JetBlue Expands Free Entertainment with Spotify – and More

JetBlue, the only major U.S. airline with free high speed Fly-Fi and seatback screens at every seat, on every plane, is providing customers with even more inflight entertainment (IFE) options basd on their feedback with the launch of its newest onboard offerings from Showtime, Spotify, Inscape, and PressReader.

Starting in November of 2019, customers onboard the airline’s HD touchscreen-equipped aircraft can enjoy access to full seasons of the hottest shows from Showtime, chart-topping podcasts from Spotify, the day’s biggest headlines from PressReader, curated meditation and relaxation content from Inscape and more.

“After almost 20 years of disrupting the industry with free live TV at every seat, on every plane – we are once again re-defining inflight entertainment by listening closely to our customers’ feedback and offering even more options to make the most of their time onboard,” said Mariya Stoyanova, director of product development, JetBlue. “Whether you want to binge-watch, binge-listen, connect, disconnect, or just discover something new – you can do it from our new HD seatback screens, your own devices, or most likely, all of the above.”

JetBlue’s newest collaboration with Spotify, the airline’s exclusive podcast partner, will bring podcasts from Anchor, Gimlet, Parcast and Spotify Studios to seatback screens. Titles include Business of HYPE, Conspiracy Theories, Dope Labs, Heavyweight, The Horror of Dolores Ranch, and Superwoman with Rebecca Minkoff.

JetBlue’s newest IFE partners will complement the airline’s already-free 100+ channels of DIRECTV, hundreds of free movies and up to nearly 60 full seasons of your favorite shows, and individual in-seat USB/power outlets that are available on its Airbus A320, A321 and A321neo aircraft. JetBlue’s free high speed Fly-Fi – powered by Viasat – is capable of streaming video and is available across the fleet, with expanded coverage being introduced on A320 and A321neo aircraft that will keep customers connected even when overwater or in international BlueCities.

Sony Music Entertainment and The Onion Announce a Podcast Partnership

The Onion, the leading comedy and news satire brand, and Sony Music Entertainment announced a strategic partnership to develop original podcast content. The companies will co-create a daily satirical podcast focused on current events called The Topical, which is set to launch in January 2020.

This partnership will bring to comedy fans a whole new way to experience The Onion’s distinctive voice and insightful commentary on a daily basis across a wide variety of platforms. The Onion will oversee all creative aspects of the podcast, including writing, production, and recording.

Commenting on the announcement, Jordan LaFlure, Executive Director at The Onion said:

The Onion is thrilled to have found a stalwart ally in Sony Music Entertainment to help it dominate yet another medium in the world of journalism. A daily news podcast provides an opportunity for The Onion to access and inform billions of presumably illiterate people previously deprived of the finest reporting the world has ever known.

Tom Mackay, President, Film & TV A&R, Sony Music Entertainment said: “The Onion is synonymous with great topical and cultural satire and we are thrilled to be working with them to further expand their presence in podcasting. We look forward to bringing their highly impactful brand of humor and commentary to fans everywhere and maximizing the commercial opportunities for this exciting new comedy podcast format.”

The agreement further advances Sony Music’s creator-first approach to collaborating with unique, creative talent. As a partner in podcasting, Sony Music provides its expertise in content creation, marketing and new technology monetization to help storytellers enhance the scale and scope of their work.

OZY Media Raises $35 Million

OZY Media has raised $35 million in a new round of financing to support the expansion of its TV production, live events, and podcasting operations. Variety reported that this latest investment brings the total financing raised to date by OZY Media to more than $70 million. All of OZY Media’s existing investors – including GSV Capital, Axel Springer, and Emerson Collective – returned for the new round.

Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, led the series C funding round with participation from Interlock Partners, LionTree, Atinum Investment, iHeart Media and Tom Franco, Don Gogel and Roberto Quinta, partners in private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Lasry has joined the Mountain View, Calif.-based OZY Media, co-founded by former CNN host Carlos Watson and Samir Rao.

OZY Media was founded on the belief that more is possible and a determination about how the world operates and what lies ahead. The name comes from “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. The poem is commonly read as a warning agains outsized egos and the impermanence of power.

But the founders of OZY, Samir Rao and Carlos Watson, see it differently. To them, the poem is a call to think big while remaining humble. They admit this is an unconventional interpretation. “In a world littered with conformity, we like to see things differently.”

Podcasts on OZY include:

Briefly with OZY: A morning wake-up, smartly catching you up on the leading news stories of the day.

The Future of X: Health
: In The Future of X, Ozy fast-forward’s 50 years to explore the industries and domains that will shape our world, and some of the dreamers doing the shaping. The first topic is health care in 2069.

OZY Confidential
: Part rant-o-riffic talk from the edge, part no-holds-barred delving into the dark stuff often left unsaid. This is OZY’s newest must-listen podcast.

