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~ Ten Podcasting Predictions ~ (I briefly worked at Gimlet but have no inside information, am just a curious observer) Thread:
100 replies and sub-replies as of Feb 07 2019

1) They'll make it easy for anyone to create audio ads using Anchor's technology and build targeting tools similar to Facebook
2) Advertisers will increasingly buy from Spotify, and move away from working directly with podcast creators
2b) This basically mirrors what happened with Facebook and web publishers
3) Spotify will pay podcast creators in a similar way that YouTube pays its creators
4) Spotify will funnel a lot of budget through Gimlet in a similar way that Netflix funnels a lot of budget through Ted Sarandos's content org
5) Gimlet will manage less in-house and work more with production companies (it's a great time to start a pineapple street style production company)
5b) This follows a similar trajectory to the movie industry, which began with studios controlling everything (actors and everyone were full-time employees) to a more modular industry structure
6) Gimlet Creative will become the touchpoint for all big brands advertising in audio (their work won't just appear in podcasts, but music and everything else in Spotify)
7) The indie podcasting world will become even more activist, will develop an open-source alternative to Anchor, and even more resistant to Big Podcasting
8) Netflix will look at acquiring Spotify and try to roll everything up in one mega-bundle
8b) This is tricky because it would be a huge acquisition and will only make Spotify more valuable if the strategy starts to show evidence of working
9) Google will sense the threat, and invest a bit more into making their podcasts app grow (good time to build an Anchor competitor that they can snatch up)
10) Apple, the sleeping giant, won't change much of anything (Stakes are still way too small, and maniacal focus is built into their DNA)
Lastly, check out my soundcloud 🙃
Bonus prediction (thank you @sarthakgh for inspiring it!) 11) Spotify's data will enable Gimlet to make incredibly smart acquisitions. Listener growth and retention are probably great leading indicators of long-term success.
Another postscript: Spotify is basically conducting a grand A/B test. Is the future of podcasts going to look more like Netflix or YouTube? Buying these two companies at the same time signals they think it might be both, or they're not sure which it will be.
I like this one a lot. 🤔
Great thread! Here's another prediction on Apple's response…
Those two acquisitions are 🔥 & push @Spotify into an 'audio' platform rather than just music Apple will surely follow suit & integrate their massive stronghold on podcasts into Apple Music (they should have done this anyway) All the above make podcasts even bigger. Great news!
Why not both 🤔 strong and different markets for both Netflix and YouTube
Following @stratechery’s framework for platforms vs aggregators, looks like Spotify is aiming at becoming the main platform for the podcasting ecosystem.…
Ooh I like this one. Hadn't thought about this
12) all intros, outros, and interludes for *every* podcast on the internet will be written and performed by @BrkmstrCylinder
What’s gonna happen with SoundCloud, literally though :)
Odds on them looking at the best stuff produced using Anchor and offering exclusive distribution? I am thinking Anchor is like a “studio” that a distribution co bought.
I would say that is a great bet
Ironically not going exclusive on a podcast app was a matter of future optionality for book/film/show adaption. But, beyond a certain distribution threshold, that’s exactly why you get in bed with Spotify!
I remember getting my first iPod and being like WTF is podcasting. Now there is "Big Podcasting". God damn I love the internet
Great thoughts! Skeptical ab the Netflix part, but it’s an interesting thesis. Re: google: what threat are they sensing? Music? Podcasts? They don’t seem to care about podcasts as-is (or anything outside of search and ad revenue as best I can tell)
With Apple‘s services push with music and video, why don‘t they pursue such a growing market? Have they learnt nothing form Spotify‘s and Netflix‘ emergence?
I think they'll continue focus more on music and maybe expand more into video before they go after podcasts
I'm (ignorant but) skeptical that truly big players (Google, NFLX, AAPL) will invest in the market anytime soon. You'd have to believe narrative audio will reach near-same levels as video and social consumption while eating from their share of the pie
Sleep sounds nice. 🤔
I hope you aren’t offended! I could be totally wrong and Apple will start to invest a lot more in podcasting. I hope it doesn’t become dominated by Spotify, personally.
To me the main thing would be helping creators monetize
There's little wrong with Google Podcasts apart from zero marketing (by Google or by podcasters). Just buying something else probably won't fix it. If Google gave podcasters $100m to advertise their podcasts (must have Google Podcast branding) that would go a long, long way.
Agreed — that would definitely go a long way. On second thought, I suspect they'll perhaps work more on "organizing the podcasting world's information and making it useful" rather than building/buying creator tools.
I feel like having a textual copy of the world's podcasts via auto transcription like on YouTube will certainly go a long way in helping them with that. If they solve the discovery problem, they'll have an advantage in the podcasting space. cc @ZackRW
Great insights. We especially hope you're right about this one! 😉 @Bitcast_fm
<-- yeah, whether or not Netflix antes up is the one huge wildcard in my mind. Everything else is more or less Newtonian mechanics.
