Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: October 12, 2018

Breaking down the doors to the podcasting club

There’s always been a bit of a clubby aspect to podcasting — certain “rules” of admission that, however unintended, might otherwise seem designed to keep podcast listening to the preserve of the true believers. Even the name “podcasting” can be confusing to the unconverted. Do I need an iPod? Where can I find podcasts? Do I need a particular app? A subscription — how much does that cost? Why would I listen? The list goes on.

Crunching the data from the second year of The Canadian Podcast Listener, we see some signs of how those rules and misperceptions may be limiting the growth of podcasting. And we see opportunities to open the doors wider to fuel higher growth in the industry.

Let’s start with a little background on The Canadian Podcast Listener. Our study is unique in a couple of ways.

First, it’s an in-depth study of 1,500+ podcast listeners, a big enough sample to get an in-depth look into different types of podcast listeners.

Second, the survey asks podcast listeners to tell us up to 10 podcasts they’ve listened to in the past month as well as their favourite podcasts. That gives us insight into what people actually listen to as opposed to what they download. Even more important, we get to see how podcast listening varies by different types of listeners — by things like how long they have been a podcast listener.

Here’s what we have learned:


Most podcast growth is coming from listeners inside the club, not those knocking on the door.

The universe of podcast listeners — Continue reading about the study conducted by Audience Insights and Ulster Media on Medium

Canadian Podcast Listener Report finds audiences are growing, as are responses to ads

The Canadian Podcast Listener Report 2018 offers insights on the steadily growing audience for podcasts in Canada and the unique trends of this market. Jeff Vidler, president of Audience insights, and Jeff Ulster, chief content and technology officer for The Podcast Exchange, presented the full study on Wednesday at the RAIN Summit Canada in Toronto.

Familiarity with podcasts has remained high in Canada, growing from 73% in 2017 to 76% in 2018. Almost half of the Canadian population has ever listened to podcasts, edging up on-year from 43% to 45%. Monthly listeners account for 26% of Canadian adults and weekly listeners had an 18% share; in 2017 the rates were 24% and 15%, respectively. – Anna Washenko, RAIN News

Rogers lowers cost of Sportsnet Now and launches Now+ with more content

Sportsnet Now launched in 2016 as a direct-to-consumer sports streaming service, but regional game blackouts and other restrictions kept some users from viewing all of the games on the platform. Sportsnet Now+ aims to solve this problem by lifting some of the regional blackouts and therefore giving viewers access to more live sports content. Now+ offers players the over 500 NHL games that Rogers’ has access to, plus more matches from other sports as well. – Brad Bennett, Mobile Syrup

Cogeco acquires 10 NRC stations in Quebec

The Telecom and media company has announced the conclusion of an agreement to acquire 10 regional radio stations owned by RNC Média inc. The stations are located in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean (Planète 104.5 in Alma, Planète 93.5 in Chibougamau, Planète 99.5 in Roberval, Planète 100.3 in Dolbeau-Mistassini, and Radio X 95.7 in Saguenay), in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Capitale Rock 104.3 in Val-d’Or, Capitale Rock 102.1 in La Sarre, and WOW 96.5, in Val-d’Or), in Lachute (Pop 104.9) and in Hawkesbury (Pop 102.1).

The total value of the transaction is $18.5M, subject to the customary adjustments. The transaction is also subject to the usual closing conditions, including approval by the CRTC.

Cogeco Media owns and operates 13 radio stations across Québec, including talk network stations 98.5 FM in Montréal, 106.9 FM in Mauricie, 107.7 FM in Estrie and 104.7 FM in Outaouais; Rhythm FM network stations 105.7 in Montréal, 100.1 in Mauricie and 93.7 in Estrie, CIME 103.9 in the Laurentians, 96.9 CKOI, The Beat 92.5 and Radio Circulation 730 AM in Montréal, as well as FM93 and M102.9 in Québec City. Leaders in their respective markets, Cogeco Media’s stations reach more than 5 million listeners each week, offering varied and relevant programming for a wide audience. It also owns Cogeco Nouvelles, the largest private news radio agency in Québec. – News Wire

Bob Ezrin joins Canadian Journalism Foundation Board

"Bob Ezrin cares deeply about the state of our national conversation," says David Walmsley, CJF chair and editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail. "His accomplishments across the cultural scene speak for themselves, and we are proud to have attracted someone as passionate, talented and determined as Bob to our Board to ensure journalism flourishes in this country."

