Immediate Media Co Joins Megaphone And The Spotify Audience Network

Immediate Media Co, the special interest content and platform company, has announced a partnership with Spotify’s Megaphone to host its award-winning podcast portfolio. From March 2023, Immediate Media’s podcast shows will be hosted and monetized through Spotify’s enterprise podcasting platform, Megaphone.

Megaphone is the industry-leading podcasting platform for enterprise publishers and professional podcasters globally as it offers a comprehensive set of tools that enable publishers to publish, monetise, and grow their podcast businesses. With 489 million MAUs, Spotify is the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service. In the UK, Spotify reaches more than half of the online population.

As the UK’s leading publisher podcast producer, Immediate’s output includes the HistoryExtra podcast – which recently celebrated 200 million downloads – Radio Times’ View From My Sofa, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Podcast and the BBC Good Food Podcast with Tom Kerridge.

Immediate produced 750 podcast episodes across its portfolio last year, with 12 ongoing series across its brands and 5.5 million downloads per month. Partnering with Spotify will further increase the reach and profile of Immediate’s content, driving innovation and commercial growth.

The Immediate podcast portfolio features a range of expert voices and high profile guests, alongside Tom Kerridge on BBC Good Food, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Podcast features Alan Titchmarsh, Monty Don, Adam Frost, Francis Tophill and Art Anderson with guests including Michael Mosley, Dame Judi Dench, Joe Lycett, and Deborah Meaden, and the BBC Good Food Health podcast which in January hosted Nutracheck’s expert nutritionists.

HistoryExtra features interviews with notable historians on topics spanning ancient history through to its historical conspiracies and events shaping our modern world. Episodes feature historical perspectives on everything from Tudor monarchs, The D-Day landings, and a 5,000 year history of tattoos.

Top names from the world of TV film and entertainment include Jed Mercurio, Helen Fielding, KSI, Letitia Wright, Louis Theroux, Stephen Fry, and Daniel Radcliffe have all joined Radio Times’ View From My Sofa.

Olive magazine’s podcast has the latest foodie trends, travel tips and hacks every week, whilst the new Top Gear series features high profile names from the world of motor sport, including Jenson Button.

Sean Cornwell, Immediate’s Platforms CEO, says: “Immediate has been consistently growing our podcast output, reach and revenues over the last few years, and our partnership with Spotify will help further accelerate this growth. The combination of our trusted brands and quality content is continually attracting new audiences and this partnership will enable us to significantly scale our proposition.”

Chelsea Bradbury, Head of UK Publisher Partnerships at Spotify says: “Over the past year, we’ve been focused on strengthening Megaphone’s already robust offering to ensure it remains the best place for publishers to understand and grow their audiences and monetise their content. We are thrilled to partner with Immediate Media and we believe these tools will play a critical role in helping them accelerate their growth.”

Spotify’s Max Cutler To Depart In May

Max Cutler – the executive who oversees Spotify’s exclusive deals with top creators like Joe Rogan, Call Her Daddy’s Alex Cooper and Emma Chamberlain – will leave the company in May, a Spotify spokesperson confirmed The Hollywood Reporter.

Cutler’s exit comes shortly after Spotify announced a reorganization on Jan. 23 that led to the departure of Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and ad business officer, and the promotions of Alex Norström and Gustav Söderström to the co-president positions.

With Cutler’s pending departure, Julie McNamara will now take over leadership of Spotify’s exclusive licensing deals with creators like Rogan, Cooper and Chamberlain in addition to continuing to lead original content and major studio partnerships. Bryan Thoensen, who joined Spotify late last year from TikTok and initially reported up to Cutler, will oversee content partner strategy outside of the U.S., will be responsible for podcast monetization across Spotify’s portfolio of content. He will continue to lead The Ringer.

McNamara, Thoensen and Simmons will all report up to Sahar Elhabashi, the head of Spotify’s podcast business; Elhabashi reports up to Norström, whose purview includes Spotify’s content business.

