Discover more from Business Side
What do Spotify’s latest cuts mean for podcasting?
Plus, some SEO tips from ESPN
Yesterday Spotify announced it would lay off around 200 staff, primarily in its podcast division.
Some observers saw the announcement as evidence of podcast industry woes. Axios’ Dan Primack tweeted that the “podcast apocalypse continues.”
But I think that’s the wrong take.
There are a number of signs pointing to strength in the podcast industry. In 2023, U.S. podcast listening is the highest it’s ever been, with 31% of the U.S. population listening weekly. And podcast advertising grew 26% in 2022, despite macroeconomic headwinds.
It’s true that Spotify is divesting from original programming. The company is merging Gimlet and Parcast into a centralized unit called Spotify Studios. This follows Spotify’s cancellation of 10 original podcasts last fall and CEO Daniel Ek’s recent acknowledgement that Spotify overpaid & overinvested in podcast programming.
That said, Spotify is still aggressively pursuing podcasting as a category, building on its position as the top platform for podcast listeners.
A couple weeks ago, Spotify’s CPO shared on Lenny’s Podcast that the company is investing heavily in several areas: 1) discovery to help podcasters find new audiences, 2) the listener experience, where he teased that, “I don’t want to say too much, but looking at AI and generative technology, there’s a lot that can be done,” and 3) monetization for podcasters. Regarding monetization, CEO Daniel Ek recently expressed excitement about growing advertising & paid revenue for spoken-word content.
Spotify also said that it’s expanding its podcasting partnerships, with a “tailored approach optimized for each show and creator.” This suggests that larger podcast studios will have an opportunity to work more closely with Spotify on growth & monetization.
At its core, Spotify is not a content producer; rather, it’s a content distributor, as well as a business model innovator. With podcasting, it looks like Spotify is returning to its original DNA.
Case study: As Google evolves its search experience, SEO experts from The Washington Post, ESPN, Amsive Digital recently shared insights. A couple highlights:
According to Amsive Digital’s Lily Ray, “if you read between the lines on changes to Google News, Discover and Search, they’re really invested in individual experience and expertise. It’s good news for companies and publishers that do really work with expert authors and enthusiasts.”
According to ESPN’s Louisa Frahm, “one very actionable thing publishers can do… is zone in on author pages. We want to elevate the experts that we have on staff and make it crystal clear to all Google platforms that our content stands out from the pack. Author pages should be easy to find on your site and updated regularly.”
And here’s the latest news in digital media:
Apple unveiled its headset. Apple’s Vision Pro AR & VR headset, which costs $3,499, introduces a number of new ways to interface with digital content. It runs on visionOS, a new operating system enabling users to control apps (such as Safari, FaceTime, Music, and Photos) by waving their hands, speaking, and moving their eyes. It can also be used as an external display for a Mac computer, and Disney+ will be available on the headset when it launches.
Hundreds of Gannett journalists went on strike. The NewsGuild union criticized CEO Mike Reed on a number of fronts, including his personal compensation, divestment from certain local markets, and debt assumed through the 2019 merger with Gatehouse Media.
It’s been a tough couple days for CNN CEO Chris Licht. On Friday The Atlantic published a punishing profile detailing how Licht has lost the confidence of many staff as he aims to shift the network away from personality-driven programming. CNN employees told Brian Stelter that Licht’s time might be limited: “There’s no coming back from that profile,” one staffer said. In an internal meeting yesterday morning, Licht told staff, “To those whose trust I’ve lost, I will fight like hell to win it back.”
More on publishers:
ESPN is using AI for game recaps and list-based stories.
Publisher association DCN drafted a document asserting that AI’s usage of publisher content would “likely be found to go far beyond the scope of fair use.”
Former CNN President Jeff Zucker is exploring a majority stake in Air Mail.
The Baltimore Banner, which launched last year, has 70,000 subscribers with paid access (though that number includes many readers on $1 intro offers).
Ukraine is revoking credentials of journalists at prominent publishers based on coverage.
More on TV & platforms:
Chuck Todd will leave Meet the Press, and Kristen Welker will take his place.
Twitter’s revenue was down 59% YOY in April.
An AI firm created a 12-minute short film using DALL-E.
Thanks for being a part of Business Side’s private beta. Have a great day!