computers and stuff. Um, apparently it's quite hungry in terms of process of power and it's quite slow, but nevertheless does the job really well. Apparently. Um, some, uh, people are calling it the holy Grail of transcription. Um, I dunno whether that means that Mo Multi Python can't find it or, uh, whether there's a very scary rabbit, uh, looking after it or whatever it is. But anyway, Whisper, uh, is

Sam Sethi:

you what it is,

James Cridland:

is, uh, pretty.

Sam Sethi:

it'll know the difference between an African and Asian swallow. That's what it will know.

James Cridland:

Yes. What is it? An African and Asian swallow in flight? Uh, yes. The air speed or whatever it is. Oh dear. Um, it's turning to one of those parties. Um, and YouTube has, um, this I think is very clever. YouTube has announced to a music licensing service for YouTube is called Creator Music. Now you can go into this, uh, service. If you are in the US only, Um, you can go into this service and you can buy songs if you want to use songs in your YouTube creation, or you can. Even get hold of some songs as a revenue share. So you will share it with the, the revenue from your YouTube channel with the owner of that particular song, um, which is really cool. The caveat is that it's us only. Another caveat is that it's indie record labels only. So, uh, no, there won't be any, um, licensing, uh, stuff from Warner Music for example, or from Sony or whoever that might be. But nevertheless, it's pretty cool to see that, uh, YouTube has finally cracked the music licensing, um, you know, thing, uh, and again, makes you want to point at, um, at, uh, podcasting and, um, try and understand why podcasting seems to be incapable of working out, um, how, um, podcast, uh, music licensing works. Um, that said, of course, YouTube is a closed box, a closed garden, and they can do whatever they like in there.

Sam Sethi:

Yes. There you go. Well, it's time for that to moment, James. It's time for Booster Graham Corner. Now the first booster Graham we got was from Nathan G 2000 SATs and he says, uh, audiobooks on every platform have square covers. Cuz we thought that, uh, that Spotify was adding or changing the style of audiobook covers. But it seems James, we were wrong. So put our hands up when we're wrong. Uh, Ahuja, that's more to do with the legacy of selling them on CDs than podcasts. So, um, thanks Nathan. Yeah, I had a look at Audible and yes, they are all square as well.

James Cridland:

Oh, well. Well, there you go. There you go. Well, thank you very much Nathan. Nathan, G whoever you are, Nathan G uh, that's very kind of you. Uh, Dave Jones, the pod s himself, has sent a couple of big rush boosters over, uh, two travel one, two sets. Um, and uh, this was after I was expressing doubt about whether, um, a specific music type for, um, for podcasts was a good plan. And I was basically saying, I think it's just, um, uh, yes, a little bit worrying and there'll be lots of copyright theft. And he says, I understand what you're saying, James, but I just hate the idea that Techn. That, but I just hate the idea that technological progress within music distribution is held back purely by fear of litigation. I ought to be able to, I ought to be able to compose a song in my living room, he says, and then post it for distribution and earn from it. If an entrepreneur can't run a simple directory or platform of music podcasts without needing an army of 20 lawyers on retainer, then we have seated ownership of not just rights, but of music itself to a cabal. I appreciate your pragmatism. It's just too depressing to think about. It certainly is. Um, uh, I completely agree. Um, that yes, it's a very sad thing, but, um, I, I'm, I'm also kind of there thinking, Oh, there may be trouble ahead.

Sam Sethi:

Well, I came across, uh, via Alby. I came across a really interesting site called Wave Lake, w a v Lake, uh, and that's a test Alpha site where individual composers can upload their content and you can then pay using Satoshi to actually choose the number of plays. Uh, and it works. It's really simple. Um, it's integrated with Albi and yeah, again, I can see that, you know, outside of the big. Commercial companies that, you know, you mentioned earlier, Warner Brothers and Sony where you signed up. I can see individual composers wanting to put them up. Why not try a different form of, um, I guess payment? You know, maybe people will be more interested in paying that way than they will the all you can eat service like Spotify for.

James Cridland:

Yeah, no, absolutely. I can certainly see that. Um, Gene Bean has sent us a couple of, uh, 1000 SAT boosts. Uh, one of them saying that POD verse is working on streaming SAT support. Yes, they are. They've been waiting for the. Uh, player module that they use to be, uh, a little bit more, uh, capable of that sort of thing. Uh, so it'll be good to see when they end up, uh, launching that. And he also, uh, says, for what it's worth, a simple email earlier to Data Buzz Sprout. Got o p three added for the podcast. I'm starting up. Absolutely. If you are with Buzzsprout, then you don't have to fiddle around with anything at all. You can just send a quick email into, uh, support buzzsprout.com and they will, um, add the o P three, uh, prefix for your particular show. Um, I've elected not to do that for this show so far, but, uh, we will see what happens in the future. And thanks to Tom Rossi from Buzzsprout for reaching out. Cause I think I may have mentioned it last week, uh, offering, uh, whether or not we wanted to, um, to add it. So there you go. There's customer support for you.

