Podnews Weekly Review

James and Sam revisit podcasting in 2023; and give our predictions for 2024

January 05, 2024 James Cridland and Sam Sethi Season 2 Episode 55
Podnews Weekly Review
James and Sam revisit podcasting in 2023; and give our predictions for 2024
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

James and Sam look back at our predictions for 2023. How many did we get right? We also look at our highlights and lowlights of the year.

Then, we give our predictions for 2024! At least one of them won't come as a surprise.

We're back next week - 12th January 2024 -  with our first full show of the year.

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James Cridland:

It's Friday, the 5th of January 2024.

Announcer:

The last word in podcasting news. This is the Pod News Weekly Review with James Cridland and Sam.

James Cridland:

Sethi, yes, I'm James Cridland, the editor of Pod News. Happy New Year from me.

Sam Sethi:

And I'm Sam Sethi, the CEO of Truefans, and it's a happy New Year from him too.

James Cridland:

Yes, welcome to more predictions from the Pod News Weekly Review. Last week, we heard loads of our friends from the industry with their highlights from 2023 and their predictions for this year.

Sam Sethi:

So this week it's our turn, James. We'll give our predictions for the year and see how we did last time around. Uh-oh, Uh-oh.

James Cridland:

We will. Yes, this will be fun. This podcast is sponsored by Buzzsprout. Podcast hosting made easy with easy and powerful tools, free learning materials and remarkable customer support. From your daily newsletter, the Pod News Weekly Review.

Sam Sethi:

So, James, let's kick off with a look back at our predictions for 2023. How?

James Cridland:

did we do? How did we do? Shall we go through? We'll go through our predictions, shall we? Shall we start with yours or with mine? No, let's start with mine then, James. Oh, I'm glad you said that. Yeah, Because that's the order that I've got them in. Yes, you ended up with eight predictions last year. You can go back and listen to the full show if you want. Episode season two, episode six. But here was your first prediction.

Sam Sethi:

I'm thinking Joe Rogan is leaving Spotify and joining YouTube.

James Cridland:

Joe Rogan leaving Spotify, joining YouTube.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, the jury's still out on that one, james. I still think that's the big, big 24.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think we might still give that. There was some research that came out the other week from Sounds Profitable and Signal Hill Insights and they ended up saying that there are lots of people who watch the Joe Rogan podcast but do so on YouTube 76%, I think, from memory. So, yeah, it's not necessarily a thing for Spotify. So yeah, I think that's definitely a thing. So I think the jury is still out on that. I won't give you that either way. Okay, here's number two.

Sam Sethi:

Those podcasting hosting companies that adopt the podcast index tags faster will see traffic move away from a competition back to themselves.

James Cridland:

Yes, those who adopt the podcast namespace will grow faster. I think I'll give you that.

Sam Sethi:

Thank you very much. Yes, I think that actually was a good one. I think it was the bleeding off your prediction. But there you go.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I mean we are seeing growth from obviously, people like Buzz Brown, Blueberry also Captivate as well, doing very well, but of course some of the newer people like RSS Blue and Pod Home and let's not forget rsscom in there as well. So, yeah, absolutely. I think differentiation is the name of the game here.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, yes, we'll see what my prediction for 24 will say about that, though, but yes.

James Cridland:

Here comes prediction number three.

Sam Sethi:

If you want to do live podcasting now, that's the sort of thing I'm hoping hosting companies look at and start to offer podcasters in 2023. Live podcasting I think I could. Can I take that as a success, or is that still well?

James Cridland:

look Well, I mean, some people are offering it. I mean RSS Blue kind of offers it, rsscom kind of offers it. No, they've confirmed.

Sam Sethi:

Alberto has confirmed. It will be an available service in 24 for all of their customers. It might be a couple of months from now, but it will be available.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think we'll probably just about give you that possibly. I think that's probably fair enough. Fair enough. How about number four?

Sam Sethi:

I do think there will be a new podcast search engine.

James Cridland:

Yeah, what are you talking about there? A better discovery, interactivity, monetisation and a better podcast search engine.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I think we do, as an industry, need to work on these things. I think there are elements of those discovery interactivity, monetisation coming I mean obviously boosts and there is better ways of discovery and all of the micro payments. They're all coming. I just don't think we've fully got it baked out into the mass market yet.

James Cridland:

Yeah, now I would agree with that. I was talking with somebody the other day on Facebook of all places, and they were saying sorry, where's that Facebook? Apparently? And if you type in the name of their podcast actual, you know word for word then on Spotify they are, I think, then number 33 in the list. Spotify's search is just really weird. It's really bad at searching podcasts. So, yeah, a better search engine I think would be a good plan, but not quite yet. Here's your prediction, number five.

Sam Sethi:

I wonder if in 2023, we don't start to use cross comments.

James Cridland:

I don't know why we were giving all of these predictions in a bathroom.

Sam Sethi:

I don't know why I'm thinking.

James Cridland:

I was trying to treat the audio so it sounded a little bit different. Yes, cross out comments Right. No, massive, not really gone anywhere, has it?

Sam Sethi:

No Again. I'll wait for the predictions later, but there is, I think, another way of achieving this. I think the goal is admirable. I think if we as apps and I'm putting my hat on as an app developer now fountain, podverse, true fans, etc. Podcast guru are to actually use you know, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole type model where we take on Spotify and Apple then one of the things has to be we have to collaborate better together and cross out comments maybe one good way of doing that?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I would certainly agree with that Prediction.

