Podbean Completed IAB Tech Lab Certification



Podbean announced that has completed IAB Tech Lab Podcast Measurement Independent Certification. Podbean can be found on the list of compliant companies, with the link to Podbean’s full report which covers download, listener, and ad delivery metrics.

According to IAB Tech Lab, “The IAB Tech Lab Podcast Measurement Compliance Program certifies that companies are adhering to the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines, released in December 2017. These guidelines establish a common set of ad metrics for podcasts and a base set of principles that any measurement system should support.” This helps to address industry challenges such as lack of uniformity in measurement systems and how metrics are defined.

“The official IAB Tech Lab certification reassures advertisers about the standardization of data provided by podcasts using Podbean’s PodAds dynamic ad insertion and Ads Marketplace,” says David Xu, CEO of Podbean. “In our continued effort to maximize monetization opportunities for our podcasters, this is an important step to help them attract more advertisers.”


Apple Seeks a US and Canada Editor for Apple Podcasts



Apple is Seeking a US and Canada Editor for Apple Podcasts. This is a marketing position that is located in Los Angeles, California.

Apple Podcasts offers stories that entertain, inform, and inspire, and delivers over one million shows to listeners in 175 countries. In addition to iOS, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Mac, Apple Podcasts also has a skill on Amazon Alexa. But we’re just getting started.

To help listeners discover their next favorite podcast our editorial team curates the service across all platforms. We are looking for a passionate Editor for our Apple Podcasts service in the US and Canada to help drive this effort. Do you have a passion for introducing the incredible creativity at the heart of podcasting to listeners? Then we want to hear from you!

You will be located in Los Angeles and report into the Worldwide Head of Podcast Editorial.

Key Qualifications include:

  • You love podcast and audio storytelling more than anything and have an extensive knowledge about the field, even beyond your personal tastes.
  • Experience (5+ years) in curation and programming in the media or entertainment industries.
  • Passion for and understanding of Apple brand and products.
  • Comfortable delivering against tight and sometimes shifting deadlines.
  • Extraordinary social and relationship-building interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent organizational skills and the ability to balance priorities at all times.
  • Ability to analyze and communicate results, analysis and insights clearly and effectively to leaders with proficiency in Excel/Numbers and Keynote.
  • Integrity, a sense of humor, and excellent interpersonal skills.

Education and Experience:

  • BA/BSc in a related field is a plus.
  • An MBA or equivalent with media marketing or marketing focus is valued but not required.
  • French language skills are a plus.

Those who are interested can submit their resume through the Apple website where the position is listed.


Higher Ground and Spotify Announce The Michelle Obama Podcast



Higher Ground is President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s production company. Last summer, it announced a partnership with Spotify to produce podcasts exclusive to the platform. Spotify has announced the first title in the ongoing partnership, The Michelle Obama Podcast.

Hosted by Michelle Obama, the show will bring listeners the First Lady’s most candid, human, and personal conversations to show us what is possible when we dare to be vulnerable. The podcast will debut exclusively on Spotify on July 29, 2020. Like all podcasts on Spotify, it will be available to nearly 300 million Free and Premium users around the world.

The Obamas formed Higher Ground to produce powerful stories to entertain, inform, inspire, and to lift up new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry. Mrs. Obama’s inaugural show is sure to do just that.

“My hope is that this series can be a place to explore meaningful topics together and sort through so many of the questions we’re all trying to answer in our own lives,” Michelle Obama said. “Perhaps most of all, I hope this podcast will help listeners open up new conversations—and hard conversations—with the people who matter most to them. That’s how we can build more understanding and empathy for one another.”

Tune in for episodes on topics ranging from sibling relationships and raising children to girlfriends, women’s health, mentorship, and marriage. An array of special guests, including Dr. Sharon Malone MD, Craig Robinson, Valerie Jarett, Conan O’Brien, and Michele Norris, will join the First Lady for each conversation.

“At Spotify we seek to connect listeners with the world’s most authentic and compelling voices,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “We believe that audiences across the globe will be inspired by these most candid, most human and most personal conversations between First Lady Michelle Obama and her guests.”


Apple News Launches New Audio Features and a Podcast



Apple announced that it is introducing several new features for Apple News and Apple News+, including audio stories of some of the best feature stories from Apple News+, a daily audio news briefing hosted by Apple News editors, and curated local news collections.