I don't know if I see this. They've had opps in the past to go into other mediums. I think they'll continue to go deeper into video, both by increasing ARPU and territories.
Short-term, hard disagree. Long-term, perhaps. The strat the entire time I was there was non-sports, non-news video only. That said, Netflix has indicated that they consider the competition anything entertaining that isn’t Netflix. Sooo...tbd
True podcasting will incorporate #ActivityPub, eventually enabling in-app human recommendations and a decentralized donation-based membership model. Then torrents, then video, then all these centralized systems die.
Great thread! Thanks for sharing.
Don't know if we should feel attacked, or noticed 🤷🏻‍♂️
Why assume that Ads will still be a main piece of monetization for Podcasters? Why not get paid by listen from subscription fees like recording artists? Or an additional "Spotify Podcast" subscription add-on (like Kindle Unlimited)?
Spotify is trying to become the Netflix *and* YouTube of audio and they have historically done ads
Curious how you think this will impact ad brokers such as Midroll and CastPlus
If Spotify successfully rolls out a facebook-style ad network, and brands stop buying from people who embed ads in mp3's (due to better tracking, targeting, etc) then it'll be tough to compete
Ruh roh. I think that’s my fear. Facebook successfully siphoned content ad spend from web, newspapers, etc 😞
We're still a ways off from that happening but I wouldn't bet against it
Unlike FB this effectively turns podcast ads into any other radio/streaming ad. It doesn't render it worthless, but severely reduces the effectiveness of the spot. Unscripted host reads are gold.
Audio ads are already sold programmatically via major DSPs, including DoubleClick (Google) & others. As someone who consumes 20+ hours/week of podcasts the host reads are not effective. Frequency caps & better targeting could be a better experience, or could suck differently.
The move to programmatic audio ads from host reads will likely improve measurement, drive down price per ad, and lead to more ads. The host reads will be premium priced.
Using Anchor as an ad-tool is *super* smart, wow...
Do you envisage podcast ads appearing for Premium users, which would cause customer complaint? Because (I don't have figures but) I imagine heavy Spotify users 1) pay not to have ads 2) are far more valuable to advertisers.
This will be a really tricky tension for Spotify to navigate. Currently, host-read ads already appear in podcasts. I think they'll try to maintain that (and maybe insert their own) as long as possible.
Seems like just under half of Spotify users are Premium. Speaking personally, I'm ok with host ads which are often quite well integrated through script, but won't be happy paying Spotify to serve me its own ads!
They need targeting + measurement. Right now Podcasts are primarily high-value goods that can be roughly measured. Granular measurement opens up new opportunities
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And now I’m worried...
Any predictions around if/when Spotify will move to make their podcast content exclusive?
That was my question as well. Will all @Gimletmedia podcasts become Spotify exclusives? I hope not, but it seems inevitable.
I actually don't think so - I would bet the acquisition is more about Gimlet's capabilities to drive future content for Spotify than it was about leveraging existing content
Hope you’re right...with music there’s tons of annoyingly exclusive content (Tidal, etc...) so feels like the temptation is strong to head in that direction.
Hopefully they'll resist it! I think it's the smarter strategy, personally
There's precedent with new episodes of Gimlet podcasts launching on Spotify a week earlier than in other podcast players. Spotify just did this with @dissectpodcast.
There will be some podcasts that become Spotify exclusive (I think their crime pod did this for its latest season). I think it will be a mix of available everywhere and only on Spotify.
Agree with your concern kaz and I think Nathan is probably right:…
Spotify CFO says now that company can make its own podcasts, it will eventually keep some of those for itself. But says majority of podcasts will be non-exclusive.
Peter Kafka on Twitter
“Spotify says it will spend up to $500 million on podcast startups this year. Gimlet ($230 million) and Anchor (?) should account for more than half of that.”
Adfree for Spotify premium, ads for all other distro channels would be my bet
Hi Nathan, I have been looking to connect with someone to understand more about the podcasting industry. Would you be available to have a conversation on it? Email or DM, whatever convenient.
Seems all perfectly logically as you are explaining it Nathan... very interesting.
Hmmm interesting. Curious what you think of this all.
What a tweet 👏
lol some crazy ideas here but solid thread
A well articulated list. There’s a conundrum as a listener, will premium make all services ad free? For my fav podcasts I am interested in ads the creators personally endorse (eg. Tim Ferriss). Do need to be regionalised :)
Great insight, started podcasting recently and hadn’t considered audio ads thru Spotify a la fb/yt
What about audiobooks? A lot of comp w/ amazon though. But would be kinda cool
An interesting thing about this deal is that Gimlet, while they have a great brand and have produced some good shows, isn't great at regularly producing popular podcasts. Wondery & HowStuffWorks are much better at it. Disclosure: I was a HSW investor before they sold to iHeart
Maybe address on your daily? Thoughts on getting in on audio adds via Spotify?
Any thoughts about (real-time/breaking) audio news vs. Spotify? They now have music + talk (podcasts). Imo, with (optional) news they’d be an even better radio replacement.