Sam Sethi:

Six was I think a lot of old technologies that were around 10 years ago will be dusted off. We're beginning to see that anyway with activity pub web finger. I suspect we'll see a few more open standards being brought back into podcasting.

James Cridland:

Now, how did you think you?

Sam Sethi:

did with that. Well, I originally in the script put fail, but I'm going to go. Success actually, by the way.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think I'm going to go success in that as well. I mean, youtube is one of those which, if you want to put a different sized graphic in your file for YouTube, then you can do that using the media RSS extension, which is a very old open standard. I mean, it hasn't worked for the last month, but let's not worry about that bit. But it's nice to actually see that they've put that. They've not reinvented the wheel and they've gone for a tag that actually exists already out there.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, and I think if you look at mastodon with activity pub, which is a W3C standard, uses web finger rel equals me some of these old things that are a decade plus. You know that they were. They are coming back into fashion and I think in 24, we'll see a lot more of those used.

James Cridland:

Yes, no, I would certainly agree, so I think that is a success as well. So currently you're just in the lead to successes. Two fails, one more success. Let's see how you do with number seven.

Sam Sethi:

I think AI is going to come more and more into podcasting, whether we like it or not.

James Cridland:

I mean, that is the laziest prediction.

Sam Sethi:

I was going to say. If in doubt, stick AI on to anything.

James Cridland:

You can have that one Number eight.

Sam Sethi:

Well, my last prediction is that Apple will open up the door. They're going to support podcast TXT from the podcast index namespace and on the back of that, they will start to look at the person tag and a few others. Dear Apple, dear Tim Cook, please, I mean look, I think we will both get fails with Apple, but I'll take my hat on that one. That's a total fail.

James Cridland:

Yes, so I think we're pretty well on 5050 at the moment, but you only wrote eight into the, into the running order, but you actually made nine predictions, did I? Yes, yes, there is one more, and all it says in the running order is SamX. Would you like to hear what that ninth prediction was?

Sam Sethi:

Puts on, tim Hatt, holds on to the microphone and goes yes, here we go. I'm predicting YouTube launched their podcasting platform in 2024. There you go. You heard it here first, you know what.

James Cridland:

You got that right, didn't you? Yes, it's going to be properly launched in 2024. And that was a guess in December 2022. And we didn't know pretty well anything about what YouTube were planning on doing. Who?

Sam Sethi:

is that prescient person, not me? Well done to that person. Yes.

James Cridland:

So well done you. I think you've ended up with a slight win there, possibly 60-40.

Sam Sethi:

Well, that's better. If I could take that to the bookies today, I'd be okay, I'd be quits in, so that's fine. Right, James, come on now. Let's hear what you had to say in 2023 about the year ahead.

James Cridland:

Well, I mean, obviously Apple are going to produce an Android app because they're not stupid. Well, it turns out, they are, they are. It turns out that they might be yes, no, apple and Android. That means I've got to spend another 100,000 cents with Adam Curry, doesn't it?

Sam Sethi:

I do quick because there's the Bitcoin splits coming up, so that could be worth a lot more money if you do it. I don't know Actually, wait, wait, you might be half in, yeah.

James Cridland:

Well, I hope he's not listening Get away without sending that over. He sent us far more than 100,000. So I'm sure that would be absolutely fine. Anyway, yes, so that was number one. Now, this is a good one.

Sam Sethi:

What was your number two, James?

James Cridland:

I would suspect that we may well see a big podcast hosting company going bankrupt next year.

Sam Sethi:

Ah, did one go bankrupt.

James Cridland:

No, but I think the jury is still out. There has been one quite large podcast hosting company who has made a lot of people redundant this year and I'm not just talking about Spotify, who obviously have done that, but a podcast hosting company, and I'm still. You know, I'm not saying anything more than that, but I mean, we heard a number of people in last week's show talking about the possibility at least of consolidation in hosting Dave Jones. Actually, the Pod Sage ended up saying that last time and saying that instead of you know, positive M&A activity, it might be, you know, forced M&A activity. So I don't know, so anyway. So I'm going to call that a not necessarily a fail.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, yeah, no, I tend to agree. I think one will go pop, but there we go. Who it will be, we'll let you know in the weeks to come, I guess. Now, james, let's look at your third prediction. What was this one?

James Cridland:

But I do also think that hosting companies, as you said, will be differentiating much more on features. On value ads yes, I think we can both win that one.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, yes, they absolutely have, haven't they no, and it'll be interesting to see, when they all reach parity, then how you differentiate. But anyway, that's another story for another day. James number four, what was this one that you predicted?

James Cridland:

I think the ad load in podcasts is going to increase, particularly ad load in podcasts run by large American companies. I think I was probably right in that. I think we've seen more and more ads being thrown into shows. Todd Cochran talks about it all the time. He clearly listens to different shows than I do and obviously he's listening in the US rather than here in Australia where nobody bothers buying any advertising anyway. So I think I think I probably got that.

Sam Sethi:

Will you give me that one? I will give you that one and I think with your radio hat on, I think Don't you say that there's sort of 15 minutes within an hour on radio? I don't think we're even close to that within podcasting yet no, we're not, we're not.

James Cridland:

And some people say that podcasting is behind the curve because we haven't gone that far yet. And some other people say, hooray, we haven't gone that far yet.

Sam Sethi:

Indeed. Yeah, I'll give you that one, James Congratulations. That's two successes, one jury and one fail so far. What's number five, James?