With Apple News Today, a daily audio news briefing, Apple News editors and co-hosts Shumita Basu and Duarte Geraldino guide listeners through some of the most fascinating stories in the news — and how the world’s best journalists are covering them. Apple News Today is free to all listeners and available mornings Monday through Friday directly in the News app in the US and on Apple Podcasts.

The curated collections will begin in five cities and regions and will expand to more areas in the future. Apple News is also adding more top local and regional news outlets for readers and subscribers, including The Charlotte Observer, the Miami Herald, and The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina).

Apple News will produce about 20 audio stories a week across a wide range of interests. Narrated by professional voice actors, these are audio versions of some of the best feature reporting and long-form pieces published by Esquire, Essence, Fast Company, GQ, New York magazine, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, and more, and newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal. Audio stories are now available to Apple News+ subscribers in the US.

Audio stories and Apple News Today can both be found in the newly added Audio tab, located at the bottom of the News app, where users can manage their queue and get personalized recommendations. Both new audio features are available on iPhone, iPod touch, and CarPlay.


Gimlet Media Sued for Not Making Podcasts Accessible to the Deaf



Gizmodo reported that Gimlet Media is facing a class-action lawsuit for failing to make its podcast accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. The complaint was filed in New York. Plaintiff Kahlimah Jones argues that Gimlet violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning on various podcasts.

The lawsuit, posted on Scribd, is called: Kahlimah Jones, individually situated and as the representative of a class of similarly situated persons vs Gimlet Media Inc. It was filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of New York.

The plaintiff’s argument states that deaf and hard-of-hearing people listen to podcasts just as aurally capable people do. The lack of closed captioning means that deaf and hard-of-hearing people are excluded from the rapidly expanding Internet media industry and from independently accessing podcasts posted on the website.

Despite readily available accessible technology, such as the technology in use at other heavily trafficked websites, which make use of closed captioning for hard-of-hearing individuals, such as YouTube and Netflix, Defendant has chosen to post podcasts without closed captioning, or with limited closed captioning, that are inaccessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Without closed captioning, deaf and hard-of-hearing people cannot comprehend the audio portion of the podcasts on the Website.

The lawsuit also claims that by failing to make the website accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing persons, Gimlet Media is violating basic equal access requirements both under state and federal law. It notes the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which was designed to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

Gizmodo reported that courts haven’t come to a consensus about how the ADA applies to the web. They aren’t sure if a website for a private company constitutes a place of public accommodations and therefore needs to remove barriers to entry, in the same way we expect physical stores to accommodate for wheelchairs.

Spotify acquired Gimlet Media in 2019. To me, it seems possible that the outcome of this lawsuit could also affect the podcasts on Spotify, as well as Anchor (which Spotify also acquired in 2019).


Archie Comics & Spotify to Launch Slate of New Podcasts



Archie Comics and Spotify have signed an exclusive first-look deal to adapt the publisher’s critically acclaimed and bestselling characters and stories into multiple podcasts on the streaming platform.

The anticipated slate of series will span the entire Archieverse of characters, including mainstays Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Sabrina, Josie & the Pussycats and many more and is the next part of Archie’s continued effort to expand to new audiences and story-telling mediums with its wide array of world famous characters.

“The podcast and studio space is so vibrant, and Spotify is, hands down, the industry leader there,” said Archie Comics CEO/Publisher Jon Goldwater. “Bringing the iconic Archie library of characters to Spotify is a perfect match, and we’re so excited to partner with them to explore new, compelling stories featuring our characters. It’s an amazing frontier and we can’t wait to unveil what we’ve been working on.”

The creative team at Archie Comics will collaborate with Spotify Studios on the development of multiple series, with potential for all-ages content as well as content aimed at older audiences.

Archie Comics continues to expand its multimedia offerings as the brand’s digital and print partnerships include deals with Scholastic, Comixology and Little Bee Books. It’s television deals include partnerships with Warner Brothers Television, which has produced worldwide hits including the CW’s Riverdale, Katy Keene, and Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.


Sony Music Entertainment Seeks Podcast Producer for Neon Hum Media



Sony Music Entertainment is seeking a Podcast Producer for Neon Hum Media, an emerging, passionate West Coast podcast production company that creates cinematic, top quality, and wide-appeal audio programming.

They are based in Los Angeles, and have helped create multiple podcast hits including the duPont Award-Winning Bag Man with Rachel Maddow, The Thing About Pam, Room 20, Crooked Media’s This Land, and L.A. Times Studios’ Larger Than Life.

We are currently looking for a producer with high-quality audio production and editorial skills to help develop and produce original and partner projects.