For his part, Ezrin says: "Our fate as a civilization depends more now on a free and principled press than on any other institution. With so much being done in both the foreground and the background by governments, multinational corporations and powerful entities and individuals that can impact the entire world, we absolutely require the watchful eye of an unfettered press to help to keep them all honest, and when necessary to expose any improprieties." – Canadian Journalism Foundation

Where is Ottawa’s help for Canada’s newspapers?

This being National Newspaper Week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to send out a tweet extolling the value of newspapers to our democracy.

“In an ever-changing world with an ever-changing media landscape, our local newspapers play a vital role in protecting our democracy,” he wrote. “We salute the papers — big and small — working to keep us informed.”

It is reassuring to know the role of Canadian newspapers is appreciated. For many, myself included, the feeling is deeply inbred that our democracy is only as strong as the strength and vitality of our newspapers.

Yet in the past decade, at least 137 community and local newspapers have folded or ceased publication. This, in turn, has led to the creation of “news deserts” where some communities are left with no news outlet at all. Many others are struggling desperately to stay afloat… – Editorial penned by John Honderich, chair of Torstar, The Toronto Star

Bell donates $300K to community health care in Montreal

The Bell Let's Talk initiative has donated $300K to 16 community mental health organizations to help improve access to care in Greater Montréal. The increase in support reflects the decision by Bell Let's Talk to double the size of its national Community Fund to $2M annually. – Bell Media PR

Barry Sookman’s Computer and Internet Updates for 2018-10-10

Insurers Must Pay Cost of Defending Case Stemming from Use of Famous Marathoner’s Name

35% of People Who Don't Pay for Streaming Say YouTube Is the Reason

Sky to introduce three-strikes anti-piracy system in Ireland – Complete Music

The Respective Responsibilities of the Supplier and the Client in a Software Implementation Project

The Indian Supreme Court's Aadhaar judgment — A privacy analysis

Music piracy 'a significant issue' says IFPI – Music Business Worldwide

Microsoft Just Did Something Big With 60000 Patents – Fortune

Privacy Commissioner seeks Federal Court determination on key issue for Canadians’ online reputation.

Google stocks plummet after report company failed to notify users about Google+ security flaw.

RT @PrivacyDigest: Big Tech’s Half-Hearted Response To Fake News And Election Hacking

RT @hollyanndoan: Because you’ve been giving it away for free, Mr Honderich. Copyright, not subsidies.

Leaked Transcript of Private Meeting Contradicts Google’s Official Story on China

Richard Prince defends reuse of others’ photographs.

Engaging Canadians: Statistics Canada's national dialogue

Every day, Canadians form opinions and make decisions based on data. However, who decides the information needs, what data are collected and how they are used?

Statistics Canada will host its first ever "Engaging Canadians: Statistics Canada's National Dialogue," which will feature online consultations, virtual forums, teleconferences and roundtable discussions in cities across Canada with businesses, academia, citizens and others. In addition, all Canadians are invited to participate in an online survey from Oct. 15 to 19. – StatsCan

Oh Wow! The songs radio forgot

SOWNY Radio board founder Dale Patterson has launched a free online radio station called Oh Wow! That features songs listeners remember but which rarely get played on oldies radio. The slogan is a teaser: None of the hits, none of the time! The songs radio forgot - overlooked Top 40 tunes from the '50s to the '80s. (thanks to RadioActive for bringing this to our attention).

Lawmakers push to rein in tech firms after Google+ disclosure

Top lawmakers of both parties argued Wednesday that Congress needs to take action to rein in big tech companies, citing revelations about Google+ as the latest example of questionable practices involving consumers’ private information. – WSJ subscription

The tragic story of how an addiction podcast grew into a recovery community

After the overdose death of a ‘Dopey Podcast’ host, a founder shares the show’s unlikely path to popularity. – Emily J. Sullivan, Vice

How radio has consumed the podcast world

Everyone can see that podcasting has legs and is rocketing headlong into becoming a multi-billion-dollar industry in the next 5-10 years.