James Cridland:

Which will probably kick off a bit of interest potentially in ad free subscriptions, but also potentially a bit of interest in other automated ways to get rid of ads as well. Automated ways to get rid of ads Well we saw that and there was that audio story in November. Yes, yes, yes, I'm claiming that one. Ok.

Sam Sethi:

I'll let you have that. You got the story in in November, so yeah, go on, then you can have that. That's another success. And your sixth and final prediction, james, what was it?

James Cridland:

I predict that the download will be a less valuable metric in 2023 than ever and that a listen will be a much more valuable metric.

Sam Sethi:

Now you've put this down as a fail. I'm not sure I agree with you there, james. I mean, I think we both agree that a that listen time is more valuable, but I'm not necessarily sure that we yet have the measurement or the you know, or the rest of the industry necessarily agreeing with us there I'm going to give you a jury still out on that one, because I think we had a report in last month's Pod News Weekly and Pod News Daily where you said the IAB are looking at the renewal of a number of people's accounts and there wasn't a guarantee that they're all renewed. And I think we've seen with companies like Bumper I know, for example, with Truefans, we use those metrics. I know other podcast apps do as well. I think 2024 we will see a move more towards this because advertisers aren't stupid. They do want a better return on their investment in advertising and just saying it's a download or it might have been a listen is not good enough and we're seeing that with the retraction of ads. They need better metrics and this is one of them. Completely agree.

James Cridland:

Right, let's move on to our highlights and low lights of 2023. Oh good, we get to talk about low lights as well. This is a positive section. Let's start with the highlights, shall we? What are your five highlights of 2023, sam.

Sam Sethi:

Being a Brit, it was all around alcohol. No, no, sorry, sorry Right.

James Cridland:

At least one of them was, wasn't it?

Sam Sethi:

Yes, we had a couple of events and I think they went really well. There was one in Manchester, we did, and one in London. So thank you to RSScom for being a sponsor there. Thank you to ACAST for sponsoring as well. It was good to see companies putting their money where their mouth is and, yes, so I really enjoyed those two events that we put on. I don't know about you, james, but yeah, that was one of my first event highlights.

James Cridland:

Yes, I think so, and I think also the London podcast show was great. Podcast movement was also fantastic of you know doing this show on stage and all of that. So that was really cool too. So absolutely enjoyed those.

Sam Sethi:

My other highlight, and I love the picture we took, which was at the Brew Dog in Las Vegas. We had everyone gathered round and it was this big photo straight down the strip and I just thought it was a great evening. Yeah, so that was one of my other highlights.

James Cridland:

Yeah, no, indeed indeed.

Sam Sethi:

And we managed to get an eclectic group of interesting people at the London podcast show for pre-drinks on a balcony. So, and guess what?

James Cridland:

In the sun, astonishingly for London.

Sam Sethi:

You have to add for London at the end of that sentence yes, and we will be doing those again at some point this year, so look forward to those. Keep an eye on your inbox for those invites.

James Cridland:

Indeed. So those were two of your highlights. Another one, of course, reminds me of this, of your most difficult predictor, your most difficult prediction.

Sam Sethi:

I think AI is going to come more and more into podcasting, whether we like it or not. Yeah, yeah. Because this is a highlight, is it? Well, I think for me, the highlight was actually because I didn't know how AI was going to come into podcasting that was just and. I actually thought the way that it was brought into to podcasting was done really well. I think Buzzsprout made a really good feature out of AI Descript, had been doing it and have really pushed the ball again hard. And Ushua surprisingly, they spun away from some of their other business activities, like Radio King, which they used to own, and they focused down and I think they've got a lot more to come in this year in 2024. So, yeah, I think the way it's been introduced has been really well done.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and certainly Jennifer was very cryptic talking last week in our friends' predictions about how AI is going to be a very big thing for Ushua in 2024. So, yes, it's a very exciting thing.

Sam Sethi:

Now my other one was my highlight was actually seeing all of the technology. I think that's been worked on for a couple of years, a bit like a Jenga being stacked. We saw remote item, live, item tag value, time splits all combined into one show which Adam Curry did, which was called Booster Ground Ball, which was this combination of him DJing fundamentally as a podcast, with what we call wallet switching, and I just think these music cast shows worked really well and we're seeing more examples of them and so, yeah, that was one of my highlights. I think it's moved the needle for podcasting into a very interesting and different space.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I'm super excited about that. You can really see when things come together, because the remote item needed the GUID and the GUID needed the index and et cetera, et cetera. The whole thing just comes together to produce something which is a pretty brand new format. Yet, I mean, it's not perfect, yet None of these things are going to be, but I think it's a super good thing. So, yeah, so, absolutely, number four absolutely correct. You know, booster, ground Ball and all of that music podcasting super exciting. So yeah, yeah, absolutely right. And of course, there's been you've. You've ended up launching something as well last year, didn't you?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, we finally managed to get pod fans, now called True Fans, out the front door. It's been a labour of love and took a lot of time. I wished that the number of new features and tags that Dave and Adam kept rolling out stomp, because I was trying to catch up, but we sort of got there. No, it's been great and I'm really really excited for this year to see what we can do with True Fans.

James Cridland:

So if people missed your your bombshell of an announcement a couple of weeks ago, pod fans is no more, but it's now called True Fans. Right, but it's exactly the same thing.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, it's exactly the same thing. I just felt as a marketer there were too many pod XXX companies and we just fit it into, you know, one of many as a list, and I needed something that was going to make us at least stand out a little bit differently. And so it's born with True Fans.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and a very. You know you can see the amount of care that's being put into it. So congratulations to you and your and your tech and everybody else. So, yeah, I think that's a great thing. Thank you very much.