Sam Sethi:

Uh, uh, right. Adam Curry, the pod himself, has centers 10,000 SATs. Thanks, Adam. Uh, Lowell ads are fine, but value for values for life, though. There you go.

James Cridland:

Yes, exactly. Uh, Gay, og, uh, sent us, uh, a thousand sets. Uh, thank you Gay OG and Moritz from Albi, uh, 2000 sets. And he's asking about my airplane detector project. Um, I am, uh, I've got all of the bits. The bits are all here. Listen, there they are. There the bits, um, for my, um, uh, for a little computer to sit somewhere and to, uh, tell me what, what that airplane is. Um, that's, uh, flying overhead. And he says, How big should the display be? I use a three and a half inch raspberry pie, l c d display with GP i o connection for my lightning, though that also runs on a raspberry pie and I'm happy with it. Go podcasting. Um, yes indeed. I'm busy looking at what, uh, type of, uh, display. I'm quite keen with an E ink display, but you know, who knows? Um, so probably have a look at that. And, uh, yes, if you would like to, uh, send us a boost, um, then, uh, and you have no idea what we're talking about, then go and download Fountain. It's a very good podcast app. I'm an advisor, uh, at fountain.fm. Uh, and you can find out, uh, more information there or play around with, uh, LB as well that will give you all kinds of, uh, useful, uh, things in there, uh, as well. Or indeed just take a quick look@podnews.net slash new podcast apps.

Sam Sethi:

Now finally rounding up around pod land. What's going on around the rest of the world? France, uh, uh, we talked about them earlier. Pods, uh, which is out of Sweden, has taken a majority stake in French Podcast studio, Nove, ecu, uh, whoever, uh, they are, I'm sure James will tell me in a minute. In the same release, new VE could announced that they've acquired Studio Minu, which claims it's the second largest podcasting group in France. So there you go. There's my GCSE French pronunciation that butchered both those names. But James, tell me more. What have they done?

James Cridland:

Sure. Uh, yes. I think you've have, uh, you have given all of the information that I know as well. Um, so PODS is that large, um, IP company that I was talking about earlier. Um, that's the one that is, uh, investing in all manner of, um, different podcast companies. So, um, uh, yes, I'm fascinated to find out more about Pod X. They've got a suspicious name. Um, so, uh, it'd be good to learn a little bit more about that. Congratulations too, to Acast who have done stuff in France. They have a new post roll ad format, um, which is, um, very good. It's called, um, Co-Branded Stories. While it isn't, it's something in French. Um, and it's basically a post role, uh, two to three minutes of bonus content, um, uh, promoting a particular brand, which is quite neat. What they've also announced today is they've announced research on podcast, listening in Asia, looking at Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. They're calling it the first podcast research in Asia, which is not factually correct, but nevertheless, um, uh, some of the details that they've come across. 90% of listeners finish all or most of a podcast episode, uh, which is, uh, higher than, uh, some of the numbers that I've seen in, in other parts of the world. And 70% say that they are most focused when consuming podcasts rather than when they're consuming other media. Uh, so it's, uh, a thing to learn, but, um, it's good to see acast sharing, uh, data and, uh, information, um, from, uh, some of their pieces of work. So thank you to them for that.

Sam Sethi:

Uh, Moving on to Africa. The winners of the African podcast and voice awards were announced in a virtual ceremony.

James Cridland:

Yes, that's right. Yeah. Uh, it was supported by podcast hosting company Captivate. Um, I saw Danny Brown giving out some of the, uh, rather wonderful prizes. I gave away a prize as well. Um, and the podcast of the year went to Man talk.ke by Elida and Oscar Kuba, uh, which is a, um, actually a really interesting podcast. It is a, um, , you're probably thinking, Oh my goodness, you know, men talking on a podcast. That's not really what anybody, uh, really wants. But it's actually, um, uh, it's actually talking about the problems around toxic masculinity and everything else. So it's a really good listen man talk.ke so many congratulations to all of the winners of that particular, uh, award.

Sam Sethi:

And finally background to the usa and back to Ashley. Carmen, who seems to be on a roll. Um, she's reporting that CNN has let a number of employees in its podcasting unit go on Tuesday, the latest in the series of cuts at Warner Brothers discovery ink. Uh, so why they cutting James? Cuz, I mean, obviously we saw some cuts last week from other companies. Why CNN doing it?