The Thread: (Hosted by Sean Braswell) Explore history’s interlocking lives and events. Turn back the clock one story at a time. Discover how various strands are woven together to create a historic figure, a big idea or an unthinkable tragedy.

Take on America
: Emmy Award-winning journalist Carlos Watson travels the country to moderate proactive, intimate discussions on the most pressing issues of our time.

The Daily Dose
: Every day, they profile the people, places, trends and technology that are ahead of their time and worthy of yours.

It Started with $1
: Learn from entrepreneurs who are shaking up their industries, emboldening their communities and effecting positive change who realized the value of a dollar and the infinite possibilities it holds.

Pods Up North will be in Manchester

Pods Up North is a conference for podcasters of all levels, to learn the latest techniques, get industry advice, and meet other awesome podcast creators. The event will take place on November 23, 2019, at Federation House in Manchester.

Sponsored by Spotify, it’s the first event of its kind up North and brings together the super talented and diverse podcast community for a day packed-full of panel discussions, workshops and talks with top speakers from across the audio world.

This includes BBC Sounds, Spotify, Social Chain, and Audio Boom and international, award-winning podcasts like the Two Shot Pod and The Naked Podcast.

Pods Up North is brought to you by audio geeks and podcast/radio experts Vic Turnbill (MIC), Kate Cocker (The Presenter Coach) and Ant McGinley (On The Left Side). Tickets range from £50 to £75.90. The ticket includes: lunch; tea, coffee and water throughout the day; entry to a special, pre-Pods Up North networking event on Friday, November 22; and an exclusive wrap party on the evening of November 23 (after the event).

Confirmed Speakers include:

  • Jonathan Wall, Controller – BBC Sounds
  • Craig Parkinson, Presenter – Two Shot Pod
  • Natalie Silverman, Presenter – Fertility Podcast
  • Colin Gray, founder, host – Alitu / The Podcast Host
  • Matt Deegan, founder – British Podcast Awards, Folder Media
  • Katy Leeson & Doddz, Managing Director – Social Chain
  • Amy Woods, Founder & Host – Context x 10
  • Kieran McKeefery, cofounder, CTO – Rebel Base Media
  • Mike Newman – Head of UK Content & Partnerships, Audio Boom
  • Cllr Luthfur Rahman – Lead for Culture, Manchester City Council
  • Dan Hudson – Presenter, Gay and Non Gay Podcast
  • Jenny Eells & Kat Harbourn – Presenters, The Naked Podcast
  • Mike Cunsalo – CMO,
  • Jim Salveson – On the Left Side podcast, XS Manchester
  • Adam Catterall – Presenter, Fight Disciples Podcast
  • Claire Freeman – Founder ASFB Productions
  • Melanie Harris – Director of Sparklab Productions
  • Emma Goswell – Presenter, Coming Out Stories, Gaydio

Voxnest Partners with Audion

Podcast technology company Voxnest and Audion, an audio advertising technology company based in France, revealed their new partnership today. The collaboration gives podcasts in the Voxnest network access to high quality audio ads via Audion’s advertising partners.

As Voxnest’s network of publishers and podcasts continues to grow in Europe, they sought out an advertising partner that could deliver ads to the shows utilizing their dynamic ad insertion technology. The clear choice was Audion, as they continue to pave the way for audio advertising in Europe.

“We offer a unique product to communicate more effectively in this medium,” said Arthur Larrey, Cofounder of Audion. “From radio podcasts and professional media to independent podcast producers, it’s now possible to reach millions of active podcast listeners all over Europe thanks to our technologies and services.”

Both companies focus on dynamic ad insertion, an even newer concept in the podcast advertising world. As the industry begins to recognize the benefits of this delivery mechanism – advertisers can keep their ads relevant and publishers can monetize their entire catalog – Voxnest and Audion want to be at the forefront of the conversation.

“While advertisers in the U.S. have been harnessing the power of programmatic ads on podcasts for some time, we’re now starting to see a significant amount of growth in Europe,” said Francesco Baschieri, President of Voxnest. “As we focus our efforts on this market’s rise, it’s been valuable to find a partner that not only has existing relationships with well-known brands in Europe, but is actively educating the market on the value of investing in this type of advertising on podcasts.”

NPR will Consolidate its Two Apps into One

Current reported that NPR will focus on promoting a single app for its content beginning in 2020 with a new app powered by NPR One’s technology. It appears that the reason for this change is because some people were confused about the two NPR apps. NPR hopes to start testing versions of the app by May of 2020.

NPR now offers two apps: the audio-focused NPR One, which merges national and local newscasts, news segments, and podcasts into a personalized stream; and the eponymous NPR app, which presents written news stories along with a live station stream and on-demand audio.

