3 things to know in podcasting today: Thursday, December 19
Apple's intriguing new hire, Luminary x Alexa, and Podtrac's funky numbers
Apple Hires Ex-Vox Media Marketer Zach Kahn to Head Podcast PR
“Apple, by all appearances gearing up for a bigger push into podcasts, has hired Zach Kahn, formerly with Vox Media, to head public relations for Apple’s podcast business…. Meanwhile, Apple also has hired Emily Ochsenschlager, a former podcast producer with National Geographic and NPR, as a creative producer. According to her LinkedIn profile, Ochsenschlager joined Apple as a full-time employee earlier this month.
~ My hot take ~
It’ll be fun to see what Apple and Spotify do over the next year. (Pacific Content’s 2020 predictions piece has a whole section called, “Apple vs. Spotify: The Platform Wars Intensify.”) Is there an increase in platform-exclusive podcast content looming, like the streaming wars of the video world? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ But if Spotify’s massive spending really did make 2019 “the year of anxiety,” as Nick Quah writes in the latest Hot Pod, maybe 2020 will be a year of clarity around the future.
Luminary launches its subscription-based podcast network on Alexa devices
Via Tech Crunch:
Luminary, a startup building a “Netflix for podcasts,” is now trying a new tack to gain subscribers for its premium service. The company is today launching an Alexa skill that will allow podcast listeners to stream content on Echo speakers and other Alexa-powered devices, using voice commands. In addition, Luminary is also becoming the first podcast service to offer premium subscriptions by way of Alexa voice requests.
~ My hot take ~
It’s a shame that a couple of missteps became the story around Luminary’s launch earlier this year. I may regret saying this later, but I think that it would be good for the industry to see Luminary succeed. If it can become a robust competitor to Apple and Spotify, creators may be able to pit the big platforms against each other in negotiations with distributors to secure better deals. Hopefully this Alexa initiative somehow entices people to subscribe.
Is Hot Hollywood really the #5 podcast in Podtrac?
Preloading the audio looks, to Podtrac, as a “play”. But it isn’t. Not really. The hundreds of thousands of visitors to every single story on the Us Weekly website have looked, to Podtrac, as hundreds of thousands of podcast plays…. I’ve let Simplecast and Podtrac know of these findings. It’s nothing deliberate that I can see. But - is Hot Hollywood really #5 in the most-downloaded podcasts from Podtrac? No - sadly, it appears that it’s also counting every single pageview from Android users.
~ My hot take ~
I’m interested in hearing how Podtrac responds to this. Hopefully they get this corrected and we get analytics that are truly reflective of what they claim to track. Relatedly: Will 2020 be the year more publishers decide to adopt IAB 2.0? Advertisers hope so, at least.
A bonus tweet from me ↓
Here's a (probably incomplete) thread of (other people's) podcast/audio predictions for 2020 (Twitter)
3 things to know in podcasting today is a daily newsletter about the three most interesting things in the podcast industry, plus hot takes from Alex Kapelman. I got my news today from Google News Alerts, PodNews, and Inside Podcasting. Follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my *original* Podcast Love newsletter, or hire me to consult for you.