As for Cutler’s exit, the timing appears to follow a typical four-year earn-out cycle for M&A deals, though Spotify declined to comment on the specific timing of Cutler’s situation.

Bloomberg reported Max Cutler, Spotify Technology SA’s head of audio talk shows and partnerships, is leaving the company to start a new venture.

He plans to leave on May 1 according to a company spokesperson and a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. His exit follows by nearly a month the departure of Dawn Ostroff, who oversaw content and advertising, and a subsequent reorganization of the podcast team. In a comment Tuesday, Spotify said Cutler’s departure will be accompanied by a further reorganizing of the business.

According to Bloomberg, Cutler, who founded a podcasting business acquired by Spotify, plans to start a new business, according to his memo. Details on the new venture weren’t immediately available. In a memo to staff, Cutler said he believes the “future is bright at Spotify.”

Spotify Partners With Pod Live Sport

Spotify has been announced as the lead sponsor for Pod Live Sport, the UK’s inaugural Sports Podcast Festival taking place at Kings Place, London on February 8th – 12th 2023.

Among the line-up are an array of sporting legends and award-winners, with Premier League icons Ben Foster and Ian Wright hosting live-editions of their shows, Fozcast and Wrighty’s House respectively.

Also joining the lineup of live shows will be The Rugby Pod – the most listened to rugby podcast in the world – with regular hosts Andy Rowe, Big Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode set to be joined by special guests for a Six Nations discussion.

Spotify’s leading Original & Exclusive podcasts will headline the festival, with Wrighty’s House and The Rugby Pod live on Thursday 9th February, followed by Fozcast on Friday 10th February.

This will mark Fozcast’s first ever foray into live shows, with previous guests including cult heroes Trot Deeney, Sean Dyche and Kasper Schmiechel. The pod will be bringing an exciting range of guests that include top level athletes, content creators and people with interesting stories to share.

Finally, the hosts of Wrighty’s House x Stadio x Counter Pressed – Ian Wright, Musa Okwonga, Ryan Hunn, and Flo Lloyd-Hughes – will unite at Pod Live Sport to discuss football’s big talking points in a podcasting mash-up that dreams are made of.

Ben Foster, host of the Fozcast said: “We’re absolutely buzzing to be playing our first ever live show and bringing the Fozcast live to our fans for the first time. Who knows what might happen when we try this live, so It should be eventful whatever happens.”

Alex Aden, Senior Partnerships Manager, The Ringer (UK) at Spotify said: “Sport is massive for us at Spotify, and The Ringer boasts some of the best sports podcasts in the UK. We’re looking forward to showcasing these at Pod Live and being a part of the first ever live sports podcast festival to be held in the UK.”

Fan favorites including: The Socially Distant Sports Bar, The Race F1 Podcast, The Cycling Podcast, BBC’s Fighting Talk and the Sports Podcast of the Year 2022, Morning Kombat will also be at Pod Live Sport, with fans and listeners interested in attending able to visit www.pod-live.com to buy tickets.

Spotify Adds New Bundle For Megaphone Publishers In Europe

Spotify is forging a path to modernize audio advertising in order to deliver more impact for advertisers and drive growth for creators and publishers. Over the last few years, we’ve launched game-changing ad tech like Streaming Ad Insertion, and the Spotify Audience Network, and welcomed podcast platforms Megaphone, Podsights and Chartable to the Spotify family. These advancement not only strengthen Spotify’s podcast prowess; we believe they’ll help the entire industry reach new heights.

At the same time, we are investing in growing our international ads business, specifically in Europe, growing our teams and introducing products in the region to help us achieve this goal. In the U.K., we’ve expanded our Megaphone business development team, with Chelsea Bradbury leading as Head of U.K. Publisher Partnerships.