Sam Sethi:

Now, james, let's have a look. What's your, what were your highlights of 2023?

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think one of my highlights was Evolutions. Yes, it was in Las Vegas, the worst place in the world, but nevertheless I really enjoyed being a podcast movement Evolutions, seeing a lot of people who I hadn't seen for a while and, yeah, and being able to be, you know, speaking, you know, on the big podcast movement stage and all of that. It was a really enjoyable thing. So, and it was great catching up with a lot of people who listen to this very show and you always, you know, whenever you see the numbers, you're always there going, you know, I wonder who's listening to that. And then you keep on bumping into people bumped into somebody the other day who said that they listened, and and you go oh gosh, there you go. You know, it's not just a random number, it's actually human beings out there. So that was so. That was super good.

Sam Sethi:

Now this second one is very interesting. You need to explain this one.

James Cridland:

I say the sentence pod news puppies, you say I say that, of course, was at podcast movement in Denver in Colorado, in Colorado this year, where we sponsored the puppies. I have never seen more people so excited at all. So yeah, that was a real success and really enjoyable. It was wonderful working together with the podcast movement folk to bring the puppies back to podcast movement and, and again, that was a that was a really good event. A little bit loud at times but a really good event in terms of, you know, meeting people, saying hi to people and, yes, I'm hoping that I might get a little stand or a little booth that I can actually be available at in podcast movements to come. But that was, that was super good.

Sam Sethi:

And now this one is a surprise highlight for me You've put YouTube music.

James Cridland:

I have. I've put YouTube music not YouTube, but YouTube music. I think that the YouTube music app is actually surprisingly good for podcasting, and I think that what, what seems to me pretty clear is that the people who have integrated podcasting into YouTube have done so in a relatively respectful way for the podcast industry. They understand what podcast listeners want in terms of, in terms of, you know, speeding up and in terms of marking an episode as played and all of that stuff that you want from a great podcast app, and I understand that they're adding even more features, including silence skipping to come, so I think that there's a bunch of really nice things that they have put into there. Now you know YouTube as a whole and ingesting podcasts into YouTube and all of that stuff, and that's a different conversation, but I do think actually genuinely that the YouTube music app for a podcast app is a pretty good thing, so I think that they've done a pretty good thing there.

Sam Sethi:

Not a prediction, but but a hope, I think, is that one of the big three YouTube, Apple or Spotify will break away from the other two, so they can all have proprietary features. That's fine, but I wish that one of the three would actually jest some of the podcasting, two don't names tags and then take a real leadership role within the industry.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think it would be fascinating if one of them was to end up doing that and, to be fair, amazon music could also do that as well.

Sam Sethi:

Oh, I forget about that.

James Cridland:

Sorry, yeah, sure yeah and everybody forgets about them, and I think that's absolutely fair too. So I think, what if one of those big four was to do that? I think that would be a stunning win. But I know that you've got a few things in your prediction, so I won't go diving into that.

Sam Sethi:

Now number four James, come on reveal.

James Cridland:

Yes, number four. I think one of the highlights for 2023 is just the fact that podcasting is still very open. It's still based on RSS feeds. It's still based on the open architecture that Dave Weiner and Adam Curry invented all of those years ago more than 20 years ago now, more than 23 years ago now. But I think also, openness also now goes into things like OP3, which launched last year an open database of podcast analytics, information and open methods of working all of those things out. Plus, of course, we've seen the UK podcast ranker, so the first really open list of shows which are consumed in the UK. That's been very exciting, and even the ABC here in Australia getting into the Australian podcast ranker. I really like the fact that this industry is still as open as it is and I think that that's a good thing.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, now, and I think long way that lasts. I think we all had this thing. What's a podcast? Is it audio or video? And I think by the end of 2023, I'd come to the conclusion that so long as it's served via RSS, then the medium tag can be audio, video, book. It can be anything right. The medium tag allows you to extend what a podcast means, but the delivery mechanism has to be through RSS. So that's the open part, for me anyway, at least.

James Cridland:

Yeah indeed, and I think my last highlight is really very connected to that it's still the amount of collaboration that goes on in this industry. The podcast standards project sounds quite quiet, sounds as if it's as if it's died, but I do know that there is still collaboration going on within that group. There's clearly collaboration going on in the podcasting 2.0 group as well, and there is clearly conversation still going on in terms of the IB standards and all of that where a lot of the industry is collaborating and working together. So I think all of that is very positive and very helpful towards the industry as well.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, no, let's hope that the podcast standards project takes much more of a prominent role in this year 2024.

James Cridland:

Yeah, absolutely. Now we've each got five lowlights. I think we should just go through R5. Do you want to start going with your five?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, apple spent an enormous amount of time on something called delegated delivery and focusing on revenue through subscriptions. There was a lot of announcements at the end of December 2023 about companies finally getting on board with all of that. I know Blueberry did a great job of it, but the jury's still out for me. I mean, I don't think subscriptions is the way forward and I think delegated delivery is just a delivery mechanism, so I'm not sure that was a great. We waited so long for Apple to do something and then that's what they came out with. I was like oh really, is that it? Was that the big reveal, thanks.

James Cridland:

No, indeed, and of course, spotify's subscriptions as well seem to have failed without a trace, don't they?

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, a bit like high definition music, which I guess will come out because of Apple's big announcement recently. But yeah, what's happened Spotify? I don't know. So again, overall, I think subscriptions was a failure in 2023 for me, but you may disagree, James.

