Today, Explained, explained: Vox enters the daily news podcast race with a comma-happy, personality-driven show

  • The choice to target the evening commute is a really, really smart one. I’ve argued this before, but I think it’s safe to assume that there might be considerable overlap between the audiences of The New York Times and Vox.com. As such, a move to complement The Daily is significantly more prudent than engaging it as a direct competitor. In any case, even if the overlap was small, the evening commute remains untapped by the daily news podcast to begin with — aside from Mike Pesca’s The Gist, of course, which isn’t really playing the same game anyway. It’s a safer, and therefore more reliable, base to build from, and besides, Today, Explained could always expand with an a.m. version at some point in the future. (Same goes with The Daily and a p.m. version, a prospect that it has previously explored with breaking news specials.
    Continue reading "Today, Explained, explained: Vox enters the daily news podcast race with a comma-happy, personality-driven show"

Can public radio powerhouse WNYC navigate a crisis of its own making?

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 150, published February 6, 2018. Good morning, all. So, while not quite breaking news, the late-day publication of a piece on WNYC’s ongoing crisis narrative has led me to rewrite and restructure the newsletter a little bit. As such, this issue is a tad messier than usual. My apologies. “The Troubles.” We’re three months into New York Public Radio’s reckoning with sexual harassment and an organizational culture that allowed for bullying and discriminatory behaviors that have especially hurt women and people of color. (See here, here, and here.) And it’s far from over. Boris Kachka, writing for New York magazine’s The Cut (where the original John Hockenberry piece by journalist Suki Kim dropped on December 1), published a whopper Monday evening that provides one of the most detailed looks at the station’s troubling history with Continue reading "Can public radio powerhouse WNYC navigate a crisis of its own making?"

Turns out people really like podcasts after all (and now we have numbers to prove it)

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 149, published January 30, 2018. One month in. When Apple rolled out its long-awaited in-episode podcast analytics last month, part of the anxiety (and excitement, really) was finding out whether, essentially, the world would end. Which is to say, whether this whole podcast thing was a bubble, a house of cards; whether perhaps many of the metrics the industry had been using to articulate, extract, and transact its value was nothing more than inflated abstraction, like the hollow vitality of a viral tweet lifted up by a golemnic army of stolen identities. You can scratch that particular anxiety off the list. Over at Wired, Miranda Katz checked in with a few publishers one month in and wrote:
Though it’s still early days, the numbers podcasters are seeing are highly encouraging. Forget those worries that the podcast bubble Continue reading "Turns out people really like podcasts after all (and now we have numbers to prove it)"

Subcast wants to bring podcast publishers and smart-speaker users together

Relay FM outlook. The independent podcast network, led by the transatlantic duo Myke Hurley and Stephen Hackett, had a pretty stellar 2017 that saw formidable gains across its portfolio of technology- and niche-oriented conversational programming. I’ve been tracking the network pretty closely since profiling them in the summer of 2016, and I recently thought to check in with Hurley, who was more than happy to discuss the past twelve months and share some numbers. “In the past we have been pretty secretive with sharing too many hard numbers about the company,” he said. “But we are really proud of what we achieved in 2017, so we’re ready to open up a little more than we have before.” (An echo of Slate editor-in-chief Julia Turner’s “happy numbers” quip from last week.) Here are those digits:

Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it

2017 proved to be an interesting year for Slate Podcasts. Most prominently, it struck a curious partnership with Studio 360 last summer, taking over coproduction and digital distribution responsibilities from WNYC (where the show had been housed since its launch in 2000) as well as physically bringing the team into its offices. The network also steadily rolled out a suite of new shows, including a Spanish-language Gabfest and a few highly-produced narrative projects. One such narrative project was Slow Burn, the Leon Neyfakh-led narrative podcast that sought to capture a sense of how it felt to live through Watergate, which I largely enjoyed and reviewed for Vulture last week. It turned out to be a hit for the company — not just as a standalone podcast project, but also as a lead-generation vessel for its membership program, Slate Plus. Even though the core Slow Burn experience is available Continue reading "Who needs video? Slate is pivoting to audio, and making real money doing it"

What the rise of the smart speaker might mean for podcasts (and on-demand audio in general)

Editor’s note: Hot Pod is a weekly newsletter on the podcasting industry written by Nick Quah; we happily share it with Nieman Lab readers each Tuesday.

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 146, published January 9, 2018. Just a heads up: I’m told that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) will indeed be publishing a 2018 update to its podcast advertising study, which means we’ll be able to get at least one contiguous read of the industry’s year-over-year ad revenue growth. As a reminder, the IAB’s inaugural podcast advertising report, which dropped last summer, found that the industry brought in $119 million in 2016 and was projected to bring in $220 million by the end of 2017. We’ll see how that projection holds up. And once again, the report’s methodology revolves around the study a bundle of major podcast publishers, which means that it’s Continue reading "What the rise of the smart speaker might mean for podcasts (and on-demand audio in general)"

Apple Podcast Analytics is finally live (and with it, the ability to see how many people are skipping ads)

Editor’s note: Hot Pod is a weekly newsletter on the podcasting industry written by Nick Quah; we happily share it with Nieman Lab readers each Tuesday.

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 145, published January 2, 2018. Happy New Year everybody! Let’s, uh, see where this one goes. Digits to start the year. As always, we begin with the question: is the industry growing, and if so, how? Here are two numbers I’m using to keep track: