Issue 168,  published July 10, 2018

The Washington Post… gets into the podcast ad tech game?

The tool comes from the organization’s Research, Experimentation, and Development team.

The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, which has been pushing pretty hard into the technology platform business alongside its journalistic endeavors, is reportedly getting into the…podcast ad tech game?

AdExchanger reports that the company’s Research, Experimentation, and Development (RED) team has put together a “dynamic ad insertion” tool, called Rhapsocord, that “identifies places to put in ads, automatically inserts them and then sends the file to different podcast platforms.”

Apparently, while advertisers and agencies can still manually buy inventory through sales reps, the tool is taking steps to allow for “a self-serve podcast ads platform or programmatic audio.” WaPo is currently testing the tech on its own podcast network.

So I can’t say that I like this. To begin with, the podcast CMS market is fairly crowded already (see: Libsyn, Art19, Megaphone, Simplecast, PRX’s Dovetail, Spreaker, CastPlus, so on and so forth), and many of those solutions already allow for dynamic ad insertion. Furthermore, I generally have reservations about programmatic ads in podcasting (see here for more on that), and my concerns are doubled should the push come from a company that, up until this point, has primarily operated in a display-ad–first digital world.

Eh, maybe I’m not being generous enough here. In any case, there is one potential positive thing that I’m curious: I wonder how this technology will fit into the Post audio team’s various dabblings with smart-speaker programming.