James Cridland:

What's another?

Sam Sethi:

lowlight that you have. The podcast Stanges Project was slow. I got really excited about this. I mean, I know that you and I have been at various podcast evolution events where small groups have got together. There's been conversations. It all felt really exciting. I thought this was going to be the marketing arm to Adam and Dave's technical arm and that we were going to get some real rocket juice put through hosts and everyone's going to jump on board and would see some real accelerator into what I call mainstream awareness. And sadly we saw a damp squid on that one as well.

James Cridland:

Yes, we've heard absolutely nothing about that, and I think what I find weird is I was at the actual dinner when the idea came up. In Dallas, in Texas. The idea came up and then some of the people at that dinner squirreled away and launched this thing and I was thinking I was at that dinner too. So I find that really very strange.

Sam Sethi:

I do think it needs an evangelist. One of my jobs in a previous life at Microsoft was being one of the technical evangelists for Microsoft and I do think it needs a figurehead and evangelist, somebody who can run around between what I call internal evangelism, ie going between all the apps and hosts and saying, hey, have you heard of this? Are you doing this? What's going on? And then an external evangelist who's at events, who talks to the ad agencies, who talks to all of the mainstream marketplace who need to hear about this message, and I think that one person alone, I think, could make a massive difference. Yeah, no, indeed. Now, my other one low light was we heard that Twitter was going to include RSS. We heard TikTok was going to do stuff and sadly, in both cases, they've gone away, but we did hear about Instagram. So God knows what's going to go on in that space. But yeah, that was one of my highlights it was gone before it came.

James Cridland:

Yes, who knows. And finally, micro payments. You've put that in your low lights, which is interesting.

Sam Sethi:

Yeah, I find it quite hard to talk to normies about micro payments. Muggles yes, the muggles, you know you can see the glazing over into Bitcoin. No, don't talk to me about it. I think the problem is it is the conflation of crypto and San Bangor and Freed and FTX with Bitcoin, which is not crypto. But the whole thing gets all confluted together and I think people just go, oh no, and I think I'm not sure how we jumped the shark into mainstream adoption. But yeah, I think that was a low light. We didn't see a mass adoption, which I was hoping for.

James Cridland:

Well, I'll go through my low lights and then we'll talk about something a little bit more positive when we move on to our predictions. Firstly, I mean, for me one of the big low lights was, of course, the mass layoffs that we've seen, both in Spotify but in other companies as well. Lots of very good people leaving their jobs and some rubbish people, by the way but lots of good people leaving their jobs, primarily being driven by profit, short term profit, and by done decisions from people that don't, frankly, understand how podcasting works. So I think that was one of my big low lights for this year. I think also the failure of cross app comments or I'm going to be sort of slightly controversial. I don't think that podcasting 2.0, all of the new namespace or anything has anything like mass market adoption. Yet I think there's a bit too much patting ourselves on the back in some of the areas that I stay in on the internet about how clever we are. Yet Spotify, amazon, apple, youtube, pocketcasts, iheart don't have any adoption of any of these new podcast tags and it worries me that it's stagnating a bit. It worries me that we hear the same clips from the same people sending boosts to the same podcasts and I don't know. I just worry that we are not moving it forward as fast as we should be. I don't know whether that's fair.

Sam Sethi:

Sam, I think what you're seeing is your first two low lights, I think are connected. I think we saw money rush into the top of the tree with exclusives and then dumb decisions on the back of it. I can only give what I've seen in the past, which is web 1.0 to 2.0. We saw stupid VC money going into Petzarus, for example, and other things and out of that there was mass layoffs. And then we saw Google, amazon, facebook, lots of web 2.0 solid companies grow and I think we will see smart, smart people coming out of these big companies with a lot of drive and ambition to start and use things, and I think they are the people who will adopt the 2.0 standards and we will get lots of really interesting companies. I think the standards are now getting to the point where they are pretty much baked in and settling down. I don't think we've seen any new real standards in the last few months coming out, new tags or anything. So I think we're seeing adoption now. We saw the acceleration of them. We're now seeing adoption and I think smart people coming out of big companies will still want to be in this industry. We'll then look at what can I do to fix some of the podcast issues and use those tags.

James Cridland:

Indeed, that sounds like a bit of a prediction for me. Not yet.

Sam Sethi:

Steady on young man.

James Cridland:

Not yet. My other lowlights are I think that, having said very positive things about YouTube Music podcast app, I think that Google have killed Google podcasts a little bit too early, or rather not got YouTube Music mature enough before they killed Google podcasts. So I think that's a bit of a low light, to be honest, and I worry how many people that's going to kick away from podcasting because they can't find a decent podcast app on their phone. So I think that that's a concern. I also am worried and I think it's a low light that for the last four months or so, we have seen downloads decreasing for virtually everything. Virtually every single podcast has seen downloads going down. It's not just an Apple podcasts problem. It's been very easy to blame it on Apple podcasts, but actually it's not just that. Downloads from Spotify are going down as well. Downloads from iHeart are going down as well, and no one knows why. That's the thing that worries me most. No one has even. You know I was on a predictions podcast a couple of weeks ago with Oxford Road and I asked them are you seeing lots of decreasing downloads? And they were saying, well, yeah, we kind of are. And I was saying isn't this a massive problem and they were saying well, it's not really, we can't see it happening everywhere. And I guess I just find it weird because I'm seeing it happening everywhere. Nobody's talking about it. But are we not seeing some?

