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Jeff Umbro: Porsches and Podcasts

This guest column is by Jeff Umbro, CEO of The Podglomerate, and was first published in his weekly newsletter for LinkedIn called Podcast Perspective. The Podglomerate produces, distributes, and monetizes podcasts. You can learn more and connect at www.thepodglomerate.com.


Hi! I’m back, after a 4 week hiatus. I’d like to say I was on some exotic vacation that cut into my newsletter time, but I’ve been busy with other work and needed the break. But the podcast world sleeps for no one, and here we are.

Housekeeping: if I’m being realistic, the newsletter may need to skip a week here and there, and sometimes it will be a shorter issue. Thank you ahead of time for understanding.

Podcasting News & Views

Wondery For Sale

This is old news at this point, but on September 26th Bloomberg News reported that Wondery hired financial advisors to help them discuss financial options, which may include a sale. This isn’t exactly news for anyone who’s been watching the space closely – I mean the hiring of a financial firm to formally explore the sale, yes, that’s news, but it’s never exactly been a secret that venture backed content company Wondery is interested in a sale. CEO Hernan Lopez has even responded to this line of questioning on several occasions, including this interview from June on Peter Kafka’s Recode Media podcast.

In this same interview, Lopez insinuated that there were companies new to the space who were interested in the conversation. Traditionally I think folks would be pointing fingers right now at the Spotify’s of the world, but if I were a betting man I’d be looking at an Apple or some kind of legacy media company interested in diving headfirst into the space. Time will tell.

Separate from this, it begs the questions of why now, when the podcast space is shattering all kinds of expectations of even the biggest optimists in the industry.

A New Podcast Newsletter Hits the Town

I’ve been enjoying a new podcast newsletter from PodNews, Sounds Profitable, written by Bryan Barletta. Barletta hails most recently from Megaphone, and really uses his newsletter platform to dig into the business of ad tech in the podcast industry. He recently sat down to speak with another podcast newsletter writer, Steve Goldstein of Amplifi Media. I highly recommend reading the interview, as it’s an excellent resource for someone looking to learn more about the space.

Once you’ve read the interview, check out Barletta’s recent piece on programmatic advertising, and why it’s set to become the savior of the industry. I have a number of thoughts about this topic, and would love to discuss them with you fine people, but in general I think the article has a ton of excellent information worth considering.

iHeart’s Advertising Podcasts on Radio

Nothing too new here, but for those paying attention to my random mentions of iHeart’s push to drive podcast listening on their legacy broadcast platforms, this article is worth a read.

Podsight’s Conversion Benchmarks Q3 2020 Report

I promise you, this report is much more thrilling than the subhead title of this section. Podsights, the podcast attribution platform, has been tracking hundreds of podcast advertising campaigns since 2018. This report covers 800+ campaigns from 300+ brands with $38M spend across 1.6B impressions.

I don’t want to strip mine the report – anyone in podcasting should read this anyway – but I can promise you that these are the kinds of decks that will convince new advertisers to test out the space. This deck specifically will allow new and existing advertisers and publishers to lean on informed data that will explain how they can run their campaigns more efficiently, which saves everyone money in the long run.

Quake Media Launches

A new subscription podcast company called Quake Media launched this week with none of the flair or criticism that landed with Luminary back in April, 2019. The company launched with $2.5M in seed funding and, according to Axios, will launch with 6 exclusive shows that are hosted by Laura Ingraham, Soledad O’Brien, Gretchen Carlson, Mike Huckabee, Andrew Gillum, Marc Lamont Hill and Buck Sexton. (Hill and Sexton will launch a podcast together.) The platform will cost $4.99 per month or $49.99 for the year.

I personally love this idea and think it will work out really well. The difference between this launch and others like the aforementioned Luminary is the simplicity – here are a handful of easy to understand shows from household names with a simple and relatively inexpensive payment model. Sounds a lot like SiriusXM ten years back.

Porsches and Podcasts

The all-electric Porsche Taycan now includes Apple Podcasts, and is reportedly the first-ever native integration of Apple Podcasts in any vehicle. It also includes supports for Apple Music and its time-synced lyrics on the passenger-side display. Lots of other fun details here. This announcement is extra interesting because of what it could mean for other vehicle integrations moving forward – connected cars are increasingly becoming a thing, but the easier it is for folks to hit play on The Daily or Joe Rogan, the more folks who are going to listen overall. I do wonder, however, how many vehicles have existing integrations with Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, or other music utilities that have recently added podcast functionality. If any readers know, please share in the comments.

Podcast Spotlight

It’s been a while since I’ve plugged any podcasts I’ve been enjoying, so here we go.

Dust: I began listening to S3 of Dust from Gunpowder & Sky because of the provoking cover art (always pay attention to your cover art, people), but I stuck around because of the amazing storytelling. I can officially say that this was the first time I’ve gone a premium feed to listen to the entire season early (Stitcher Premium). I’ve done some poking around since then, and it seems that there’s an entire universe of Dust-related storytelling out there. I’ll likely dig into this in a future newsletter.

Dead Eyes: This is just a fun listen from Headgum. Actor Connor Ratliff dissects in excruciating detail why and how he was fired from the 2001 hit HBO Miniseries Band of Brothers, which included Tom Hanks telling him he had ‘dead eyes’. The series just launched its second season.

The Cut: Ever since their relaunch a couple months back, I’ve been loving The Cut from New York Magazine. If you’re interested in digging into thought-provoking stories about the times we’re living in from a cultural perspective with a city-centric focus, this is the podcast for you.

Thanks for reading—see you next week.

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Brad Hill

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