Both of those apps are going to merge together using the NPR One technology that combines local and national content. NPR said it aims to simplify the experience for users searching for their digital apps.

The app could include station podcasts and livestreams, and NPR is looking into creating “enhanced editorial tools” that could give stations more control over the app’s content. Other possible features include “pre-localization”, with the station-branded content and livestream already loaded on the app based on the user’s location.

This situation can serve as a lesson for podcasters who have created apps that go along with their podcast. If you are going to make one, it is important to ensure that your current listeners – and potential new ones – will immediately know that they located the right app. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for podcasters to make two apps when one will do quite nicely.

Glow Stops Processing Payments for Listener Support

Glow announced that they are no longer charging to process payments. If you use Glow to collect listener support, you will pay credit card processing fees, and nothing more.

Many podcasts, as Glow points out, create immense value for their listeners. Despite that, most podcasters are still paying to podcast. Your listeners love what you make and want to see more of it.

Unfortunately, many podcasters are not making money from their podcasts. It can take a tremendous amount of work just to put out one episode. There is a lot of time and effort spent on planning topics, recording the episode, booking guests, dealing with whatever tech issues come up, writing show notes, transcribing the show, and more.

Glow is here for you as you build your podcast business, and that starts with making listener support drop-dead simple and as free as we can make it. If you want to get started with launching your listener support page, you can do that here.

How does Glow make its money? It says it does that “by growing with you.” When you’re ready to take your membership program to the next level, Glow has built what it describes as the world’s easiest and most flexible way to offer exclusive content to your listeners.

In short, Glow is now offering two pricing plans: Listener Support and Exclusive Content.

Listener Support

Collects payments and manage a membership program
$0 per listener per month (plus card processing fees)
Custom Glow Page
One-tap Listener Payment
Apple Pay and Google Pay Integration

Exclusive Content

Offer premium content to membership
$0.55 per listener per month (plus card processing fees)
Custom Glow Page
One-tap Listener Payment
Private Feed Distribution
Feed Piracy Monitoring

Luminary Welcomes Simon Sutton as Chief Executive Officer

Luminary Media announced that Simon Sutton, former President and Chief Revenue Officer of HBO, has joined Luminary as CEO. Matt Sacks, who founded Luminary in 2018, will serve as Executive Chairman of Luminary.

This comes after a series of personnel changes at Luminary. The company debuted in April of 2019. In August of 2019, co-founder Joe Purzycki stepped down as Chief Strategy Officer. Luminary replaced Joe Purzycki with Jeff Saunders, who is now Luminary’s Chief Product Officer. Previously, Jeff Saunders was the VP of Product and Technology at

“It is hard to imagine a more perfect, positive, and transformative development for Luminary,” Sacks said. “Simon is a seasoned media executive who at one point or another ran every functional area of one of the most successful subscription content businesses in the world, consistently growing subscribers, revenue, and profit.”

In addition to successfully recruiting Sutton, Luminary also announced that it had raised an additional $30 million in the first closing of a Series C financing from existing and new investors.

Luminary was founded by Matt Sacks in 2018 with backing from NEA. NEA is a global venture capital fund with $20 billion in assets under management, where Sacks previously was a Principle focused on consumer internet investments.

Sutton’s deep expertise aligns perfectly with Luminary’s approach to world-class talent like Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brian’s Team Coco, Lena Dunham, and Leon Neyfakh, as well as Luminary’s business model.

Audio Production Awards 2019 Nominations Announced

The list of nominations has been released for the 2019 Audio Production Awards (APAs), the premier awards for production skills across radio, audiobooks, and podcasting. The APAs, sponsored by leading audiobook publisher Audible, will be presented at a Gala event on Thursday 28 November, hosted by TV and radio presenter, Tommy Sandhu.

Nominees are from across UK production talent, including audio production companies, in-house producers and freelance producers of radio, podcasts, and audiobooks. Out-of-London companies featured range from Gusman in Falkirk to Sweet Talk in Sussex, via Allergra Productions in Suffolk, and Manchester’s Audio Always and Sparklab.

Nominees include Dame Kelly Holmes, shortlisted for the “New Voice Award”, and DJ Smoochie Shy (“Best Presenter”), while producers Cathy FitzGerald and Hana Walker-Brown each receive three nominations. David Walliams is nominated for Audio Performer of the Year.

The Grassroots Production Award, celebrating working with new and diverse talent, includes nominations for the Prison Radio Association and Radio Wanno at HMP Wandsworth, alongside Carousel, a Brighton-based charity helping learning-disabled artists develop their creative lives through radio and podcast projects, and Amliah, which works with Muslim women.

One easy way to see the full list of nominations is to visit the AudioUK Twitter account @WeAreAudioUK. They have posted a series of Tweets with details about who all of the nominees are. Tickets for the Thursday 28 November event are available through eventbrite.