We are continuing this momentum with the introduction of a new bundle for Megaphone publishers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The bundle grants them free access to both Chartable and Podsights – all while maintaining Megaphone’s current price points.

Here’s what this bundle means for podcast publishers:

Chartable is our podcast analytics platform that enables publishers to know and grow their podcast audiences through promotional attribution and audience insight tools.

Podsights is a leading podcast advertising measurement service that helps advertisers better measure and scale their podcast advertising.

Through this suite of offerings, publishers will be able to easily apply key analytics and measurement solutions across their entire podcast business.

Megaphone publishers in these markets will now have access to Chartable, allowing them to access unique audience insights and deeper understanding of their promotional campaigns with SmartPromos and SmartLinks.

With Podsights, publishers will be able to tap the platform’s powerful ad attribution tools. This will enable them to measure the impact of ad campaigns running in their podcasts, proving the value of their content and driving the greater advertiser market.

At this time, Megaphone clients will need to access Podsights and Chartable separately from the Megaphone platform. Over time, Spotify intends to make it possible for Megaphone users to tap into these tools directly with the Megaphone experience.

Nina Harvey, International Head of Publishers and Business Development at Spotify: “Over the past year, we’ve been focused on strengthening Megaphone’s already robust offering to ensure it remains the best place for publishers to understand and grow their audiences and monetize their content. We are laser focused on helping European podcast publishers grow their businesses and we believe these tools will play a critical role in making this happen.”

We are also thrilled to share that the UK’s Reach is the latest publisher to join Megaphone. Reach is home to more than 130 national and local media brands, reaching 80% of the UK online population. Reach’s podcasts generate an average of 1.7 million monthly worldwide downloads with a strong focus on Sports and Entertainment. Reach’s best known and most listened to weekly shows include Blood Red: The Liverpool FC Podcast, Everything is Black and White, a Newcastle United Podcast, and Pod Save The King, which focuses on Royal family news, interviews, and fashion.

Reach will be part of the Spotify Audience Network, our audio-first advertising marketplace that makes it possible for advertisers of all sizes to connect with listeners across a broad range of content on and off Spotify. Megaphone podcast publishers who have opted in to the network have seen meaningful improvement in their ability to effectively monetize their content.

Leslie Harris, Head of Digital Partnerships, 3rd Parties and AV at Reach: “We are very excited to join Megaphone and the Spotify Audience Network at a key moment in our podcast growth cycle as we gain momentum in the market. We look forward to witnessing its acceleration through this new partnership.”

Spotify And IAS Establish A Brand Safety Solution For Podcast Advertisers

Spotify and Integral Ad Science (IAS) announced a new partnership to establish third-party brand safety solution for podcast advertisers. The companies will embark on a rigorous analysis to help the industry understand the tools and resources necessary to effectively deliver brand safety in podcasting and digital audio writ large.

Ultimately, the firms intend to create the industry’s first third-party brand safety and sustainability reporting tool to bring more transparency and confidence to podcast advertising. Global media agency UM Worldwide will be part of the learning and development process as the first holding company to test this solution, ensuring that the voice and needs of advertisers are considered from the outset.

Podcast as spend has grown rapidly over the past few years alongside an influx of listening worldwide. In fact, podcast ad revenue surpassed $1 Billion in 2021 and is forecasted to almost triple to more than $4 Billion in 2024. As investment and innovation in podcast advertising has surged, so has the importance of ensuring suitability for advertisers. There are well-established brand safety guidelines and technology across the digital advertising ecosystem, most notably in video; however, these do not yet exist in audio. Creating a third-party solution for this now mainstream medium is critical to maintain advertiser confidence and continued media spend.

To solve this challenge, Spotify and IAS are embarking on a joint effort to better understand how to responsibly and effectively validate that advertiser messages are served in their intended context for podcasts. In the future, the results will be used to create a first-of-its-kind brand safety and suitability tool to aid in campaign planning, management, and reporting.