James Cridland:

Well, CNN are desperately trying to count as many costs as they can do. Um, I mean, if you are a, uh, news, uh, cable news channel, um, as, as CNN are, then uh, most of your audience is over 60. Um, and, uh, probably podcasts aren't seen as the thing that you should be focusing on. Uh, arguably they the thing you should be focusing on because they need more younger audience. So, um, uh, it seems a, a very strange and backwards step, but still, you know, if that's what CNN want to end up doing, um, it just worries me. You know, you have a look at CNN and the amount of cuts that they've, uh, done, the amount of, um, good journalists that they've let go over the last month. And, uh, these are even more of those, uh, people. So sad to end up seeing. The Australian Podcast Awards has extended its deadline to Monday, uh, which is a, uh, public holiday in most parts of Australia. Weirdly, it's the Queen's birthday and it's still the Queen's birthday, um, as a day off. I know. Um, but you know,

Sam Sethi:

won't have that when you're a republic.

James Cridland:

Maybe, maybe it was too late to rename that particular holiday. Uh, I don't know. But anyway, um, yes, so you've got until Monday, October the third to get your entries in for that. And then of course, on October the fourth is podcast day 24, which is happening in both Sydney and in London. I will see you in Sydney. Uh, POD News is actually, uh, sponsoring the drinks afterwards because you know, of course I would be, wouldn't I? Uh, so, um, so that should be fun. And it's also happening in London.

Sam Sethi:

Now if you missed out like me on podcast Movement 2022, the sessions are now available on demand, so I'll put a link in the show notes.

James Cridland:

Yeah, they are. And, uh, free, if you went to podcast movement 2022, you can go back and watch those. That's included in your ticket and you can buy a ticket if you did not do that. Uh, if you wanna go and see Mark Maron's, wtf, What's that for? Uh, in the uk that's what it stands for, right? Um, then, uh, you can October the 19th in the Bloomsbury Theater in London. David Badi will be the guest. Um, so, uh, if you are a fan of, uh, wtf, then uh, you can do that. And if you're a fan of podcast radio, um, then you can, uh, go to then New York Conference event, which is happening on October the 19th. And they are also apparently going to be announcing, uh, a launch in the US as well. I'm not quite sure how that's going to work, but it might be quite fun.

Sam Sethi:

Mm, that one of the tweets that I picked up. Uh, if you want to know more about events or want to upload your own events, then I suggest you go to pod.events, which is part of POD News to find out more.

James Cridland:

Indeed, what's happening for you this week in Pot Land, Sam?

Sam Sethi:

I can't tell you James, cuz you know, but I can't tell you

James Cridland:

Well, there we are, um, cryptic as ever.

Sam Sethi:

no, there's lots of stuff happening. There's lots of stuff going on. Certainly the heating's going on, but I'm watching the, uh, watching the bill go up.

James Cridland:

Oh. All the heating's going on. Oh, you are made of money.

Sam Sethi:

I'm not sure that I'll be pointing the Christmas lights up this year. That might be a, that might be too far for me, but, uh, the heatings had to go on.

James Cridland:

Well, at least you're not paying for the heating in, in American dollars. Uh, cuz uh, then goodness, imagine that. Imagine that. Um, and for me, I mean obviously I've got my box of, uh, my box of, of stuff to build into my e airplane detection system. I'll be able to know where that helicopter was going. Um, uh, but also what's a, what's available small plug, uh, is that title sponsorship for Pod news, uh, every single year. Um, POD News basically doesn't sell any until, um, September, October. Uh, and then we make them all available for next year. You can only ever buy one month, um, because I don't want the same company, uh, being the title sponsor, uh, for more than that. But if you are interested in sponsoring POD news for a month, um, doing what Magella and AI are doing this, um, uh, this month, uh, then, um, you should, uh, it's very good. And available, uh, all next year sales@podnews.net will connect you with Christie, uh, and she will be able to help you further. And on that bombshell, that's it for this week. Um, if you like this episode of Pod Land, tell others to visit, subscribe wherever you listen to podcast. Well back next week with another review and analysis of all things podcasting.

Sam Sethi:

You'll also find all our previous shows and interviews on our website@podland.news. You can give us feedback using booster grams, and if your podcast app doesn't support boosts, then grab a new one from pod news.net/new podcast apps.

James Cridland:

Yes. If you'd like daily news, you should get Pod News, the newsletters free pod news.net. The podcast can be found in your podcast app and on your smart speaker. And all the stories we've discussed on Pod Land today are in the show notes. We use chapters and transcripts.

Sam Sethi:

Our music is from Studio Dragonfly and we're hosted and sponsored by our very good friends, Buzz Sprout and Squad Cast.

James Cridland:

Keep listening, and I'm very aware that I say keep listening every single week and then that is followed by the podcast ending, but that's just the way that it works. So keep listening, to whatever's next.

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