Voxnest Audience Network is IAB Podcast Measurement Compliant

Voxnest announced its Voxnest Audience Network (VAN), a first-of-its-kind marketplace for in-audio advertising inventory, is now certified by IAB Tech Lab for the new 2.0 measurement guidelines for reporting podcast downloads and listeners.

With VAN, Voxnest offers brands and advertisers the ability to target precise audiences through buys across bundles of content, curated based on proprietary data to deliver impressions from a specific demographic profile.

By successfully completing the IAB Podcast Measurement compliance review and being listed among a very select few who are pushing the podcast industry forward, is further proof that VAN delivers higher engagement and guarantees brand safety for advertisers.

Francesco Baschieri, President of Voxnest stated, “We created VAN as part of our ongoing commitment to increasing the value of audio publishing for content creators, advertisers and audiences alike. As audio advertising increases in popularity, having numbers that companies can trust is the first step in building a company’s credibility, and it is an honor to receive this certification from the IAB.”

ART19 Completed IAB Podcast Measurement Compliance

ART19, a pioneer in dynamic ad serving and data targeting, is now IAB Tech Lab certified for the new 2.0 measurement guidelines for reporting podcast downloads, impressions and listeners.

ART19 is excited to be one of the few hosting and monetization companies officially certified by the IAB Tech Lab. IAB version 2.0 is a guarantee ART19 is measuring podcast metrics related to content and ad delivery with a uniform, standardized approach defined by the IAB. This additional rigor ensures ads are delivered in their entirety and specific thresholds are met when measuring content.

“We are excited that adoption of the Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines is gaining momentum and that ART19 is among a group that is taking the lead by having their implementations certified,” said Dennis Buchheim, SVP and GM of IAB Tech Lab. “Through the compliance process, we’re validating that there have been a number of inconsistencies across companies and that the guidelines will significantly benefit the industry by enabling participants to speak the same language.”

Long time ART19 customer Hernan Lopez, Founder & CEO of Wondery, commented “We’ve long been supporters of the IAB V2.0 standard, and commend ART19 for becoming IAB V2.0 certified.”

“We continue to best serve our publishing clients in giving them best in class metrics and reporting,” says Dan Jeselsohn, SVP of Digital Technology of ART19. “We also know these guidelines will help advertisers reach more listeners with ease. They can operate with comfort and scale knowing there is a transparent methodology for measurement being followed.”

Pandora Launched Desktop App for Mac

Pandora announced that the Pandora desktop app for Mac is available now. The Windows version is “coming soon”.

Today, we’re excited to launch our new Pandora desktop app for Mac for listeners across all tiers of service who like to enjoy their personalized Pandora experience on their computers.

The Pandora desktop app gives users full-featured access to Pandora right from their Mac. It solves the problem of having to flip through browser tabs.

New features have also been added:

  • Keyboard controls that let you play, pause, replay, skip, shuffle, or thumb up/thumb down songs right from your keyboard.
  • On-screen song notifications that graphically display the artists albums, and song titles for the music that’s currently playing.
  • App-based controls for Pandora’s new Pandora Modes feature, which lets you customize the music you hear on your Pandora stations using selectable “modes” including Crowd Faves, Deep Cuts, Newly-Released, Artist Only, and more.

Mac users can download the Pandora desktop app for Mac now. It requires macOS version 10.10 and above. Pandora says “stay tuned” for the launch of their new Pandora desktop app for Windows.

The information about the app doesn’t specifically say anything about podcasts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the desktop app will exclude them. It has been said that Pandora (and Spotify) are hoping that podcasts will increase their revenue. Unlike music, podcasts can be streamed without requiring a company to pay for licensing fees.

AIR and Third Coast International Offer New Voice Scholarships

AIR has teamed up with the Third Coast International Audio Festival to identify and cultivate a diverse roster of early-career talent to help programs, stations and networks connect with more ears, homes, and corners of America. The Third Coast Conference takes place in Chicago every year. There is a scholarship offered to help 15 recipients to attend.

The New Voices Scholarships provides 15 recipients with funding to travel to the annual Third Coast Conference in Chicago, Illinois. It will take place on October 31 – November 2, 2019. Those interested can apply for the scholarship on the AIR website. The deadline to submit is May 31, 2019.

They are seeking 15 daring makers from all corners of the country, especially individuals from underrepresented communities and groups.

Those chosen will receive a stipend of $1,500 to attend the 2019 Third Coast Conference, a complementary one-year AIR membership, and special opportunities and support at the conference as well as through the person’s career. All New Voice Scholars are gathered for a two-day retreat on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30, 2019, before the Third Coast Conference begins.

