Measurement, Airchecking, Creativity: Podcast Movement 2016's Final Day
July 8, 2016 at 3:02 PM (PT)
The final day of PODCAST MOVEMENT 2016 features more sessions on topics from production to measurement to marketing, capped by keynotes from the hosts of "ANOTHER ROUND" and GIMLET MEDIA's ALEX BLUMBERG.
The day began with a lesson on what the INTERACTIVE ADVERTISING BUREAU is doing in the realm of podcasting metrics, with the IAB's RENA UNGER moderating and joined by PODTRAC's MARK MCCRERY, RAWVOICE/BLUBRRY's ANGELO MANDATO, PERFORMANCE BRIDGE's STEPHEN SMYK, and NPR's STEVE MULDER on the panel. MULDER, who said that NPR extensively uses metrics for programming purposes as well as for sales, pointed out how podcast measurement has evolved a great deal in the last 10 years, much as website metrics improved rapidly, and that the primary improvement has been in how the industry uses the data it can access.
He said that without more improvement, the industry will not grow the way podcasters want it to; later, he said that traditional radio numbers are worse than what podcasters are working with, but because they are accredited (which he described as "everyone pointing at a number and saying 'that's good enough'"), they have more currency in sales, something he said podcast metrics need. The panel offered a primer on metrics from the basic level, including what they are and how they're used; the IAB is planning to release its proposed standards for podcast analytics by the end of the current quarter. Other concurrent sessions covered topics like editing, community-based podcasting, storytelling, and earning a living from a podcast.
Don't Touch That Dial (Or Skip To The Next Show)
In the second round of sessions, AMPLIFI MEDIA founder and ALL ACCESS columnist STEVE GOLDSTEIN offered his expertise on ways to keep listeners listening through an entire podcast, first running through data from several sources showing audiences being fickle (AUDIOBOOM numbers show 60% of podcast listeners bailing by the seven-minute mark and BRIDGE RATINGS showing 20% gone by the 30-minute mark and 40% gone by the 45-minute mark; SPREAKER shows average listening sessions at 24 minutes (down from 29 last year). His tips include getting to the point quickly at the outset of a show ("you've got about a minute"), not wasting listeners' time, avoiding narcissism (assuming listeners love you because they chose to download the show), proving "what's in it for me" for the listener, doing show prep, keeping show length reasonable, finding a "freak factor" hook for differentiation, and watching audio quality, plus a bonus tip, to have patience because "great content takes time."
Meanwhile, LIBSYN's ROB WALCH countered the typical "how to market your podcast" advice with a barrage of facts and experience, NPR'S NICK DEPREY showed how the network uses data gleaned from the NPR ONE app to analyze programming down to the minute, and a panel with BLOGTALKRADIO's ANDY TOH and BOB CHARISH, MIDROLL's LEX FRIEDMAN, and WNYC STUDIOS' MARGARET HUNT explored advances in monetizing podcasts.
Podcasters Get Airchecked
Radio veterans performed a live aircheck session of podcasts in a panel moderated by JACOBS MEDIA "Digital Dot Connector" and ALL ACCESS columnist SETH RESLER, with TOM LEYKIS, consultant VALERIE GELLER, and NPR "CAR TALK" and "WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME" producer DOUG BERMAN joined by SPREAKER's ROB GREENLEE on the panel. The panel critiqued the first 60 seconds of nutritionist ALEXA SCHRIM's "SIMPLE ROOTS RADIO" podcast, GREENLEE telling her that the opening contains extraneous information and incongruous music under a clip of a woman talking about traumatic things, while LEYKIS was impressed with the production quality and the opening telling people what the show is about, GELLER stressed the need to tell a story, and BERMAN suggested SCHIRM "cut it in half." After discussing interviewing and guest booking tips. an interview clip drew criticism for not getting to the point right away and instead including too much of the interview's background information ("it sounded like a press release," BERMAN said).
The panel also listened to panel show "REINVENTION RADIO," hosted by STEVE OLSHER with MARY GOULET and RICHARD OTEY, which LEYKIS called "a Morning Zoo" and criticized for having two co-hosts with no introduction to tell listeners who they are. GREENLEE noted that the show sounded like a radio show rather than a podcast and lacked the personal element inherent in podcasting, and GELLER told the hosts that they were talking to each other instead of the audience. "Close your eyes and talk to that one listener," GELLER advised.
At the same time, a panel of prominent podcasters -- ELIZA RUBIN, GLYNN WASHINGTON, HELEN ZALTZMAN, and ALEX TRAJANO -- joined ANDY BOYLE for a session discussing their creative processes, while NPR's ANYA GRUNDMANN offered insight into NPR's content development plans and "PODCAST ANSWER MAN" CLIFF RAVENSCRAFT talked about successful content strategies.
A panel of podcast network heads talked about the network business and what their operations do, from developing programming to ad insertion. PRX's JAKE SHAPIRO moderated the group, which included MIDROLL's CHRIS BANNON, PANOPLY's BRENDAN MONAGHAN, RADIOTOPIA's JULIE SHAPIRO, and WNYC STUDIOS' PAULA SZUCHMAN. BANNON promoted his company's "NOW HEAR THIS" podcast festival, acquisition of STITCHER, and HOWL subscription service; SZUCHMAN discussed how her company is looking at how to use social media and develop "fans"; MONAGHAN cited EDISON RESEARCH's study to highlight the opportunity for growth and predicted a "huge transferance" of revenue from radio to podcasting; and SHAPIRO talked about experimenting with seasons for shows, adding that "everything is changing and you have to keep up." The panel also discussed the benefit of the network brand, with SHAPIRO noting that RADIOTOPIA is intended to be seen as being like an indie music label, generating loyalty with fans.
Where We Stand
And a panel on the state of the industry moderated by SPREAKER's ROB GREENLEE featured "GRAMMAR GIRL" MIGNON FOGARTY, BLUBRRY/RAW VOICE's TODD COCHRANE, LIBSYN's ROB WALSH, and NPR-NATIONAL PUBLIC MEDIA's BRYAN MOFFETT. Among the topics were the dominance of smartphones, listening on AMAZON's Echo and other devices, GOOGLE Play, global growth, the perception that public radio is leading the podcasting field (and/or becoming more commercial), marketing, and other issues.
Other afternoon sessions included sessions on measurement, marketing, and automation, followed by closing keynotes from HEBEN NIGATU and TRACY CLAYTON of BUZZFEED's "ANOTHER ROUND," discussing how they started the show, HILLARY CLINTON's appearance, diversity, how they pick guests, and GIMLET MEDIA founder and "START UP" host ALEX BLUMBERG, whose talk, "The Second Golden Age of Audio," celebrated the explosion of every kind of podcast, from religion and spirituali to "MY DAD WROTE A PORNO," comparing the current crop to radio's golden age of the '30s and '40s. "I believe that audio is better at certain things than any other form of media," BLUMBERG asserted, citing storytelling and companionship among the things audio does well; to illustrate audio's power for bad as well as good, he also told the story of a radio station's role in the Rwandan genocide, choking up when talking about how radio alone was said fo account for 10% of the killings, and adding that the Nazis used radio propaganda to incite anti-Semitic acts. Empathy, BULMBERG said, is what audio does best.
PODCAST MOVEMENT 2017 will take place AUGUST 23rd-25th, 2017 in ANAHEIM. Registration will be available at podcastmovement.com/pm17/.