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Inside Podcasting (Sep 13th, 2017)

Spotify has hired digital-media vet Courtney Holt as vice president and head of Spotify Studios and Video, luring him away from Disney. The hiring of Holt came less than a week after Spotify announced that former head of content partnerships Tom Calderone had left the company. Holt will work out of Spotify's Los Angeles offices and report to Stefan Blom, the company's chief content officer. Prior to the move, Holt had been with Disney since 2014. He came over as part of the management team for Maker Studios, the digital content firm Disney purchased that year. Disney promoted Holt to CEO of Maker Studios in 2015. – VARIETY

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Left-leaning podcasts have made huge strides in popularity since the election of Donald Trump. Podtrac's list of the most popular US podcasts doesn't mention a single conservative podcast, but shows huge listenership for the left-leaning "Pod Save America" show as well as the "NPR Politics Podcast." "Pod Save America," the brainchild of former Obama administration speech writers Jon Favreau and Jon Lovett (as well as administration spokesman Tommy Vietor) draws an audience comparable to household-name cable shows like "Morning Joe" and "Anderson Cooper 360." The Week's David Faris compares the rise of liberal podcasts to the earlier domination of mainstream talk radio by conservative hosts, beginning in the late 80s with Rush Limbaugh. Similar attempts to launch left-leaning radio shows were often spectacular failures, but podcasting represents a new frontier as well as a younger audience. – THE WEEK

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Hollywood is beginning to make a habit of adapting podcasts into TV or film content. Vice's David Bienenstock talks to "Lore" creator Adam Mahnke and Amazon's Conrad Riggs about that show's upcoming TV series adaptation for Amazon. Riggs says what he looks for in a property to adapt is a growing audience rather than a fixed large audience, "because that's the best indicator that you're on to something that's resonating with people right now." Chris Gilberti of Gimlet media says, "There's a very real business here that people haven't been paying attention to. Studios, directors and producers – really the whole TV and film community – is coming to see podcasting as a treasure trove of great stories and storytellers." Recent adaptations of "2 Dope Queens" and "Homecoming" are also forthcoming. – VICE

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Lee Nadler, marketing communication and launch manager for Mini USA, says podcasts represent a great way for brands to be part of personal stories from regular people. “Everybody nowadays is trying to tell stories... It’s a very personal medium. You’re kind of being part of the discussion, one where the marketer doesn’t interrupt the experience but adds to it." Nadler made the comments recently at the third IAB Podcast Upfront in New York. IAB's president, Randall Rothenberg, kicked off the conference by quoting PriceWaterhouse Coopers statistics saying that podcasting will bring in $220 million in revenue this year, which represents an 85 percent increase from 2016. – ONLINE VIDEO

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MEASURING PODCAST ROI

Marketing-savvy podcasters know that the big payoff of producing a show can be seen in the return-on-investment, or ROI, but how do you measure it?

The first step to determining the ROI of any podcast is to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to be used for measurement. While it’s easy to look at number of downloads, you can go a little deeper by determining who is actively listening to your content. Depending on the relationships you’ve established with your audience, you may receive emails, tweets and reviews on a regular basis – these can all be considered KPIs. Looking to these KPIs each week can give you a sense of how your podcast is performing.

Another way to determine your ROI is to look at your ad revenue (assuming your podcast generates a profit). Your bottom line will always be a way to gauge the overall success of your podcast, if your primary goal is to monetize your efforts. Consider the following formula: revenue generated (minus) expenses (divided) by production hours. This can be used to determine the hourly ROI of any podcast.

However, this might not be an option for all podcasters – hobbyists may not have advertisers. They might not even have a large enough audience to gauge engagement via KPIs, such as emails or tweets. How can you measure your ROI if you fall into this boat?

In these instances, it might be a good idea to look to the statistics available through your publisher. Whether you use Libsyn, Podbean, or another podcast host, these platforms often offer statistics beyond weekly download totals (although some may charge a fee for more detailed data). Don’t rule out establishing your own KPIs to gauge your success over time, such as monthly download totals, to measure ROI in the form of growth.

– @kavermes

 

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