The solution will be powered by Spotify’s first-party data and verified by IAS’ independent analysis solutions based on the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s categories and guidelines. Their initial efforts will focus on third-party content within the Spotify Audience Network.

“Spotify pioneered the digital audio landscape as we know it today and we’re excited to continue our leadership here as we rise to the next challenge: brand safety,” said Julie Clark, Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s categories and guidelines. Their initial efforts will focus on third-party content within the Spotify Audience Network.

“Spotify pioneered the digital audio landscape as we know it today and we’re excited to continue our leadership here as we rise to the next challenge: brand safety,” said Julie Clark, Global Head of Advertising Revenue Innovation at Spotify. “We are pleased to be partnering with IAS – one of the most trusted leaders in media – to give advertisers confidence that their messages are heard in the right place while further validating the contextual targeting solutions we already have in the market.”

“Partnering with Spotify and UM to develop a podcast brand safety and sustainability solution will be a transformational step for advertisers targeting the audio space,” said Yannis Dosios, Global Chief Commercial Officer at IAS. “With podcasts expected to reach more than 500 million listeners worldwide by 2024, this solution will offer advertisers more control and confidence that their messages will deeply resonate with their intended audiences.”

“Podcasts have hit the mainstream in a big way and our clients are ready to increase their investment in the space given the undeniable opportunity to connect with audiences; however, without a way to validate brand suitability across the depth and breadth of shows, they are hesitant to go all in,” said Joshua Lowcock, Global Chief Media Officer at UM Worldwide. “We’re pleased to see Spotify and IAS step up to create a brand safety solution and are ready to work with them during the building and testing phase to ensure advertisers’ needs are addressed from the start.”

CuriousCast Podcast Network Joins Spotify Podcast Platform Megaphone

Corus Entertainment’s award-winning podcast network Curiouscast announced that it will be joining Megaphone, Spotify’s enterprise podcasting platform, to host its full lineup of podcasts. In addition to hosting all Curiouscast podcasts on the Megaphone platform, Spotify will have access to select Curiouscast inventory to monetize via the Spotify Audience Network.

The Spotify Audience Network is an audio-first advertising marketplace that makes it possible for advertisers of all sizes to connect with listeners across a broad range of content on and off Spotify. Megaphone podcast publishers who have opted in to the Spotify Audience Network have seen meaningful improvement in their ability to monetize.

“Working with Spotify and Megaphone is the next step in our evolution as a network. We are excited to be working together to grow our audiences and provide for new opportunities for our advertisers both in Canada and around the world,” said Chris “Dunner” Duncombe, Director of Streaming and Podcasting, Curious/Corus Entertainment.

“Audiences worldwide are tuned into digital audio at record rates and the numbers are rising,” said Emma Vaugh, Head of Advertising Business Development & Partnerships at Spotify. “Digital audio consumption surpassed radio for the first time in Canada last year according to a recent eMarketer study. Given this growth, we’re thrilled that leading publishers like Curiouscast are leveraging best-in-class tools across both Megaphone and the Spotify Audience Network to better monetize and measure their content.”

The award-winning Curiouscast network launched in 2018 and is home to internationally recognized brands with diverse audio storytelling, including: Edward R. Murrow International Podcast Award and RTDNA winners Crime Beat (now adapted for TV on Global News and Hulu) and 13 Hours Inside the Nova Scotia Massacre; the #1 Canadian-produced music podcast, The Ongoing History of New Music; and 2020 Canadian Podcast Award winners Dark Poutine, History of the 90’s, as well as Nighttime, The Peak Daily, Escaping Denver, Marsfall, and RTNA winner Global News What Happened To.

Spotify Allows Creators in Select Markets to Publish Video Podcasts

Spotify began activating Video Podcasts for Creators on a limited basis last Fall. Now, Spotify is allowing podcasters the option to accompany their audio with visual components.

