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Miscellaneous: July 17, 2018

Frontin’. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is holding its fourth annual podcast upfronts on September 6, 2018 in — where else? — New York City. This year’s venue will be at Convene in midtown Manhattan, marking a departure from the Time Inc. building venue of years past. Slate is slated to keynote, and presenters include Midroll, WNYC, iHeartMedia, and NPR, among others. I’ll probably be there.

Here’s the website for details, and here’s my write-up on the upfront back when I attended in 2016, and here’s my column on the notion of upfronts in podcasting in general. Let’s see what changes, and what stays the same.

The Smart Audio Report Snippets. The latest edition of National Public Media and Edison Research smart speaker report drops tomorrow and, as always, they’re staging a webinar to go through the findings of this year’s survey study.

NPM was kind enough to share some early numbers, if you’re interested in that kind of thing:

  • “For first adopters, the smart speaker is now the number one way they listen to audio, and 38% of newer, early mainstream users say they purchased the device hoping to reduce screen time.”
  • “While first adopters demonstrate more advanced smart speaker use – controlling home security and other household devices – early mainstream users are quickly relying on the technology for a wider range of daily activities – ordering food, making calls, getting traffic reports, researching products and shopping.”
  • “News is one of the most in-demand genres of content among all smart speaker owners, and 3-in-5 who plan to buy another smart speaker, want to buy it in order to listen to news in more rooms of their home.”

Here’s the one I find particularly notable: “Among all smart speaker owners, the most preferred formats for audio advertisements are skills/features created by a brand, host-read ads on podcasts, product endorsements and sponsor or underwriter announcements during public radio.” Furthermore: “81% of all smart speaker owners like/would be open to skills from brands.”

On a related note… this Medium post, by GENInnovate’s Freia Nasher, has a lot of really good observations, and some nifty ideas: “Hi Alexa, is the monetisation conversation moot?

Additional notes in this week’s Insider newsletters. And shout-out to the reader that consistently writes in to tell me just how much that person doesn’t care about smart speakers. Tough luck, buddy.

Start your engines. Heads up, all you producers in the crowd: the sixth edition of KCRW’s Radio Race is now open for registration. The 24-hour production challenge will take place from 10 am PST August 25 through 10 am PST August 26. Shouts to last year’s winner, River Rats from Miami (Wilson Sayre and Chris Barr).

And while we’re on the subject of KCRW: The Organist podcast is now back with its fifth season. Rootin’ for you, Mr. Leland.

Miscellaneous Bites

  • Fans of the popular Australian true crime podcast Phoebe’s Fall, take note: the team has a new project out now, called Wrong Skin. (Apple Podcasts)
  • On a related note: “All serious criminal cases deserve podcast-style scrutiny.” (Baltimore Sun op-ed)
  • The dynamics and detail sketches in this piece can almost map directly onto podcasting: “The Twitch streamers who spend years broadcasting to no one.” (The Verge)