Sam Sethi:

shows, recording and reporting. You know we saw voice works or announced that their network's doing well. We keep hearing from Persephone occur and you know the rest is stable. Seems to be growing on mass. Are we seeing downloads decreasing for quality or quantity? I mean, is there a?

James Cridland:

I don't think that we are seeing. I think, over three months, everything is going down. All of those press releases that are coming out are year over year growth, you know, I mean the voice works thing, the sports social thing, said 58.8% increase in podcast downloads between July and August alone. Why are they not talking about August to November? Because it's gone down? You would have, you would assume, because otherwise why would they not be talking about that? So I think what we see in the press releases are always going to be positive, but what's actually going on out there is, I believe, at least, to be much more negative than the story that is coming out actually is. And I don't think it's just an Apple Podcasts issue, although goodness, I feel for Apple Podcasts, because they came out. They said we've made this tiny change in Apple Podcasts and everyone has been blaming them for drops of 20% of downloads and it's gotten very little to do with Apple Podcasts. So I would imagine that they're not going to be as open and as transparent about changes that they make in the future, because they've got, so you know, beaten up over the changes that they've gone through. So I don't know, but I find that a bit of a bit of a sad thing.

Sam Sethi:

Well, they won't be saying anything anyway. They've got no PR person. He's gone. That was a low light.

James Cridland:

Well, yes, I mean, they are apparently supposed to have a new PR person and who knows, by the time this goes out because we may be recording this slightly early then I might know who their new PR person is and, more importantly, whether or not that's a dedicated resource for Apple Podcasts, which it should be, or whether that's somebody who also looks after I don't know toy, toy tablets or something. So we'll find out about that. Which leads on to my low light number five, which is no Apple Podcasts app for Android. I will say this every year. I think I know the reason why that they're not doing Apple Podcasts app for Android, and that's because they don't want to give Google 30% of their money and for subscriptions, and also, on the other side, they don't want a workaround that involves the Apple Podcasts website, because if they do a workaround, then what they're basically saying is anybody can do a workaround to get past the 30% on the Apple Store. So I suspect it's nothing more complicated than that, but it's a real sadness that there's no Apple Podcasts app for Android, and that's all I'll say on that, right. Well, here's where we get to make our own predictions for 2024 and you've got five.

Sam Sethi:

I've got five, right here we go, you've got seven and no, no, no, no, I'll take them out, don't worry, or will I? No, I will. Right prediction number one James. Joe Rogan will join YouTube in 2024. I'm going to go with it again. I think Spotflix is going to happen, but that's another story. But I think Rogan will. I don't think Spotify can afford to keep him, and I think he will therefore find a new home and he'll go back to where he is loved on YouTube. And so that's my first prediction, james.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I will probably agree with that and I think you know. Certainly, having a look at how successful Joe Rogan is on YouTube still, even though his full show isn't there, I think, really highlights that. So, yeah, absolutely.

Sam Sethi:

Now, one of my low lights was micropayments not going mainstream. So one of my highlights or predictions for 24 is that micropayments will go mainstream. Now I strangely think Elon Musk might have something to do with this as well. Oh great, yeah, sorry. So I've often said that, although I was at Netscape, I think Microsoft was. The reason why the web took off faster was because they built in ie into the desktop, into Windows and I think you know, mainstream. Basically, oh, what's this button? Click, oh, it's the web, click, click, click, click and the rest is history. And I think Elon's toying with the idea of something called X coin and I think if he gets the licenses that he's looking for and he gets into X stroke Twitter, then I think mainstream people start to talk about it more and mainstream media will talk about it more. So he could be a placebo, a catalyst I don't know what word you want to use, oh, what word I want to use him but I think he could play a part in it. And we've seen other really interesting companies now Stripe, cash App and others coming to the market. I think micropayments will go mainstream in 24.

James Cridland:

Well, I certainly hope so, because I think micropayments, you know, is a good part of the puzzle, and the puzzle at the moment is that the podcasting is paid for by micropayments, but it's paid for by micropayments from advertisers rather than micropayments from consumers, and I would rather that it was paid by micropayments from consumers, but that isn't quite there yet. So I would certainly agree with that.

Sam Sethi:

Now I think we will see in 24, tiktok, youtube and Instagram. Short form videos help drive traffic to podcasts. I don't fully agree that long form video will be the best format, but I do think podcast players and also podcast creators more often will need to look at those video formats across those three platforms if they want to drive significant traffic.

James Cridland:

Yeah, I think certainly as a discovery platform is a useful thing, but also, I've now seen two different pieces of research, very different pieces of research, both of which says that audio is used during the day, video is used at night, and I think that there's probably something to be said for that, and so you can well see how some of these platforms, youtube in particular, really fits into that type of consumption pattern of video and audio being available on one platform, but of video being used as a consumption platform at a particular time of day for you.

Sam Sethi:

So yeah, now, we said that one of the failures of 2023 was the failure to get out cross-lap comments, and I tend to agree with that. In the last couple of weeks of December, dave and Adam started to finally talk about something called Activity Pave and something called Activity Streams that I've been using in Truefans for a while, and I think what we will see is a model. This is using W3C standards. This is not something that someone's made up on the back of a fag packet. These have been around and I think people haven't looked at these for a while, but I think their time has come, and I think what we'll see is the ability to publish your activity stream from various apps into a centralized or decentralized index where I could then say, oh, james has boosted something, or Sam has commented here, or whatever it may be, and that you could have done that in fountain, maybe in Truefans, maybe in podcast guru, and then I could aggregate that back into my app, or Oscar could do it into his. It needs a structured format, not this silly one percent of fountain, so they can actually then see the boostergram via Saturn. It's such a broken clutch that it needs a proper structure, and I think the way we do. That is new tag, not that we need more tags, but I think it'll be called the podcast activity tag and it will use activity streams and integrate with the activity pub from Mustadom. So there you go.

