Apple Metrics Pay Off For Podcasts; Sony Dissatisfied With Alexa Monetization

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Casting For Data

In December, Apple began providing podcast producers with iOS listener metrics – the number of people who stayed for a full program and when listeners dropped out. Some observers at the time were concerned podcasters would rue the day they asked for analytics if the numbers exposed painful truths about low audience numbers or high drop-off rates. But that hasn’t been the case, according to Wired. The podcast ad network Midroll, for example, saw listeners complete 90% of an episode on average. Panoply listeners are getting through upward of 80% of content, and those who skip ads tend to stay through the episode. The data is aggregate level and still pretty light, but “[w]hat this will do now is give us a better story and more data to show to brands who maybe haven’t been in the podcasting space,” says Panoply CTO Jason Cox. More.

“Alexa, Make Money”

Sony is a bit cheesed off with Amazon over its insistence that the Alexa voice platform will not allow ads, anonymous sources at the studio tell The Information. First-mover media partners have placed meaningful investments in Alexa skills development on the assumption that revenue would follow. Sony developed its Jeopardy app hand in hand with Amazon’s Alexa team, Sony Television VP of games Geremie Camara told AdExchanger last year. Sony was “confident enough to commit to voice product development for its other game shows.” But what if advertising doesn’t follow? “We don’t plan to have ad products in Alexa,” Amazon global ad sales VP Seth Dallaire said at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview earlier this month. Maybe he’s serious. More (with subscription).

The Test Of Time

CNN is sunsetting a number of digital investments this year as part of an ongoing effort to test revenue streams and chop out those that don’t perform. “CNN has a mandate to fail fast, meaning initiatives that don’t show a promising return on investment after a few months will be re-evaluated,” reports Sara Fischer at Axios. News publishers are in a treacherous position. They need to diversify revenue streams and don’t want to miss fast-moving media trends, but overinvesting in high-performing products can be even more painful when platforms or consumer trends change course. More.

Déjà Review

“Mediapalooza” is back in swing, with brands including Shell, HSBC, Mars and Asda putting about $5 billion in media spend under review in January alone. But unlike in 2015, when marketers reviewed agencies en masse in pursuit of lower pricing, now they’re demanding better ad quality. As marketers in-house technology and learn more about the media supply chain, they’re looking for guaranteed outcomes like completed videos or cost per acquisition, rather than chasing the lowest CPM. “If [advertisers] can drive better business results via ad tech, albeit at a slightly higher cost per thousand, then that’s the logical thing to do, the advantages of which probably outstrip a cheaper base price,” says Henry Daglish, founder of media agency Bountiful Cow. More at Digiday.

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