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Follow-ups to the State of Slate

Oh, looky here! A day after my Slate column, the trade pub MediaPost puts out a write-up drawing upon an on-stage conversation with Slate Group Chief Revenue Officer Charlie Kammerer at MediaPost’s Publishing Insider Summit yesterday.

Some of those major data points:

  • Slate’s audio operations — which I imagine is chiefly podcasting, but a reminder that it does have some smart speaker experiments in play — will make up 35% of its business next year. When I profiled the company in January, I noted that Slate started the year with podcasting making up 25% of its business. The MediaPost write-up notes that programmatic display advertising currently makes up 41% of revenues.
  • The Slate Podcast Network has brought in 150 million downloads this year to date. (Remember: Slow Burn‘s second season was responsible for 10 million of those downloads, as of yesterday.)

I’m not going to strip-mine the whole post, so you should click through. There’s another data points around Slate Plus, the site’s membership program. Once you get that, and once you pull all the numbers together, you get a really interesting picture of a modern, evolving, relatively diversified media organization.

I’m thinking about that picture as I read through all the coverage on Facebook quietly admitting that it inflated its digital video counts — here’s a good summary by my boy Cale Weissman — which subsequently inflated a dumb-ass incentive structure that caused more than a few media organizations, already led by horrible poker players, to make incredibly bad stupid-ass bets that led to many, many people losing their jobs in newsrooms.

Which makes me think, as well, of the various media executives I’ve met over the years at conferences and whatnot, who gave me the line that they just can’t get behind podcast metrics, while at the same time emanating a bullishness on digital video. Fuck that shit, man.

Wow I’m grumpy this morning.