Welcome to episode 24 of the Richard Dally podcast where I bring you a UK perspective on the latest news and developments from the world of podcasting and Internet Radio
This week I look at the launch of the British Podcast Awards, some of the challenges faced by podcasters in China and three 3 hidden lessons of top podcasts that could help your own podcast stand out.
Websites and articles mentioned in the show:
British Podcast Awards launched – https://www.britishpodcastawards.com/blog/2017/2/5/british-podcast-awards-launch
Why does Podcasting in China seem to only have a limited appeal? – http://en.yibada.com/articles/190209/20170130/podcasting-china-why-limited-appeal-podcast-economy.htm
This Un-American Life: China’s Struggling Podcast Industry. What’s keeping Western-style podcasts from carving out a mobile entertainment niche in China? –[ http://www.sixthtone.com/news/un-american-life-china’s-struggling-podcast-industry
Spreaker updates download counting methodology to meet IAB guidelines – http://podcasternews.com/2017/01/31/spreaker-updated-how-it-counts-downloads/?utm_campaign=Revue%20newsletter&utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_source=revue
Spreaker Listener Analytics document – http://help.spreaker.com/kb/stats-and-analytics/listener-analytics-introduction
PodcastOne and Edison Research project looks at how effective brand advertising is in pod casts – http://rainnews.com/podcastoneedison-study-reveals-effectiveness-of-brand-advertising-in-podcasts/
Mark Ramsey discusses radio’s lost podcasting opportunity – http://www.markramseymedia.com/2017/02/radios-lost-podcasting-opportunity/
Jay Acunzo, for the Content Marketing Institute, 3 Hidden Lessons Behind Top Podcasts to Help Yours Stand Out – http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2017/01/lessons-top-podcasts/
The Launch of the British Podcast Awards, Podcasting Challenges in China and Helping Your Podcast Stand Out. Welcome to episode 24. I’m your host Richard Dally. Each week I curate and discuss the latest news in podcasting and Internet Radio with a focus on the smaller podcaster, radio host and DJ.
There have been podcast awards around since about 2005, through these have been mostly US-centric. In 2015 the UK’s first podcast awards were presented by UK Podcasters at their conference – New Media Europe. But for 2017 we now have a new set of British Podcast Awards that have been launched by Matt Deegan and Matt Hill.
Both Matt’s have been involved in podcasting for several years. Matt Hill makes podcasts Private Eye, The Week and Broadcast Magazine as well as producing podcasts such as Spark – True Stories, The Modern Mann and For Formula 1’s Sake through his company rethinkaudio. Matt Deegan organises the organises the Next Radio conference in London with James Cridland and also created the first podcast network for UK radio while working for GCap Media. Deegan is the Creative Director of the radio and new media firm Folder Media and runs a children’s radio station called Fun Kids.
They say that the aim of the awards is to discover the breakout hits that rival the most talked-about shows of recent years. The Chair of Judges for 2017 will be Helen Zaltzman. Helen co-hosts the podcast Answer Me This!, which is probably one of the UK’s most successful, and longest running podcasts.
There will be awards in 15 categories, including sport, comedy, current affairs and True Crime. There is also a category called Best Radio Podcast and a few other special categories. The winners will be announced at the end of April at a Gala event and post-show party.
The awards are being sponsored by audioBoom as well as the recording studio Maple Street Studios and UK Radioplayer. The finalists will also be featured in an exclusive podcast series which will be available through The Guardian’s website. Entries for the awards opened on 6th February and close on Monday, 6th March. To enter your podcast, you need to visit britishpodcastawards.com. It will cost you £15.53 to enter your podcast into the awards.
So what podcasts are likely to feature in these awards. Well, I think we got some insight when Matt Hill was interviewed on The Radio Today podcast by Trevor Dann. Matt said the awards will celebrate the high quality podcasts being produced in the UK and stop the UK podcast industry being sidelined by the dominance of the US. The language is all about radio and big media and I’m sure the awards will be dominated by content from radio stations, the BBC and media organisations like the Guardian. It will be interesting to see if any of the great independent podcasters can break through and pick up some of these awards.
James Cridland highlights an interesting article in his newsletter this week, asking why Podcasting in China: seems to only have a Limited Appeal? Written by Martin Millete for an website that serves the Chinese community in the U.S. as well as in the rest of the world called Yibada, this piece actually cites another article that looks at the reasons why podcasting has struggled in China.
