In a RAIN webinar last August, Melbourne-based podcast hosting and technology company Omny Studio announced a technology achievement that seemed either revolutionary or implausible, depending on one’s perspective. Omny claimed to offer podcast listening data captured from Apple’s Podcasts app. As we wrote at the time: “The announcement was staggering, and drew many questions at the end of the webinar, because Apple’s grip on the podcast distribution market is both massive and opaque.” Many industry observers expressed disbelief in Omny’s claim.
Today, prompted by the imminent release of Apple’s own podcast analytics, Omny has unfurled a description of its previously secret method, as it prepares to withdraw its solution to cracking Apple’s black box.
The solution involves a careful analysis of how Apple’s app buffers download and streaming requests of podcasts hosted on Omny’s platform. Omny’s solution enabled the company to understand — and provide to selected clients — some details about how listeners consumed podcasts (e.g. how much of the show was heard during a streamed session) by analyzing how Apple buffered downloads while the show was streaming. Beyond that general description we cannot pretend to understand or evaluate the science.
Apple’s app delivers an estimated 65% of all podcast consumption, so Omny’s tech wizardry was a rebellious attempt to force some smart metrics out of Apple’s uninformative platform. Most observers believe that better, unified analytics of listener behavior can grow the category by supplying big advertisers with a level of campaign verification they are accustomed to in other mediums.
EarlIn June of this year Apple promised to create standard analytics for podcast listening through the Podcasts app and iTunes. The promise was for this year, and time is growing short. Omny believes enough in that promise to unveil the tech behind its own data that it has been delivering to clients for a year.