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Tracking: May 10, 2019

NYT’s Earnings, with Partial Credit to its audio business. The New York Times has reported “better than expected” first-quarter results for 2019, giving partial credit for a 19 percent rise in online advertising revenue to The Daily — and the rest of its podcast business!

However, there’s no more specific breakdown than that available, so we don’t know how much of the $55 million made in online advertising in that three-month period came from audio sponsorships and advertising. ”The company does not disclose specific figures for its podcast business,” according to the paper’s own write up. (FWIW, if you’re doing any speculative guesswork, Vanity Fair’s Joe Pompeo reported last summer that The Daily was thought to have been on track to book “low eight figures” revenues last year. Trust, and break things out, as you will.)

There is a reminder, though, within the announcement that the NYT’s much delayed new television spin off from The Daily (The Weekly, geddit) launches on FX and Hulu in less than a month; a quick glance at the trailer suggests that it will lean not only on Michael Barbaro’s audio efforts but Rukmini Callimachi’s, too.

Google’s Project Euphoria? Google has launched a new speech recognition project focusing on impaired speech called Project Euphonia. They’re collecting thousands of speech samples from people with neurological impairments like ALS or multiple sclerosis, and designing an AI system that means they can be transcribed and processed by voice activated technology like any other voice. (There’s a video here showing some examples.) The goal is to eventually integrate the data into Google Assistant, so that any smart speaker function would be accessible to any kind of voice.

Amazon Affiliate Link story? Worth noting this development from Amazon around affiliate links, which could see the company start paying publishers to make content that then sends customers to their products.

Recode’s Peter Kafka says that “if any of the deals get finalized, they will mark a new chapter for Amazon: while other tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, have paid publishers in advance to make specific kinds of videos or other content, Amazon hasn’t been in that business before.”

Although none of the partnerships mention podcasts specifically, affiliate links are something that a lot of podcasts use to monetise — especially shows with a specific consumer focus, such as beauty or tech (see my recent profile of Forever35 as an example) — and it’s perfectly possible that audio could play a part in how these direct deals with publishers shake out.

My Dad Wrote a HBO Adaptation. Arguably Britain’s most popular broadcasting export since David Attenborough (lol), the self-described “the Ron, Harry and Hermione of pornography” from hit UK comedy podcast My Dad Wrote a Porno will see their HBO special air this Saturday. It’s based on their touring live show, which features readings and reenactments from a “lost chapter” of the aforementioned porno.

More details in my interview with the team from last year.