Thursday, September 21, 2023

Another Sign of Postpandemic Podcast Fatigue

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Surprise! I had a little holiday detour so I’m back for a two day stint before leaving again on Thursday. The TL;DR of my trip is that Sweden is amazing – let’s all move there and take our four week summer vacation and eat princess cake.

It’s been a slow week in the podcast world, but Jake kindly helped me gather some news (just kidding, he liked 75 percent of it).

Also, I’ll be at Podcast Movement next week! Drop me a line if you’ll be there too.

Report: The number of Latino monthly podcast listeners has decreased

After booming in 2021, the number of Latino Americans listening to podcasts has ground to a halt, according to a new report from Edison Research and Libsyn. However, the findings also showed significant demand for Spanish-language content.

In 2021, Edison and Libsyn reported that 36 percent of Latinos in the U.S. listen to podcasts monthly, a huge 44 percent increase from the previous year. This year, that figure has fallen to 34 percent. Gabriel Soto, senior research director at Edison, said this is likely normalization after the pandemic bump rather than evidence of an ongoing decline. Edison reported a decline in podcast listening at the start of the year, which normalized as researchers checked in last month. It is possible that this dip will also be temporary as post-pandemic habits evolve.

One bright spot, however, is that 59 percent of those surveyed said they’ve listened to a podcast before, a three-point increase since 2021. It’s not quite as high as last year’s six-point increase, but it’s not nothing!

Better promotion of Hispanic content could help Latino listening grow. A third of respondents said they had listened to a Spanish-language podcast. Elsie Escobar, community manager at Libsyn and co-founder of She Podcasts, said it’s not always easy for American listeners to find podcasts in Spanish, and podcast platforms could follow the Netflix model of promoting content in different languages. And it’s not limited to the shows themselves — a majority of survey participants said they preferred ads in both English and Spanish.

The survey also asked respondents which Latino music artists they would most like to host a podcast. Shakira took the number one spot, with 44 percent approval, with Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez close behind. Show it, folks!

Now, on to Jake (thanks, Jake!!).

Libsyn extends its advertising reach with a new acquisition

Libsyn has had a shopping spree and now the company is taking steps to expand its reach in Europe. The company announced this morning that it has reached a deal to acquire podcast advertising and hosting company Julep Media, which according to Libsyn is “Germany’s largest independent platform for podcast advertising”. Julep will be combined with AdvertiseCast and help expand the service across Europe. A price for the deal was not announced. Julep’s leadership team will remain on board for at least three years and the CEO, Steffen Hopf, will play an increased role in supporting AdvertiseCast’s international growth.

However, I’m less interested in the details of this particular deal than in the broad strokes of what it points to. Libsyn has picked up company after company in an effort to build a significant presence in podcast advertising. The company bought AdvertiseCast in March 2021. That purchase — of a platform that can buy self-service ads — appears to have been the foundation for much of what came next. Libsyn boasted portions of Podgo, which linked advertisers and podcasters in November 2021; then, in February 2022, it bought Podcast Ad Reps, an ad sales company. Both were merged into AdvertiseCast. The number of podcasts on AdvertiseCast’s network has doubled since its original acquisition, so it’s clear that something is working.

QCode will not be scripted

QCode expands from high-touch, star-studded shows to unscripted talk series. The production company announced Monday that it is kicking off that effort with three series: a “comedy true crime podcast,” a relationship advice show, and an improv show. The company is also bringing a number of pre-existing series to its network, including an animal-attack science series and a pop culture show.

This is quite a big shift for QCode and seems to signal a different approach to building IP. It will also present a new challenge in aligning people with the series – these shows don’t star big names, while QCode’s scripted fiction features actors like Brian Cox, Chloë Grace Moretz and Gina Rodriguez. In a QCode show, Matthew McConaughey plays a dog! Of course we will listen!

Spotify turns comment sections into podcast sections

Spotify is testing a unique new approach to user comments: record them. As spotted by TechCrunch, the app has added the ability to respond to playlists in the app with a recording, which is posted as a podcast. You can even edit the clip and add music to it.

I’m not convinced this will make for the most coherent comment section, but I love the possibilities here. I imagine this would be great for podcasts, allowing hosts to get listeners’ comments about an episode and maybe even incorporate them into a later show. But for now I’m just speculating. The feature appears to be extremely limited at the moment, and there’s no guarantee Spotify will roll it out on a larger scale, let alone expand what it can do. For now, the feature is available in Vietnam, and Spotify called it a “limited test.”

That’s all for today! See you next week for Podcast Movement (which is in Dallas in August!! I’d love to speak to whoever made that choice).

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