As this audience grows, Spotify is also opening up the Video Podcast capability to more creators. This was announced on April 21, 2022.

Starting today, we’re expanding Video Podcasts on Spotify to all creators in the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, and the U.K. Creators will have the ability to upload their video content to Spotify through Anchor as easily as they already publish audio.

In addition, Spotify is adding new features to help set up creators for success.

New features include:

Access for everyone: Starting now, creators in these five markets can find Video Podcast uploading capabilities on Anchor’s web platform. We plan to roll this out to additional markets in the future.

Podcast Subscriptions: Spotify Podcast Subscriptions will be available for video podcasts, empowering creators to own their monetization models by creating exclusive content, gating video, and more. Stay tuned – we’re working on more monetization features to come soon.

Integration with Riverside: Now, when you embed a Video Podcast episode from Spotify, the video will play directly in the embed player wherever you placed it. It’s a great tool – whether you’re excited to share great content with friends or grow your audience.

Video Bulk-Replace: Bulk-replace allows Anchor creators to easily replace their existing audio episodes with video versions from an easy-to-use interface. Get ready for more time creating content and less time editing it.

Video Analytics: Video-specific analytics will give creators deep insights into their videos’ performance on Spotify, enabling them to better understand their audiences and publish content suited to them.

Interactive capabilities: Our interactive podcast features, like Polls and Q&A, will be available for Video Podcasts so creators can connect with and get feedback directly from their listeners.

Obamas To Leave Spotify To Seek Podcast Deal Elsewhere

Former President Barack Obama, and Former First Lady Michelle Obama, will not renew their exclusive partnership with Spotify, according to three people familiar with the matter. Bloomberg appears to be the first to report this news.

The former first family’s production company, Higher Ground, won’t be signing a new deal with the audio platform according to people familiar with the negotiations. The company is instead talking to other distributors about a deal worth tens of millions of dollars, among the most-lucrative in the podcasting business.

According to Bloomberg, Higher Ground is in the middle of negotiations with several potential partners, including Amazon.com Inc’s Audible and iHeartMedia Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are private. Higher Ground is seeking a deal that will allow it to produce several shows and release them on multiple platforms at the same time. Bloomberg reported that this could explain iHeart’s interest given that it hasn’t historically relied on an exclusive strategy for its podcasts.

Spotify and Higher Ground partnered in June of 2019. Under the Higher Grounds partnership, both Obamas would develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts, connecting them to listeners around the world on wide-ranging topics. The multi-year agreement was with Higher Ground Audio, an expansion of the Higher Ground production company that would oversee the move into podcasts.

In 2020, Higher Ground and Spotify announced The Michelle Obama Podcast. The show was hosted by Michelle Obama, who brought in special guests to discuss topics like sibling relationships and raising children to girlfriends, women’s health, mentorship, and marriage. Bloomberg reported that The Michelle Obama Podcast was one of Spotify’s five most popular podcasts in 2020.

CNN reported in 2021 that Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen have teamed up to host a podcast about masculinity, race, fatherhood, and their professional and personal journeys. The podcast was called Renegades: Born in the USA and was part of a multi-year partnership between Spotify and Higher Ground.

The Verge reported that it is unclear if the controversy with the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast, and/or the musicians who removed their work from Spotify, contributed to the Obamas’ decision to look for hosting elsewhere.

Considering everything I’ve read about this news, it sounds like Higher Ground is interested in creating and producing podcasts that will not be exclusive to Spotify. It also appears that Spotify is either hesitant about that deal, or is not interested in podcasts that will not be exclusive to their platform.

Parcast Union Reaches Tentative Deal on First Contract with Spotify

On April 6, 2021, Parcast tweeted: “After months of regular meetings, late-night emails, private calls, & full unit efforts, we’re proud to announce we have a deal. We couldn’t have done it without the consistent support of our colleagues. It’s been a worthwhile journey, and we thank all who helped us fight. #1u”

A follow up tweet said: “Our deal is subject to ratification. Details coming soon!”