New Voice scholars will receive coaching, professional development support, and structured networking with leaders in the industry. New Voice Scholars will also join a robust alumni network of more than 200 journalists with diverse backgrounds, craft and experience.

More details:

All producers and program makers who self-identify as part of an underrepresented group(s) are eligible to apply. The focus of the Third Coast Conference is radio/audio, but they welcome applicants from the full range of disciplines and practice. All ages are welcome, but anyone younger than 18 will need an adult sponsor to sign off on their application and handle funds.

Underrepresented voices means people who represent groups that are not typically represented in the public media ecosystem. This could be based on a candidate’s race, gender, and class background and/or also vision. The goal is to find candidates who will bring an inclusive and dynamic mix to the conference, to the New Voices group, and to the industry in general.

Blubrry has Partial Download Reporting

Blubrry hosted stats just got even better with Partial Download Reporting! You can find this brand new feature in your Stats Dashboard if you are a Blubrry Podcast Hosting customer.

Your pour your heart and passion into every podcast episode, hoping that hard work translates into a growing audience. And you track your podcast stats every episode. But how do you know if those downloads meant a listener downloaded the whole show? How do you know – quantitatively – if your audience paid attention from start to finish? Unless you know that, it can be difficult to improve your programming.

Blubrry was the first podcast host with an IAB Tech Lab Certified podcast stats platform. Partial Download Reporting is free as part of Blubrry Podcast Hosting customer’s hosted stats through 7/1/19. You can purchase this premium feature beginning July 1 (more details to come).

Partial Download Reporting helps podcasters understand their audience’s consumption patterns better. Blubrry’s proprietary system sifts through your downloaded data to determine which downloads were complete and which weren’t.

That means you’ll be able to tell when and where you might have lost your audience’s attention. Which means you have another tool in your arsenal to keep improving your podcast content, pacing, and format.

Spotify Made a “Car Thing”

Spotify created something called “Car Thing”. The purpose of Car Thing is to help Spotify learn more about people’s listening habits and preferences for the purpose of creating an unparalleled experience for Spotify users.

As you may know, Spotify acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor earlier this year. The move positioned Spotify as a premier producer of podcasts, and the leading platform for podcast creators.

Spotify points out that Americans spend 70 billion hours behind the wheel each year. That’s a lot of time spent on the road listening to podcasts and music. Car Thing is a device that Spotify will use in a test.

Here is what to know about Spotify’s test:

  • Spotify is testing how people listen in the car through a voice-controlled music and podcast device called “Car Thing”.
  • Car Thing was developed to help Spotify learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts. Spotify’s focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform – not on creating hardware.
  • The test will be done in the US only, with a small group of invited Spotify Premium users.
  • Spotify might do similar voice-specific tests in the future, which could potentially involve a “Voice Thing” and a “Home Thing”.
  • Spotify does not have any current plans to make the Car Thing device available to consumers. What they learn from the test will dictate how Spotify develops experiences everywhere you listen.

Stitcher Hired New Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Producer

Stitcher announced that they have added two industry veterans to its roster of top leaders.

Sarah van Mosel will join Stitcher as chief revenue officer, and Daisy Rosario will join the content team as executive producer. Van Mosel and Rosario will begin their roles May 20 and will be based in Stitcher’s New York City offices.

As chief revenue officer, van Mosel will lead Stitcher’s sales organization, Midroll Media, the long-time leader in podcast advertising that represents over 250 of the world’s top podcasts. She will set the company’s direction in identifying and capitalizing on new revenue growth opportunities and overseeing the partnership team.

A leading expert of digital audio sales and strategy, van Mosel was most recently chief podcast sales and strategy officer at Market Enginuity, where she oversaw all sales activity and strategic planning for the company. In this role, Van Mosel managed sales for Public Radio Exchange’s Radiotopia network podcasts including 99% Invisible, The Moth, Song Exploder, Criminal and Ear Hustle. She previously held leadership roles at Acast and New York Public Radio.

Van Mosel earned a bachelor’s degree in media studies from Goddard College and is the co-chair for the IAB Podcast Business Working Group.

In her new role as executive producer for Stitcher, Rosario will oversee some of Stitcher’s top podcasts on its Stitcher Original label including Unladylike, The Sporkful, Longest Shortest Time, By the Book, and new series Mob Queens and Science Rules! With Bill Nye.

In addition to production on current shows, Rosario will lead a team responsible for identifying and developing new podcasts, with a focus on narrative-driven podcasts and thoughtful talk shows.

Rosario earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from New York University and a master’s degree in journalism from The City University of New York.