The radio giants did not go quietly into the night. Quite the contrary. In the last two weeks, I’ve spoken directly with executives at Entercom, Westwood One, and iHeart. They are now in an arms race for on-demand audio content, and do not care if it comes from existing radio talent, launching new podcast talent, or acquiring existing Podcast talent that has already achieved leadership on the charts. Westwood One has emerged from bankruptcy. Entercom is newly empowered as a major player with an appetite to scale into the future. Then there’s iHeart. The industry leader is chomping at the bit, soon to emerge from their Chapter 11 bankruptcy and bucking the gates, poised to go on a content tear. Meanwhile, Panoply shuts down its programming arm, in favor of focusing on their tech platform, while BuzzFeed and Audible both close down their podcast creation efforts. – Dan Granger, The Drum

Smart speakers drive new music consumption habits

When smart speakers burst onto the scene last Christmas they heralded the coming of the voice-activated internet, and, many thought, a return of radio to the home environment. A research study prepared for the Music Business Association by the market research firm AudienceNet also seems to suggest a strong link between smart speaker sales and an uptick in listenership to music subscription services such as Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. – Tom Vernon, Radio World

It looks like Apple fixed a problem with 'manipulation' on the top podcast charts

Apple doesn't actually host any podcasts, but it dominates the industry. According to some estimates, 55% of listeners consume their audio content through the Podcasts app or iTunes.

So Apple's top charts are a big deal for podcasters — often, new listeners check them to find shows to listen to. At the very least, it's one ranking of which podcasts are popular with people. 

And over the weekend, people noticed that the charts didn't make sense. – Kif Leswing, Business Insider UK

Why bother with podcasting when you can just Facebook live?

When I moved to Apple Podcast to see how well this video translated to audio, the numbers amazed me.

On Apple Podcasts, the audience listened to a whopping average of 94% of the episode … more than 31 times the percentage on Facebook and slightly less than 3 times the percent on YouTube. Unbelievable! – Paul Colligan, Medium

Apple Podcast chart not quite what it appears to be

It appears that Apple’s podcast charts are somewhat broken. Or specifically, they had been broken for a period of time over the weekend while Apple perhaps tried a new algorithm to rank podcasts.

Behind the scenes we know that various bad actors have been attempting to game the system. In the same way that you can buy Twitter or Instagram followers, you can pay some dubious third party to push your podcast up the Apple chart. This might get your podcast, briefly, towards the top of the charts allowing you to boast that you are/were the number one podcast in whatever category. But those listeners aren’t real, and your podcast is likely to fall away pretty quickly again too.

In the last couple of days, a number of people have been asking big questions surrounding this. – Adam Bowie.com

The Apple Podcast chart is screwed. How should we replace it?

A recurring theme in Podnews this year has been the level of manipulation of the Apple Podcast Charts. We covered this in May, highlighting a company who was charging thousands of dollars for a top placing; a week later, some relatively conclusive proof of a set of podcasts that were being manipulated; a video in September highlighting the scale of the issue; and many more. Apple have said nothing, and while some podcasters who have been manipulating charts have been removed, many more remain. – James Cridland, Medium

Trade Agreements Making Rules In New Technologies, Territoriality An Issue For IP In Digital Age

As new technologies have pervaded society, with more to come, policymaking has become a difficult exercise. Rules established before those game-changing technologies might be outdated. A session at the World Trade Organization Public Forum last week looked at how intellectual property rules are faring in the time of digital technologies. Speakers remarked on the role of regional trade agreements in norm-setting, and the growing issue of the territoriality of rights for copyright.

