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Insider: December 10, 2020 — Edison’s “Super Listeners” Report 2020, Meet Cute raises $6.25M Series A, Revolving Door Inbox

Edison Research’s “Super Listener” Report, 2020 Edition. I’m not the biggest fan of “super listeners” as a term — too much dad rock in there, as much as I personally enjoy dad rock — but the demographic concept itself is incredibly useful. Podcasting, after all, has historically been associated with the intensity of its following, and its most engaged listeners serve as both a strong baseline to track the medium’s growth as well as a worthwhile canary in a coalmine. Also: Edison Research’s podcast survey work remains the gold standard for getting a sense of what this community looks like on a broad level, so they get to use whatever term they want.

Edison’s latest annual “Super Listeners” report — its second — dropped this week, and as always, I recommend going over the entire survey study even if you don’t work in the sales or advertising side, if only for all specific details worth clocking away to refine the picture in your head about the kinds of people who develop the strongest relationships with the medium.

As always, I recommend going over the entire report of this survey study targeting highly engaged podcast consumers, even if you don’t work in the sales or advertising side, because there’s a lot of smaller details in there worth tracking just to refine the picture you have in your head about the kinds of people who develop strong relationships with the medium.

For now, though, I want to highlight a cluster of findings that stood out to me in particular. Taken as interrelated, I think this cluster serves as a really interesting checkpoint as to where we stand with the intensity of podcast advertising and its effects on listeners.

To begin with, consider the data point that shows a sharp increase in highly-engaged podcast listeners reporting a sense that the length of the average podcast advertising break has gotten longer. (41% report this, up from 35% last year.) There was also a parallel sharp increase in respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the notion that podcasting has way too many ads relative to other types of media. (38% report this, up from 24% last year.)

At the same time, though, it looks like data points indicating podcast advertising effectiveness all remain in a positive direction. A higher share of respondents agree that their opinion of a company is more positive after hearing a podcast ad from them (49%, up from 44%), that they prefer to buy products from podcast advertisers when price and quality are equal (45%, up from 41%), and that they pay more attention to advertising on podcasts than on other forms of media (46%, up from 43%).

Still, the fact remains that it is important for this type of podcast consumer to limit their exposure to advertising. The proportion of respondents who identify with this perspective has remained the same over the past two years, though there seemed to be a small 2 percentage point increase in the share of respondents who state this to be “very important,” as opposed to just “important.”

In my mind, this cluster of findings suggest that we haven’t yet hit some sort of point of no return, where the intensity and volume of podcast advertising have reached a level where this highly-engaged type of podcast consumer produces detectable negative responses. It looks like they’re collectively saying: “Yep, we notice that podcast ad loads have increased significantly over the past year, but it’s not at a point where I feel consciously and actively bad about it.”

Not that this should be an excuse for publishers to keep expanding ad loads up to the limit without much thoughtfulness, of course.Meet Cute raises $6.25M in Series A funding, according to a Forbes report. We wrote about the company back in February, when it initially raised $3 million in seed funding to drive its theory on formulaic quick-turnaround fifteen-minute rom-com broken down into three-minute long episodic chapters, primarily delivered over a standard podcast feed.

The startup was founded by Naomi Shah, currently its CEO. Shah was formerly on the investment team at Union Square Ventures, a well-known venture capital firm, which also put money in the company. Haven’t seen much news come out from the company since its initial fundraise, other than a production partnership with dancer/actress Julianne Hough that was reported in Deadline last month.

I suppose I should say: Meet Cute isn’t strictly alone in the rom com pod-focused lane. There’s an operation called RomComPods, affiliated with Pod People and led by Rachael King and Becca Freeman, that’s racking up the ratings and reviews on Apple Podcasts. King wrote me a while back stating that the first season of RomComPods, which was seven episodes, garnered about 350,000 listens. Its second season dropped in the fall.

According to the Forbes report, Meet Cute is said to have “been listened to by one million people” across its two hundred episodes since the feed launched in February.Howard Stern wasn’t the only radio re-up this week. Charlamagne tha God has also signed a five year contract extension, keeping him in the iHeartRadio family for another stretch. Here’s the Variety piece on that. I don’t think there was any real doubt on that — The Breakfast Club continues to roll strong, and the radio host had just co-founded a new podcast network with the broadcast radio giant.Revolving Door. 

  • Pushkin Industries has hired Maggie Taylor as its new Marketing Director, starting January 15. Taylor previously held the same role at PRX, and had spent the past two years freelance, working with clients like Transmitter Media, Sony, and Slate.
  • Robin Amer, previously the host and creator of The City at USA Today, has joined the Washington Post’s audio team as senior producer for features.

Heads up. The Third Coast Festival is holding a $40,000 end-of-year fundraising campaign to help mitigate the pandemic’s impact on its overall finances. If you have the means, consider a donation.I have no idea what’s happening here… but this shit with Libsyn seems WILD. Former Chinese investors? Legal jiu-jitsu? Incarcerated executives? Wild wild wild.Not that anybody cares what I think about this subject, but the AirPod Max is not pod-shaped, and therefore, is fairly annoying in its nomenclature.Everybody gets a new front page. Looks like the Los Angeles Times is joining the crowded daily news podcast fray, at least according to this job posting, which seeks two senior producers.Finally: My picks for the year’s best podcasts is now out on Vulture. Horrible fucking year, but damn good pods.