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Podcasting and Predictions at PM17

Bryan Moffett

At Podcast Movement last week, a panel of thought-leaders well known to RAIN readers and Summit attendees made a series of predictions to answer questions put by moderator Bryan Moffet of National Public Media. Sarah van Mosel (Market Enginuity), John Rosso (Triton Digital), Rob McCracken (Scripps) and Rob Walch (Libsyn) were in hot seats of a panel put on by Jacobs Media in a conference track marketed to radio professionals.

Sarah van Mosel

The first prediction question was when the first fully autonomous cars (classification level 5) would be on the road, and the panel offered a wide spread of predictions. Sarah van Mosel was the most optimistic with her prediction of 2022, and Rob Walch saw farther out to 2031.

Shifting back to podcasting, Bryan Moffett asked the panelists to predict when podcasting would hit the $1-billion mark in ad revenue. Guesses ranged from 2019 to 2021 — all ambitious predictions considering that the most aggressive projection to date is $534-million in 2020, by Bridge Ratings. (That projection is not without controversy, and our anecdotal understanding is that most network execs think it’s too cautious.)

John Rosso

How about a prediction of when the infamous download metrics (of audience consumption) is replaced by a more accurate “Listen” metric? Sarah van Mosel pinned that to 2019, while John Rosso and Rob McCracken each thought that the future of podcast measurement rested with Apple’s roll-out of analytics promised this year.

Rob McCracken

Will Apple’s promised analytics platform be a game-changer in podcasting’s evolution? That question was discussed earlier in the panel. Not so much, said van Mosel, because networks have learned to cope during the many years that Apple did not participate in audience knowledge — mainly by extrapolating audience size from small samples from non-apple sources which are more informative. Bryan Moffett disagreed from the podium, noting that Apple listener habits could be quite different from habits expressed in other apps. John Rosso held middle ground with the opinion that it changes the game at least insofar as it shows the category maturing and worthy of Apple’s focus — Apple tends to focus on big things, he said.

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Brad Hill

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