Podfund Seeks to Invest in Creators Poised for Growth

Podfund is a newly launched startup that is seeking podcasters. It is not a podcast network. Instead, it describes itself as “a resource for independent podcasters to help you build your business.” It can help match a podcast with podcast networks, platforms, talent agents, ad sales services, and other key parts of growing a successful podcast business.

According to Hot Pod, Podfund is headed by Jake Shapiro the CEO of RadioPublic, and the startup is positioning itself as “a strategic partner” of Shapiro’s podcast platform.

Some of the podcast creators that Podfund is supporting include:

  • Hebah Fisher – Kerning Cultures
  • Jake Brennan – Double Elvis
  • Erica Mandy – The NewsWorthy
  • Malcolm Gladwell – Pushkin Industries

As always, podcast creators should read the Terms of Service of anything that they are considering becoming a part of (or partner with). Podfund’s Terms of Service was updated on May 6, 2019.

Here are some key points to be aware of:

“Our check size ranges from $25,000 – $50,000 USD, depending on your stage, track record, evidence of traction, revenue, and intended use of the funds. In some cases, we may provide a larger initial check and/or follow-on funding.”

“We have developed creator-friendly terms on a revenue-based structure that ensure you own and control your intellectual property and your business, factor in the risk and return to Podfund, and are designed to support sustainable models for independent podcasters. You retain 100% ownership of your company and are free to distribute your content wherever you see fit.”

“We agree to provide funding and services to you in exchange for a percentage of total gross revenue (including ads/sponsorship, listener support, and ancillary revenue such as touring, merchandise, or licensing) per quarter. PodREV terms are 7-15% of revenue for 3-5 years, depending on current traction, revenue, and projected growth.”

Podfund’s Terms of Service also says:

“At any time you may also opt to pay down the revenue share obligation in full as follows:

1.5x the initial funding in year 1
2x the initial funding in year 2
3x the initial funding in year 3
4x the initial funding in year 4”

“A subset of set-up services are required as part of Podfund participation, and incur a fee ($2,500 – $5,000, which may be paid from the Podfund funding). These include company incorporation, establishing approved accounting/bookkeeping, access to metrics for reporting and data (solely for Podfund use.)”

“In the event your company is ultimately sold, Podfund receives a payment of 1% of the total purchase price. So if you eventually sell your company for $100M (congratulations!), PodFund gets $1M.”

Personally, some of what is in the Podfund Terms of Services makes me uncomfortable. It sounds to me like there is an initial fee that podcasters must pay if PodFund selects their podcast – which means the podcaster is starting out “in the red” with this situation.

The Podfund FAQ states that creators must be incorporated as a business in order to obtain support from Podfund. If you are not incorporated, Podfund can help you do that. I can understand a fee for helping a creator incorporate – but I don’t understand why they want a fee if a creator comes in with their own incorporated business.

But hey, if you happen to have a ton of disposable income, and a gigantic audience – maybe you might want to try Podfund. It sounds like they can help with bookkeeping and advertisement. Part of the criteria for being accepted by Podfund is that a creator must show they have made revenue from ad sales, crowdfunding/listener support, live events, or merchandise.

In short, PodFund wants the “big fish” and does not appear to be interested in helping smaller creators with funding for their podcasts.

There Won’t Be Another PodCon

Hank Green announced on Medium that they will not be doing PodCon again. This news will probably disappoint people who were hoping to attend PodCon 3. According to Hank, Travis, Justin, Jeffery, Joseph and Monica, “The short version is: We couldn’t make it sustainable.”

The Medium blog post includes a list of the main reasons why they weren’t able to get PodCon “to a safe, sustainable place.” The reasons include:

We couldn’t fundamentally change PodCon to make it make more financial sense.

Large podcasts have a successful and sustainable business model in live show touring. “This can make it difficult to attract creators who can sell tickets without paying them the amount they would doing a touring show. We also wouldn’t want podcasters to negatively impact their livelihood just to help out for free.”

The “evening out” lie show system also works well for podcasts fans. “Many of their attendees said they would rather have an evening out than a two day event.”

Conventions are expensive to run and attend. “We wanted to run a show that paid staff a living wage, paid for the travel expenses and lodging of all invited guests, looked and sounded fantastic to audiences, and invited a variety of guests without thinking only about whether they could sell tickets, but also the value of the perspectives they could provide. We couldn’t do that in a sustainable way and we’re unwilling to compromise on any of that stuff.”

Sponsorships were extremely difficult to sell.

Those who want to go and get a piece of PodCon can visit their merch site and buy some leftover PodCon merchandise.