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Insider October 20, 2022 — Congrats, lettuce

Plus, Spotify hires an exec away from TikTok

The lettuce won! I do have to give Crooked Media kudos for picking the perfect time to expand into the UK. Sometimes marketing can be art.

Plus, Pocket Casts goes open source, Podtrac has a new ranking, and Spotify hires an exec away from TikTok.

Crooked Media to launch Pod Save the UK in 2023

The podcast network behind liberal political shows like Pod Save America and Lovett or Leave It is expanding into Britain. Pod Save the UK will be hosted by Nish Kumar, a comedian who previously hosted satirical news TV show The Mash Report. The show is expected to launch in early 2023.

“Nish is passionate about politics, smart, insightful and hilarious,” said Crooked Media co-founder and Pod Save America co-host Tommy Vietor in a statement. “And at a time when the Prime Minister of the UK is being compared to a rotting head of lettuce, his laugh-so-we-don’t-cry approach to helping us understand it all is more important than ever.”

The announcement came less than 24 hours before embattled UK Prime Minister Liz Truss announced her resignation. Things don’t look any less messy moving forward, so I am sure Kumar will have plenty to discuss.

Pocket Casts makes its app open source

Podcast listening app Pocket Casts, which is owned by parent company Automattic, is making its mobile apps open source. Now, users can access the code to report bugs, suggest new features, and submit pull requests. 

The move by Pocket Casts comes at a time when, despite the breadth of podcast apps available, most listening occurs on a handful of big platforms: Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts, and, to a lesser extent, Google Podcasts, Pandora, and Amazon Music. “We believe that podcasting can not and should not be controlled by Apple and Spotify, and instead support a diverse ecosystem of third-party clients,” a blog post from the Pocket Casts team said.

According to a study by Cumulus and Signal Hill conducted in the spring, only 1 percent of podcast listeners said that Pocket Casts was their primary podcast app. But it is in play for listeners who use multiple apps, particularly among the biggest podcasting fans — 7 percent of heavy listeners reported using the app to access shows.

Podtrac launches new ranking of sales networks

The weekly data reports may be gone for now, but Podtrac has debuted a new chart. On Wednesday, the analytics firm issued a ranking of podcast sales networks, with Wondery at the top. 

It does not rank networks based on actual sales (though I would personally love that) but by US unique monthly audience. Wondery registered an audience of 25 million per month, followed by Acast with 22 million. Libsyn came in third with 10.3 million, and PodcastOne with 7.9 million. So far, the ranking seems far from complete, and there are definitely glaring omissions (iHeart, Megaphone, etc.). But Podnews reports that more networks are lined up to be included in future rankings. 

Spotify hires new content partnership exec from TikTok

Bryan Thoensen, who spent the last three years as head of content partnerships at TikTok, has joined Spotify to lead content partnerships and community. He will report to Max Cutler, who was promoted to head of talk creator content and partnerships at Spotify earlier this year after running Parcast. 

“Bryan’s knowledge of the creator landscape will be invaluable as our team continues to develop Spotify’s platform strategy to move beyond distribution and become a platform and home to uplift creators everywhere,” Cutler said in a statement.

SiriusXM signs Rachel Hollis to exclusive ad sales and distribution deal

Rachel Hollis, the problematic self-help mega-author of books like Girl, Wash Your Face and Girl, Stop Apologizing, has signed with SiriusXM for her eponymous podcast. SiriusXM Media will handle The Rachel Hollis Podcast’s ad sales, and Stitcher will manage the show’s distribution across platforms.

According to SiriusXM, the podcast gets about 36 million downloads per year. That’s not enough to get it on Apple and Spotify’s top podcast charts, but it does land at number 46 in Apple’s business category. 

I’ll see you all tomorrow!