The article is from a website called Sixth Tone which is part of the Chinese state-funded Shanghai United Media Group. So the basic question is why is it that in a country that has 560 million smartphone users podcasting has failed to break through. The article notes that about 72 million people, that’s about 5 percent of the Chinese population listen to podcasts. In the US that percentage is now over 20.
Basically it seems that lifestyle distinctions over western countries are the reason for podcasting’s limited appeal among Chinese users. Public transportation for commuters is more prevalent in China, so commuters can use other kinds of digital content on-the-go, especially videos. iTunes has only been available in China since 2009, which is four years later that most other countries had access to it. Finally, censorship is still seen as an issue in China. In the west there are lots of podcasts that tackle controversial or sensitive subjects and few podcasts of this nature are being created in China, where podcast producers may feel they need to be more careful.
Interestingly audiobooks are quite popular in China – with a higher percentage of Chinese listening to these than Americans. The article puts this down to an issue of liability, as words that come from written works rather original spoken content are easier to police. China’s largest providers of audio content may have embraced audiobooks because of this. Of course it is not just China where this question of liabilty, and of censorship is currently being debated. There have been recent articles covering this topic in Iran and Vietnam to name just two.
I think what we will see is producers outside of these countries making content aimed at them.
On the Rain News blog this week Brad Hill looks at iHeartRadio’s 2017 focus on podcasting. iHeartRadio is apparently building up its podcasting capabilities with new content, technology partnerships, and in-house leadership. Brad notes that the first step in establishing this focus was when they hired Chris Peterson as Senior Vice President of Podcasting in November last year. Peterson joined iHeartRadio from TuneIn where he was Content Partnership Manager.
On the technical side iHeartRadio has announced an integration of ART19’s API which should mean that podcast publishers which distribute on iHeartRadio get better data about audience consumption when people listen on iHeart’s platform. iHeartRadio has also been accumulating content and building other business relationships in the industry with companies such as WNYC, Panoply, audioBoom, and PRX.
They had also been making their own original content. Tagline is a conversational podcast about advertising, creativity, and culture that is being made with AdAge. The first episode of Tagline has just been published.
iHeart also plans to take advantage of the presenter talent and production assets of their 850 radio stations to launch further original podcasts.
Brad concludes his article by saying that iHeartMedia seems determined gain a leadership position in podcasting to match the consumer recognition it has in streaming radio
Some brief news from Spreaker now who have announced that they are changing the way they count podcast downloads. Spreaker will now be using the recently published IAB guidelines to determine what constitutes a “download”. If your podcast is on Spreaker then it is definitely worth reading their Listener Analytics document which provides more details about how downloads and plays are counted. You’ll find a link to the document in the show notes for this episode at https://www.richarddally.com/24.
The document discusses how this data is processed in order to better represent actual user behavior and avoid fraudulent and fake traffic. Spreaker believe they are in a unique position to do this because they are able to control their platform from end to end. Because they control everything Spreaker can see where media file requests to their platform come from and can use this to calculate downloads more accurately.
I’ve discussed the effectiveness of brand advertising in podcasts on the last couple of episodes and this week PodcastOne announced that they have completed a research project with Edison Research. This project was designed specifically to measure the effectiveness of brand advertising in podcasts and looked at product awareness, perception, whether commercials in podcasts increase how aware listeners are of the sponsor, how favourably listeners view the sponsor, and how inclined they are to buy the sponsor’s products after hearing an advert.
I’ll run through some of the findings of the research:
- More than 60% of listeners mentioned a specific grocery brand post-campaign, compared to just 7% in the pre-study
- Unaided product awareness grew from the pre-study to the post-study by 47% for a financial services product, by 37% for an automobile aftermarket product and by 24% for a lawn and garden product
- In the post-study, over one-third of respondents had a “very favourable” opinion of an automobile aftermarket product, up from 18% in pre-study. In the post-study, 22% said they were “very likely” to consider using a lawn and garden product, up from 16% in the pre-study.
- Awareness of a specific campaign message for an automobile aftermarket product increased by 60% from the pre-study to the post-study, and for a casual dining restaurant by 76%.