An example of ambiguity in this area is the Press Association winning a Google grant to use artificial intelligence for creating up to 30,000 local stories a month. Initiatives such as this one raise questions about the ownership of IP. – Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch

AT&T jumps into OTT fray with new streaming service

Ever since AT&T completed its US$85B Time Warner purchase in June, the company has been working to leverage its new content. Already, it has made plans to expand HBO’s programming budget and content output. In June, AT&T included its just-purchased Turner Networks in its new $15-per-month skinny bundle dubbed WatchTV, which is free for some AT&T wireless customers. – Jason Lynch, AdWeek

Facebook Groups can now launch up to 250-person chat rooms

If you miss the old AOL chat rooms, you’ll love Facebook’s plan to combine Groups and with Messenger without spamming you to death. Starting today, Facebook will gradually roll out the ability for members of Facebook Groups to launch group chats about specific sub-topics that up to 250 members can join. They can also start audio or video calls with up to 50 members. – Josh Constine, TechCrunch

Katzenberg’s NewTV reveals official new name: Quibi

Jeffrey Katzenberg and longtime tech executive Meg Whitman have raised US$1B for Quibi, which will roll out video in chapters of under 10 minutes. The company hopes to sell its service for $5 a month with ads and $8 a month without ads.

The company is willing to pay up to roughly $6 million per hour for episodes. Major TV and film studios including Walt Disney Co. and Warner Media have supported the project. – Wendy Lee, LA Times

Nielsen, Acxiom, Comscore among 11 partners in Roku’s OTT measurement push

The tools at each partners’ disposal have been included in Roku’s open Ad Framework, and leverage’s the OTT provider’s first-party data. An EMarketer study has revealed that Roku has expected an increase of advertising revenue to over $700m by 2022, its potential for growth has made it attractive to work with outside research parties to help optimize how brands can take advantage. – Bennett Bennett, The Drum

A decade in the radio life of Lady Gaga

A decade after her initial splash, A Star Is Born has returned Gaga to the pop culture epicenter. The movie’s centerpiece duet with Bradley Cooper, “Shallow,” not even intended as a single a week ago, is now a force of nature. And now seems like a good time to talk about Gaga’s place at radio over the last decade, because where she fit (or didn’t) says a lot about the state of the format itself. So let’s flash forward at yearly intervals, starting with: – Sean Ross

Decoding AI’s technical jargon

My goal is to provide a plain-English explanation of what we encounter once we venture out of the marketing department into adjacent corridors. Often the purview of engineering and data science teams, these foundational building blocks are within the conceptual reach of any curious mind, and the savvy marketer is wise to make their acquaintance.  – Josh Engroff, MediaPost

How companies turn your data into $s

The best description of the data economy comes from AOL, of all places. The once-mighty internet service provider now runs a tidy business in the ad-exchange space. The site promoting the service is hip and tasteful, showing happy, partying people and white text that spells out things like "Monetize your most valuable asset" in all caps.

"A publisher's audience is their currency," the site says. "No matter how they make money from content—be it through advertising, paid subscription or syndication, a publisher's core asset is audience and audience data."

This is weapons-grade marketing speak, but it's also a surprisingly honest assessment of digital media's beating heart—one that pumps out content and takes in reams of data from the people who consume that content. – Max Eddy, PC Magazine

Someone turned BrettKavanaugh.com into a resource for sexual assault survivors

This brilliant piece of activism was done by Fix The Court, an organization which pushes for accountability and transparency in the Supreme Court. The organization bought the URL three years ago but didn’t stop there, as a directory of sexual assault resources can also be found under “.org” and “.net.” – Cara Curtis, TNW

The Pentagon’s push to program soldiers’ brains

The mission is to make human beings something other than what we are, with powers beyond the ones we’re born with. – Michael Joseph Gross, The Atlantic

On Tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century

Yale historian Timothy Snyder draws parallels between the Trump administration and that of the Third Reich. ­– Reviewed by Tim Adams, The Guardian UK

Cannabis v wine in California - Pinot or pot?

Booze and drugs usually belong together like Fred and Ginger. But not, it seems, in California’s wine region. Wine-makers are fretting that recreational marijuana use, which became legal in the state in January, could challenge their dominance of what is delightfully known as people’s “intoxication budgets”. They also complain that they can no longer afford seasonal labour to harvest their grapes because workers have better-paid, year-round jobs on cannabis farms. Sonoma County, one of the state’s main wine-producing regions, recently imposed restrictions on who may grow weed, and where. – The Economist

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