Ben Young
Ben Young
December 8, 2023

Edition #427

On the podcast theatre trend & podcasting in general, Yetis year in preview & will Reddit IPO?

It’s a tired trope, guy (usually white), talking into a mic in our feeds, it’s part of a wider trend I’m calling podcast theatre. I even saw a thread about can we get a content blocker for these guy speaking to podcast mic videos? Half the time I don’t even think they’re on a podcast, they’ve just set it up that way.

Or now, like how you’d comment that a trailer was the movie, some podcasts seem more geared to the social soundbites than the actual episode. I listened to one recently, and was like oh, this is just fluff between the 3 soundbites, and it’s almost like the interviewer has started shaping the show around that, rather than a good rich conversation. They were just looking for those bites, to pop in the socials.

But I think, like a great sales person, you don’t mind being sold to as long as it’s enjoyable. Some of this podcast theatre feels more like that, a faux, fake. Rather than genuine takes.

But these are well worn entertainment tropes and wasn’t podcasting supposed to be different? To capture the idea that someone will listen to a topic for 40 minutes. This is the mainstreaming of podcasting. It going from small investment to large and in turn bigger audiences.

Adam Davidson dove into the changes in podcasting over time, a notable stark from 2018 in the cost to get episodes produced but also the quality required to do so.

That doesn’t mean, you can’t have a hobby podcast, it’s just, it’s way harder to get noticed, at least that’s the takeaway from the piece.

And boy does that ring true for media today, but for every maturing of a platform, there is a newer, more opportune on the horizon, where if you get in early, you can carve out a niche. That’s the wonder of the industry, culture & society changes, and the media does with it.

As we near the end of 23, I hope you’ve had a good one, and if not, that the new year will bring new opportunities your way.

Notable stories this week

  • Duration of the content doesn’t matter as long as it is good.
  • National Geographic on how content is saving the Okavango Delta.
  • Mozilla Developer Network partners exclusively with BuySellAds for native advertising initiative.
  • It was do or die for brand publishers in 2023.
  • Almost like election night: behind the scenes on Spotify Wrapped.
  • What creator Anna Kai looks for in a brand partner.
  • The rapid rise of synthetic content.
  • X ramps up new advertising strategy following Elon Musk’s tirade.
  • How Home Depot is experimenting with stoppable TV content on Vizio.
  • For some publishers, Google referral traffic is down.
  • Ads on Lapse? Not yet but marketers are keeping an eye on the platform.
  • The inflationary impact of AI-generated ad creative.
  • [Counterpoint] How SEOs make the web better.
  • Five lessons from successful local news startups.
  • Rather than a year in review, Yeti is previewing the year ahead.
  • UM and Magna undergo multiple rounds of layoffs amid client losses.
  • Yahoo’s new DSP feature relies on a mix of AI and first-party data. And an interview with their SVP Product strategy.
  • ANA study finds 25% of programmatic ad dollars are wasted.
  • BBC overhauls American website amid broader overseas push.
  • How Vox fell into ‘the BuzzFeed trap’
  • Advertising on X right now might not be all bad — for some.
  • Is chumbox economics feeding the industry’s MFA problem?
  • News outlets turn to Reddit as Musk’s X descends into chaos.
  • Google temporarily lets advertisers opt out of Search Partner Network.
  • Morning Brew hires Sara Sadler as ad chief.
  • Life really is better without the internet.
  • How Jessica Lessin’s The Information has survived a decade of media tumult.
  • [Long form] The digital world remade itself and now every company has become an ad seller.
  • [Long form] The rise and fall of podcasting.


Campaign of the week

  • Contentful with Bloomberg, Marketers overwhelmed by data look to AI for help. This is neat, as profiles one of their partners (a win) and gets their story across.

  • A satirical take on Spotify Wrapped but for advertising in 2023.
  • Mercury does the escalator pitch.

View all 2023 best campaigns.

Smartest commentary

  • “In a world of less data or worse data, whoever has the least-bad data wins”Brian Wieser.

Datapoints of note

  • [On creator content] An average lift of 5 points in brand familiarity, 9 points in brand affinity, 6 points in brand consideration, and 7 points in purchase intent was observed across campaigns and verticals.
  • Bustle publisher revenue drops 10% as CPG and parenting brands falter.
  • Digital ad revenue is expected to grow 5.9% in 2023.
  • Brand Advance Group on course to double revenue next year.
  • Peacock has 30m paying customers.
  • Only one third of every programmatic dollar reaches end-user.

That’s it for this week.