The ideal candidate for this position will bring leadership, organization, and exceptional storytelling skills to a wide breadth of podcast products.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Pitching story ideas for feature and interview programming
  • Booking guests
  • Producing and editing both talk-driven, mixed-format and documentary style segments
  • Writing scripts (examples: scripts for show and hosts)
  • Providing production and editorial support as-needed
  • And more!

    Qualifications Include:
  • 3+ years audio production or related storytelling experience
  • Experience producing audio in tight deadlines. Public media or journalism background a plus
  • Experience working with talent, including host coaching in studio
  • A clear track record of producing innovative, diverse, and complex audio works
  • Experience cultivating talent from multiple creative sectors and backgrounds
  • And more!

Those who want to know more about the responsibilities and qualifications of this job should visit the Sony Music Entertainment page where this job is posted. You can apply for the job through their website, but must sign in with LinkedIn to do that.


Spotify Adds Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts Charts



Spotify released their new Top Podcasts and Trending Podcast charts. The purpose appears to be to help listeners find their next podcast to listen to. My assumption is that podcasters will frequently check these charts to see if their podcast is on them.

The charts – which we are rolling out today in 26 markets on Spotify and mobile (iOS and Android) – will not only share the fastest-climbing-of-the-moment trends for podcasts with users, but will also list the overall most popular shows in your region based on recent listener numbers. Whether you’re looking for a tried-and-true favorite or the latest show that your coworkers are obsessing over, rest assured that these charts will help you discover them all.

Spotify points out that certain markets, including Brazil, Australia, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, the UK and the U.S., will dig further into the podcast data and separate out the Top Podcasts by category. In short, this means listeners can pick their favorite category of podcasts and see which ones are currently popular in that genre.

Top Podcasts charts will list the 200 overall shows in the selected region or category, and Trending Podcast charts will display the top 50 rapidly rising shows.

Alongside this new feature, podcasters can look forward to an updated experience in Spotify for Podcasters. Creators will get a notification on their dashboard when their podcast is charting. Then, they can turn their notifications into a visual card to share across social media platforms, alerting fans to their show’s rising status.

Overall, these new features sound like an interesting addition to Spotify Podcasts. I can see how it would make it really easy for listeners to find a new podcast to listen to. After they binge-listen to whatever new podcast attracted their attention, they might seek out other podcasts that are in the same genre.

My concern is that the Top Podcasts and Trending Podcasts charts will cause some podcasters to obsess over how to make their podcast be on them. There is potential that someone will find a way to “game the system” and get their podcast onto those list through inauthentic means. I’m hoping Spotify is prepared to monitor their new features and sift out those who are cheating.


Scripps Agrees to Sell Stitcher to SiriusXM for $325 Million



The E.W. Scripps Company has entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell podcast industry leader Stitcher for $325 million, a return of more than double Scripps’ investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The Stitcher company includes three distinct podcast business lines: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform.

Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $45 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at CAGR of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $7.6 million.

The opportunity for Stitcher and its employees to join a large pure-play audio company ensures it will expand upon its success, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

“The sale is consistent with Scripps’ track record of growing businesses that capitalize on the evolution of consumers’ media habits and then unlocking shareholder value through spinoffs, exits, and continued organic growth,” said Symson. “Over and over, this strategy has proven effective as well as profitable for the company and its shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement, and the metrics around this sale, are an affirmation of our investment-for-growth strategy. We are firmly committed to our national businesses and are enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead of digital audio, over the top and over the air television.”

Transaction highlights:

    •  Sale price of $325 million, with $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022
    • Full price representing an internal rate of return after taxes in the mid-20% range and cash-on-cash return of more than 2x, which incorporates the purchase prices for Midroll and Stitcher of $59.5 million as well as Scripps’ investments in the business over the last five years
    • Improvement in National Media segment profit and company EBITDA with the elimination of Stitcher annual losses in the high-teens millions of dollars
    • Estimated tax liability of approximately $70 million assuming the full earnout is achieved. Scripps has approximately $190 million of net operating loss carryforwards that would offset about $40 million in 2020 tax liabilities.
    • The move of all Stitcher employees to SiriusXM

“As a result of this transaction, Scripps is improving our leverage ratio through higher company EBITDA and garnering cash we can use toward debt reduction, which continues to be our highest priority,” Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance. LionTree Advisors has acted as exclusive advisor to Scripps in the sale process, and BakerHostetler is serving as legal counsel.