The Hollywood Reporter provided more details:

Seemingly averting a threatened strike, a union at Parcast has reached a tentative agreement with Spotify and Parcast management on a first contract covering the podcast studio’s content writers, fact-checkers, producers, researchers and other workers.

The Parcast Union – which is affiliated with the Writers Guild of America, East – announced the deal on Wednesday night, their final day of bargaining with the music streaming giant and the Spotify-owned podcast studios and are not yet disclosing terms of the tentative agreement.

The deal will now be scrutinized by the Parcast bargaining unit and will subsequently be voted on by the WGA East Council and the bargaining unit. The deal terms are expected to be similar to those in contracts for WGA East-affiliated podcast unions The Ringer and Gimlet, companies that are also owned by Spotify.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, The tentative deal arrives about a year and a half after Parcast workers first announced they were unionizing in September 2020, with the hopes of making changes to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, workers’ workloads, role transparency and compensation and intellectual property policies. About a month later, Parcast voluntarily recognized the union and, according to the union, bargaining on a contract subsequently took place over 15 months.

The Parcast union is not the only one represented by WGA East. It also bargains for workers at Spotify-owned The Ringer and Gimlet Media. Those two unions ratified their first contracts in 2021. In February, a WGA East-affiliated union at iHeartPodcast Network won voluntary recognition from management.

Spotify’s Podcast Platform Megaphone Welcomes Two Leading French Publishers

Spotify’s Megaphone, one of the world’s leading podcast publishing and advertising platforms for enterprise publishers, continues its expansion in France by welcoming Bababam and Choses à Savoir, two of the leading French publishers. This comes as the podcast market in France is booming:

According to podcast analytics firm Chartable, podcast downloads in France grew 76% between 2020 and 2021.

This growth has continued in 2022 with unique podcast downloads increasing 46% YoY in February 2022 vs February 2021.

What’s more, per a May 2021, IAB Europe report, ad spend on podcasts across Europe is expected to grow by more than 50% to over €200 million 2023.

It is in this context that publishers Bababam and Choses à Savoir have chosen Spotify’s Megaphone to provide a single service for all their podcasting needs, from creation to monetization to analysis. As part of joining Megaphone, these two publishers will be the early testers of the Spotify Audience Network in France. This means that Spotify will be unlocking more advertiser demand for Bababam and Choses à Savoir, driving increased monetization for their businesses while helping advertisers target more French podcast listeners. The Spotify Audience Network will be available to all French advertisers later this year.

“We are delighted that two of France’s leading publishers, Babamam and Choses à Savoir, have chosen Megaphone by Spotify as their podcast platform of choice. Megaphone formally launched in France just a few months ago and we’re pleased with the momentum the platform has seen in this important market. We’re ready to serve more enterprise podcast publishers across Europe with our robust, differentiated offering and help them to grow their business,” said Emma Vaughn, Global Head of Advertising Business Development & Partnership at Spotify.

“Bababam was created with the conviction that it was necessary to democratize the podcast. We do everything possible to offer ambitious and popular productions to the general public. This partnership with Spotify’s Megaphone was therefore logical given its weight in the market and its position as a rallying point for the ecosystem. Bababam Originals recently produced Noises, voted best native podcast of 2020 at the Salon de la radio, and Silencio, a critically acclaimed series starring Zita Hanrot and Alban Lenoir, among others,” explains Pierre Orlac’h, founder of Bababam.

“At Choses à Savoir, the most listened to native podcast network in France, we are happy to join Megaphone, whose service meets all our needs in terms of creation, analysis and monetization. This collaboration will allow us to accompany our development, the rapid growth of our audience on the 20 Choses à Savoir podcasts, and to ensure our mission: sharing knowledge with the greatest number of people.” Louis-Guillaume Kan-Lancas, founder of Choses à Savoir.