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Tracking: February 1, 2019

Panoply's Megaphone integrates with Google Campaign Manager, The Daily does transcriptions, Binge Mode 4eva

(1) Make sure you don’t miss this little announcement that Panoply put out earlier this week:

Panoply Media announced today that its podcasting platform, Megaphone, has officially integrated with Google Campaign Manager. Part of Google Marketing Platform, Campaign Manager helps advertisers and agencies manage digital campaigns across websites and mobile. This includes a robust set of features for ad serving, targeting, verification, and reporting. With this integration, Panoply partners can now validate delivery of podcast ad campaigns in real time through Campaign Manager.

For common folk who don’t spend much time in Ad-World speaking Advertisinglish, this is how you should think about this: a good number of advertisers, brands, and ad buyers use Google Campaign Manager to manage, verify, and keep track of how their respective digital advertising campaigns are doing across a wide variety of platforms and websites. Panoply’s overarching goal with Megaphone is to provide advertisers with a podcast buying experience that’s contiguous with how the rest of digital advertising currently works — we can debate the pros, cons, upsides, and downsides about this some other time; I have strong though largely inconclusive feelings — and this move to integrate their Megaphone Targeting Marketplace (MTM) product into Google Campaign Manager is part of that effort. The effect, on the advertising buyer’s side, is that they’re able to view their MTM-facilitated podcast ad impressions in the same context (and in the same level of trust, in theory) as every other digital buy that they’ve made in a given campaign.

(In that sense, I suppose one could propose the following: that Megaphone’s biggest competitor isn’t Art19, Libsyn, and the like, but Anchor Sponsorships, which is presumably pursuing the same strategic opportunity here.)

It’s worth noting that, at least in my understanding, the MTM-Google Campaign Manager doesn’t fundamentally change the podcast distributing technology; within the campaign manager context, a podcast impression is still tethered to the IAB-certified download. Which is to say, this isn’t Megaphone carving out and enforcing its own definition of an impression.

It’s also worth noting that a move like this is completely expected from Panoply, which is placing all its bets on Megaphone as its central pathway forward in the podcast industry. My read on their intentions remains the same: the bulk of podcast advertising value currently revolves around the premium head, and my sense is that their long-term goal is to capture the entirety of the tail through dynamic ad insertion and their own advertising marketplace solutions, after which they’ll presumably try to move upward in whatever manner that might express itself.

(2) This is cool, and as I’ve noted every once in a while, more folks should consider investing in this feature: The New York Times is beginning to roll out transcripts for The Daily.

From Times Open, its developer blog:

Over the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with ways to make our audio content more accessible to readers. We’re releasing audio transcripts for each new episode of “The Daily,” with transcripts rolling out for other Times podcasts in the future. It’s important to us that all of our readers can engage with our report, whether they choose to listen, share or read, and audio transcripts are a big step forward in our commitment to make Times content accessible to all users. I highly recommend checking out the whole post, as it walks through the various design iterations for the close captioning feature, which was a process conducted with particular emphasis on accessibility, shareability, and reference.

A few things to note:

  • The transcript feature doesn’t seem to universal across all Daily episodes just yet. At this writing, the three most recent editions did not carry close captioning options. This’ll probably be resolved soon enough.
  • For those wondering, the team uses 3Play, a third-party speech-to-text service, to generate the transcripts, which are then cleaned up by an editor. Among 3Play’s other clients: This American Life.
  • Be sure to clock the last section on future plans: “We are also exploring ways that our readers might share specific clips of the podcast on social media. Transcripts will also be rolling out in the coming weeks for ‘The Argument‘ and for the next season of ‘Still Processing.'” Now you get to read Ross Douthat instead of listening to Ross Douthat… which is probably how Ross Douthat was traditionally consumed. Also: shout-out to Short Cut, whose spirit lives on.

As an aside, for what it’s worth: whenever I need to get a quick transcription situation going on for a review I’m writing, I’ve relied on a mixture of Descript and Trint. It can get pricey, but their production costs as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway: happy birthday to The Daily, which turns two today.

(3) The Ringer is having quite a press week! First the Wall Street Journal, and then the New York Times’ Book Section, which ran a great Q&A piece with Binge Mode’s Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion. (The interview primarily revolves around the show’s recent Harry Potter run, but shouts to — and bells for? — the pilot Game of Thrones season… which is coming back SO soon.) It’s one of my very favorite podcasts, and one of my very, very favorite conceits. What insanity, that production.

Do clock the following quote by Rubin, which doubles as the great way to read The Ringer’s podcasting philosophy in general:

We knew the appetite for coverage and thoughtful discussion about these stories was insatiable. People love them. The thing that means the most to us, and that we hoped would matter the most to other people, is finding somebody you can talk to about a story who really feels the same way about it that you do.

Did we know it would be like this? No. Of course not. But we knew there was the potential for an audience.

Fuck yeah.

(4) Vulture: “MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Is Doing a Live Podcast Taping With Stacey Abrams.”

I see you, Lickteig. I see you staffing up for 2020.

(5) So, look. We’re at a point in conventional podcast knowledge where the whole “Podcast is too Apple-dependent and needs to diversify away, though probably the only way we can properly do that is to increase our dependency on another globe-swallowing platform, but let’s not pay too much attention to that, bla bla bla” take is so ingrained that it’s reflexively tossed around by just about anybody who is able to arbitrarily able to whip out a shingle that says “Podcast Consultant.”

And you know what? Sure. I think it’s a boring take, because, you know, it’s true, what can you do, but whatever, sure. Anyway, as long as podcasting remains the ward of Tim Cook’s spaceship, I’m gonna occasionally highlight high-level/not-directly-podcast-related Apple stories, because the concerns of dueling giants have a way of impacting life for us ants on the ground level, but more importantly: holy SHIT what a week for news about Apple.

NYT: “Apple shut down all of Facebook’s internal, custom-built iPhone apps after the tech giant broke its policies… The iPhone maker controls the distribution of apps on its phones, demonstrating that even the world’s largest social network is beholden to the rules of others.” wut

The Verge: “Apple shut down Google’s ability to distribute its internal iOS apps earlier today… The block came after Google was found to be in violation of Apple’s app distribution policy, and followed a similar shutdown that was issued to Facebook earlier this week.” WHUT

CNBC: “Apple has been trying to persuade investors to focus more on its Services business over iPhone revenue. This quarter it did not disclose unit sales for the iPhone for the first time… The stock jump suggests investors may finally be buying into Apple’s narrative.” Well that sort of makes sense.

Cheddar: “Apple is planning a subscription service for games, according to five people familiar with the matter… The service would function like Netflix for games, allowing users who pay a subscription fee to access a bundled list of titles.” WAIT WHAT

Pick up what I’m putting down. Stay paranoid, my friends.

(6) Meanwhile, in Sweden…

ole ole ole ole