PodcastOne conclude that the research shows the significant positive impact of podcast advertising on brand recall, intent to purchase and the recall of specific messaging and these are certainly compelling findings. The gap here is that we don’t know which podcasts were included in the research and I wonder how much that might impact the results. There is also the question of the how much impact each advert has – I mean that a well-produced and memorable ad is going to be more effective than one that is not so well done.
Mark Ramsey has written an interesting article for his blog this week titled Radio’s Lost Podcasting Opportunity. It’s a fairly short piece but well worth a read – as always I’ll put a link in the show-notes at www.richarddally.com/24
Basically Mark is saying that there is a lot of great podcast content out there and that radio stations have an opportunity to license some of that content for broadcasting. He notes that when podcasters have reached out to radio stations with this idea they have been rebuffed because the stations just can’t see out to fit it into their schedules.
Many people think that speech content (at least in the American market) other than sports or news belongs only on AM and weekly shows can only run on weekends. The problem then is that those AM radio stations don’t have big enough audiences to justify spending money on content.
Mark believes that radio stations should be happy to take ready-made, quality content that has a track record at generating audiences and broadcast it on their platform as this could benefit those stations by giving the audience more unique and compelling programming, which will then create larger and more easily monetized audiences.
Mark then notes that there’s very little on most music stations after 10:00 pm that is better, more compelling, or more attractive than a great podcast. This of course is very apt with the current trend in the UK to cut live overnight DJs and replace them with voice-tracked music playlists. Yes, I’m looking at you BBC Radio 2!
Next a really useful piece of ‘how to’ content on podcasting by Jay Acunzo for the Content Marketing Institute. It’s called “3 Hidden Lessons Behind Top Podcasts to Help Yours Stand Out”. This is a really in-depth article which has the premise that the personal and casual feel of many podcasts belies their true nature, that a great show is incredibly hard to create.
It’s easy to start a podcast but even some huge brands have failed in their attempts to build a quality, sustainable show. The article takes a look at what makes some shows great and delves deep into the planning and production workflows they use to achieve this. While there’s virtually no barrier to entry to create and share a show, there’s tremendous friction in making that show great.
Jay breaks the article down into a number of lessons and provides good example podcasts for each one.
Lesson 1 is that, at first, format trumps talent. This is about having a plan for your show that keeps the format consistent. This planning also improves both efficiency and quality and can help you keep producing episodes when other things get in the way. The example podcast that Jay uses for this lesson is The Full Monty from Scott Monty, the CEO of Brain+Trust Partners.
Joe notes that this podcast has a really tight format that helps Scott produce episodes with minimal time and budget while still delivering a really great product to his listeners. The podcast is broken down into time blocks which stay consistent across each episode. You can read the full article to see the detailed breakdown of the time slots and listen to the episode. Link in the show-notes at www.richarddally.com/24.
Lesson 2 is that time constraints are your strength. Perhaps a little more controversial this one, as Jay asks is a 60 minute episode really necessary to deliver the most value? Jay definitely thinks not and i tend to agree with him – in fact i discussed my own thoughts on this in episode 23. The example used for this lesson is The Way I Heard It from Mike Rowe
Mike’s target length for each episode is 10 minutes. His background is in television, where time constraints are routine and he tries to maximizes every second of the show. Mike is also, like most of us, a busy man with lots of projects on the go and the ten minute format allows him to record multiple episodes at the same time – something that is hard to 60-minute shows.
Lesson 3 is to create recurring segments or content brands within the show. This is a great way to see what works and what doesn’t. You can see what your audience likes and continue to use that type of content while dropping those they don’t. Reply All from gimlet media is the example used here. Jay notes that over the time Reply All has been running the hosts have established several different content brands within their show.
Finally, jay provides a really useful bonus for podcast producers. This is the actual Trello board jay uses to outline the editorial pipeline of a story-driven podcast that he produces called Unthinkable. If you’re not familiar with it, Trello is a software tool that organizes your projects into visual boards, mimicing post-it notes. It’s designed to help planning and collaboration. At one glance, trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where. Jay says readers of his article should feel free to borrow, adapt, or outright steal from this.
Okay So That’s all the news from the Richard Dally podcast for this week. If you visit my website at https://www.richarddally.com you will find all my social media links as well as the various ways you can subscribe to this show. The show-notes for this episode are at htttp://www.richarddally.com/24
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Thank you for listening and I’ll see you on the next episode.