Quick Hits: Podcasts stats at Slate; YouTube and Google Preferred; a Spotify interview

Brief news items and worthy reads from around the web:

Podcasts are now 25% at Slate: Podcasting is now about a quarter of Slate’s business. That’s the headline news from an interview of Editor Julia Turner in Digiday. “The big story is, we’re pivoting to words,” she said Julia Turner. “We’re going to be experimenting with all media, but we spent lot of 2017 looking at the fundamentals of the business of the written word and podcasting and found a strong case in investing in both.” Slate is also planning to expand its podcast staff, launch new shows, and separate its own shows from the Panoply podcast network it created in 2015.

YouTube tightens access to ad program: YouTube announced some changes to its monetization platform in order to better control the type of content being posted to the video service. The Google Preferred program is designed to offer ad-friendly material to promote to brands. The new changes are in response to backlash against popular YouTuber Logan Paul, who recently uploaded a video that contained the body of an apparent suicide victim and many cultural insensitivities about Japan, where it was filmed. A few other prominent personalities have also posted videos with hurtful or inappropriate content, which has raised questions for the companies using Preferred for advertising. Now, all Preferred videos will be approved by a human. There are also more restrictions on getting into the Preferred program, including 4,000 hours of watchtime generated over a year and at least 1,000 subscribers.

Programmatic and podcasts at Spotify: Brian Benedik, Spotify’s global head of ads monetization, spoke with AdExchanger about the streaming service’s plans for both programmatic and podcasts. “Everything we’ve built, whether it’s audio, video or display, we’ve made programmatic-enabled,” he said. “That allows us to not focus so much on how [brands] want to buy, but what they want to buy and what their strategy is.” The company has been moving more of its segments to programmatic space, but Benedik said podcasting selling has stayed direct.

Anna Washenko