James Cridland:

Yeah, and certainly seeing an awful lot of activity at the end of last year with I think it was Feedly that was getting very excited. Was it the right one? That began begins with a feed. I think it was one of those feed bin Feedly, feedly, I think it was. Anyway, getting very excited about activity pub and beginning to share all the flipboard. That's exactly right. Yes, yes, you know. Pod fans, pod news, yes, so, yeah, you know. So you can well see. You can well see that being perhaps a thing, and I have seen a few people talking about what would happen in terms of a distribution platform for podcasts. Could you use activity pub? Well, I mean, yes, you could. There's nothing necessarily so wrong with RSS, but perhaps activity pub is where you get some of the feedback in terms of play counts and all that kind of stuff.

Sam Sethi:

We've seen threads say they're going to use activity pub. We've seen Tumblr say it, but no one cares. But WordPress did come up with a brand new plug-in for activity pubs. I think Rollup sleeves, I think activity pub.

James Cridland:

And threads already there now, with a few of their you know users are available for you to follow in your activity pub in Mastodon or whatever. So I think that threads will be pretty soon in terms of that too.

Sam Sethi:

Now my last one is that Acast will buy one of the podcasting 2.0 apps. I think what we've seen with Acast have been pretty strong in growing their advertising platform. They went away from their app. I know it still might exist somewhere, but I don't think they've really pushed on it. But I think they will want to get into this podcasting 2.0 space again to differentiate themselves. But I think, in order to get clients using them as a full stack back to front, I think instead of building it themselves, they'll go and find one of the podcasting 2.0 apps and make it offer and buy them.

James Cridland:

And that would be a pretty intelligent thing for them to do in some ways, wouldn't it? Because it would enable them to have a bit more playback information and a bit more information around listens rather than downloads, which would be useful information to feedback even if it's a small sample, useful information to feedback into their ad services. So they do own an app. They own Radio Public, which is an app that they've done nothing with for the last three years, but they also own the person that built it for them, because it was essentially an Acquire hire, so they could take the code base of Radio Public. What they did do, of course, a couple of years ago is actually close down the Acast podcast. So you've kind of got that on one side. I guess that if they were clever, they would brand this something completely different, as they continue to brand Podchaser completely differently, but use some of their stuff under the hood. But yeah, that would be a really interesting model for somebody like Acast to end up doing. Clearly it's what iHeart has. Clearly it's what Wondery has with Amazon Music. So there's quite a lot of companies who are already doing this, so I think that might be a bright idea for them.

Sam Sethi:

Now, James, come on. That's my five. What are your five things for 2024?

James Cridland:

Well, I still think, as Dave Jones thought this year, I still think that one big hosting company will go bust and be bought out. Just one, just one. I mean, I think one big hosting company, right, yeah, so I still think it's the one that I thought about last year. Might have mentioned their name earlier on, but then again I might have edited that out Probably did Legally.

Sam Sethi:

There's always a sweating here.

James Cridland:

So but yeah, I think that there are big changes obviously in the economics of podcasting and I think particularly that means that it is going to be harder. If your company is run on an oily rag but you still have an awful lot of stuff, I think it's going to be harder. So I think that's one of my first, I think that's my first prediction for the year. What next?

Sam Sethi:

YouTube Didn't you predict that?

James Cridland:

before. Well, I think it will be Google's most successful podcast app ever, but I'm not sure how much larger it'll be than Google podcasts was. Maybe, let's say, double. So that would make it a 5% market share podcast app. I hope it's more than that, but I think unless they spend time in curation and promotion, then I think that they won't necessarily get there. I also am quite concerned about how much YouTube will also confuse advertisers and confuse audiences about what a podcast is, and I know that we you know I'm not Rod Greenley I'm not going to have a long conversation about what a podcast is and whether or not RSS is involved or any of that, but I do think that if you are an advertiser and you want to advertise on podcasts, it's going to be really confusing for you to understand what the hell is going on, with YouTube jumping into what they call podcasts and what really aren't, and similarly, from audiences point of views as well those people that aren't fully O'Fay with what podcasting is. So I'm just a little bit nervous about YouTube getting into this space properly.

Sam Sethi:

I'm more nervous that they'll graveyard it, but anyway, we will see in the end of the year. Now, james, at least one says that you just want to win for the for next year. So go on. What is it?

James Cridland:

Well, AI will be used across. Every will be used across. Hang on I think AI is going to come more and more into podcasting whether we like it or not, I think AI is going to be used an awful lot in terms of podcasting, but I also think that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I think bringing an end of a non-creative drudgery is a good thing, and I think that's where AI should be being used, but I also think that we need to be careful that we're not taking away the intimacy, the personal touch that makes podcasting successful. Similarly, I am slightly concerned, given that we're going into a year with elections in the divided states of America and in the UK. I'm slightly concerned about what that means in terms of deep fake, in terms of bad LLMs and all of that, but I'm really hoping that AI use users as a positive force for podcasting. I think that's hopefully a little bit different, yeah.

Sam Sethi:

I've seen some really good uses of it. I mean, obviously we talked about our sponsors Buzzsprout using it, I think you know Blueberry and a few other podcasts I've seen you've been using cover art, so using it in that way. So I agree, I think you know the non-creative drudgery could work. Now, james, come on. Yes, two more from me. Is this your annual one?

James Cridland:

Yes, I'm afraid the annual one. No, I've slightly changed it. The annual one is Apple podcasts will launch on more platforms in 2024. They might even launch an Android app, because they're not stupid. And the reason why I say more platforms is if I'd have said that at the end of 2022, well, at the end of last year, apple launched on Tesla cars, so I'd have won that one. So therefore, I've enlarged it slightly to say that Apple podcasts will launch on more platforms in 2024. But I still want them to launch an Android app and they're not stupid, so I'm sure that they will Right.

Sam Sethi:

Adam, you've banked another one.

James Cridland:

Yes. And the final one is I predict that the IAB will be less important to podcasting in the year to come. I think we've just come out of a couple of years of the IAB's podcast measurement guidelines, which are all about downloads. There's been no serious conversations so far as I can see at the IAB about listens rather than downloads. They finally got rid of version 2.0, although still a couple of companies are hanging on there, I notice but they've managed to get rid of the old 2.0 specification. Virtually everybody is now upgraded to version 2.1, but there have been quite a few that haven't actually made it. So I think, from that point of view, I wonder whether or not the IAB's time is numbered here, and I wonder whether the time is right for a podcast advertising bureau. So perhaps am I feeling excited enough to predict yeah, go on. Then I predict that there will be a podcast advertising bureau, a third party set off people whose job is to promote open podcasting in all of its forms to advertisers. So yes, the launch of the podcast advertising bureau, let's go for that.

Sam Sethi:

Can I just add to your one. I think this new podcast advertising bureau will use new podcast metrics. We talked about them a little bit listen time, percent complete and value paid. I actually think there's going to be a brand new advertising model where advertisers pay directly listeners for their time and attention.

James Cridland:

Well, that would be interesting. If that's a prediction of yours, then good luck. We will see. Yes now. So those are our predictions. We will hold ourselves to those and go back next year at this sort of time and see whether or not we were absolutely correct or absolutely wrong. But I think we did pretty well last year with about 50-50. So yeah, I think we did pretty well. So what's been happening for you over Christmas and New Year's end?

Sam Sethi:

Okay, I'll try to do this. We had a family gathering in my village. The village.

James Cridland:

Oh yes, the village, the village where everybody lives, everybody, who's anybody?

Sam Sethi:

Well, you know, we do a whole village boxing day games on the green, so every street has its team. And then we do stupid games like dunking the orange and hay bale races and all sorts of silly things. Then the whole Wow, this is very English, isn't? It and then, to top it all, when we're wet, cold and it's miserable, we go to the pub and stand outside and cheer each other. So, yes, that was a lovely thing to do Stand outside.

James Cridland:

Yes, yes, well, that sounds lovely. Well, I hope it was an excellent event, as I'm sure that you also hope that it was an excellent event James.

Sam Sethi:

what happened?

James Cridland:

for you over Christmas and New Year's. Well, I went to the UK, saw my family in deepest, darkest South Wales, got rained on a lot, went and saw a castle, and then we jumped on an aeroplane to Iceland. We still saw some of that volcano thing which is still going on. So that was nice. We didn't go to some of the places that we were supposed to go to because they were closed, because they were too close to the volcano thing. So, yes, so that was a thing. And then we came back, we spent a little bit of time in London and, yes, and this is why I'm sounding a little bit tired, because I've just spent time on a what time is it going out the fifth, because I'm just about to spend time on a very long plane on the way back. That's what my Christmas and New Year has been like.

Sam Sethi:

Well, well done you, and damn those health and safety people not letting you get near a volcano.

James Cridland:

Yes, how dare they do that? Possibly in the future, although we're looking back retrospectively, obviously, and that's it for this week, we'll be back on the 12th of January, which is next Friday, obviously with our normal Pod News weekly review for the first show of the year.

Sam Sethi:

You can give feedback to James and I by sending us a boost of Graham, and if your podcast app doesn't support Boost, then grab a new podcast out from podnewsnet forward slash a new podcast app. Do you agree with some of our predictions?

James Cridland:

Yes, do you agree with some of our predictions? Send us a boost or send us an email. Indeed, we would love to hear from you weekly, at podnewsnet, by the way, as our email address. We would love to hear from that just before we finish. Sam, I do notice that you have in the running order you have written a little extra. A little extra out cue from us. Yes, have you been watching the two Ronnies at any point?

Sam Sethi:

It's a Christmas special, what could I say?

James Cridland:

Oh, oh, christmas special. Yes, yes, okay. Well, we'll do it just this once. All right, once only, okay. But firstly let me tell you that our music is from Studio Dragonfly, our voiceover is Sheila Dee, we use Clean Feed for our main audio and we're hosted and sponsored by Buzzsprout. Podcast hosting made easy.

Sam Sethi:

So it's good day from me, and it's goodbye from him, until next week. Goodbye, goodbye.

James Cridland:

So it's good night from me and it's good night from him. Good night, good night. Get updated every day. Subscribe to our newsletter at podnewsnet. Tell your friends and grow the show and support us, and support us. The Pod News. Weekly Review will return next week. Keep listening.

Sam Sethi:

Yes, no one ever listens to this part. We're fine, james, you're okay.

Pod News Weekly Review
2023 Predictions and Highlights in Podcasting
Highlights and Lowlights of 2023
Podcast Industry Predictions and Issues
Predictions for Podcasting in 2024

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