Ira Glass Recommends These ‘This American Life’ Episodes

From family mysteries and Native American history to stories that delight, here’s what the show’s host, Ira Glass, recommends to get you through the week.

#new-york-times, #podcasts, #radio, #this-american-life-radio-program


Original Content podcast: ‘The Crown’ introduces its Princess Diana

“The Crown,” Netflix’s lavish historical drama about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has returned for a fourth season that focuses on Elizabeth’s relationship with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and on Prince Charles’ troubled marriage to Diana, Princess of Wales.

We’ve had conflicting opinions about the show’s past seasons, and the new season hasn’t exactly settled those disagreements, as we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast.

Anthony and (especially) Jordan remain fans of the show, and they found season four to be particularly compelling. Yes, the monarchy is a little ridiculous and “The Crown” does have a tendency to simplify real-world events, but its retelling of the Charles-Diana relationship is heartbreaking, and it also takes the time to show some of the damage wrought by Thatcher’s policies.

Darrell, on the other hand, remains a skeptic, with little patience for all the attention paid to the royal family. He was particularly exasperated by the show’s deviation from historical reality, and by performances (particularly Gillian Anderson as Thatcher) that felt more like cheesy, “Saturday Night Live”-style imitations.

In addition to reviewing the show, we also discuss this week’s announcement that “Wonder Woman 1984” will be premiering in both theaters and on HBO Max on December 25.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:30 “Wonder Woman 1984” discussion
10:45 “The Crown” Season 4 review (mild spoilers)

#entertainment, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts, #the-crown


Ezra Klein Leaves Vox for The New York Times

Lauren Williams, the website’s editor in chief, is also leaving. The departures come against a backdrop of change in the digital media business.

#klein-ezra, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media, #newton-casey, #podcasts, #vox-media-inc, #williams-lauren, #yglesias-matthew


At The Ringer, Staff Writers Say They Are Second-String

The influx of star podcasters looms over a dispute between the union and managers at the Spotify-owned digital media company founded by Bill Simmons.

#organized-labor, #podcasts, #ringer-the-web-site, #simmons-bill-1969, #spotify


7 Podcasts From Familiar Faces

The podcast boom has produced plenty of star vehicles in audio form, and these celebrity-hosted shows are a cut above the rest.

#celebrities, #emily-v-gordon, #faris-anna, #johnson-dakota, #nanjiani-kumail, #noah-trevor-1984, #obrien-conan, #obama-michelle, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #van-ness-jonathan


Equity Shot: Airbnb’s IPO is finally here

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Today we have an Equity Shot for you about Airbnb’s S-1 filing, as it looks to go public before the year is out.

  • First we get into Airbnb’s macro performance, which shows a stable-picture historical revenue growth. There are a ton of numbers to get to so get ready for a quick dive into net revenue, gross margins and losses.
  • Then we discuss the dramatic drop in bookings, the promising comeback and if short-term travel is Airbnb’s future.
  • There’s a weird quarter of profitability that you should all know about, and a heads-up on what to look for in Q4 numbers.
  • Finally, we talk about the bullish and bearish case on Airbnb, which poetically filed the same day that Moderna announced a promising vaccine trial. 

All that, and our trusty other host Danny Crichton was busy filing a post about the winners and losers of the Airbnb IPO. Ownership, you quiet, billionaire beast. There’s more coming from TechCrunch on the company’s IPO, and from the Equity crew on everything else we ferret out on Thursday. Stay tuned!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.



#airbnb, #equity-podcast, #equity-shot, #exit, #fundings-exits, #podcasts, #startups


Spotify adds a built-in podcast playlist creation tool, ‘Your Episodes’

Spotify today launched a new feature designed to give podcast listeners a new way to organize and save content they want to listen to at a later time or keep their favorite episodes bookmarked for easy access. The feature, called “Your Episodes,” lets you bookmark individual episodes from any podcast, which are then added a new “Your Episodes” playlist.

This playlist is found pinned to the top of Your Library in the Music Playlist and Podcast Episodes tabs, says Spotify.

The new option could be useful for those times when a podcast you don’t normally subscribe to has a show you want to listen to — like an interview with a favorite celebrity, for example, or a discussion about a topic you’re passionate about. It could also be used to sample a podcast you’re unsure of by adding a couple episodes to a playlist to see how well you enjoy its content.

For example, if Spotify recommended a particular podcast based on your current listening habits, you could visit the show’s page and create a custom playlist of the episodes that looked most interesting.

In addition, users could take advantage of this new bookmarking feature to save favorite episodes they may want to listen to again at some point.

To save an episode, you’ll just click the “+” plus icon on an episode card or an episode page to add the show to the playlist. The playlist can include up to 10,000 episodes, Spotify says, and they’ll remain there until they’re manually removed.

Spotify has dabbled with podcast playlists before today. Last year, it began allowing users to add podcasts to their playlists and launched a combo music-and-podcast playlist for commuters called “Your Daily Drive.” Earlier this year, Spotify also rolled out a set of editorially curated podcast playlists to encourage discovery.

The new save feature simplifies the process of making a podcast playlist, however, as it allows users to quickly add content to a built-in playlist with a tap, instead of having to go through the more involved process of custom playlist creation.

The company says the new feature is rolling out starting today on iOS and Android to both Free users and Premium subscribers in all markets where podcasts are available.

#media, #podcasts, #spotify, #streaming


Original Content podcast: ‘The Vow’ offers a muddled look at the NXIVM cult

“The Vow” is a fascinating documentary, but we can’t quite recommend it whole-heartedly.

As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, HBO’s new docuseries tells the story of NXIVM (pronounced nex-ee-um), a self-improvement company that was subsequently revealed as a sex cult, with its leader Keith Raniere sentenced to 120 years in prison.

The core story is both compelling and horrifying. And “The Vow” features an astonishing amount of footage showing Raniere and other high-level NXIVM members at work — for that reason alone, the series is worth watching for anyone interested in the NXIVM story.

However, it’s also hampered by some unfortunate storytelling choices. For one thing, by parceling the story out over nine hour-long episode, the series often feels unnecessarily drawn out and repetitive.

And by focusing on a handful of high-ranking NXIVM members who subsequently became important whistleblowers and critics (including Mark Vicente, the filmmaker responsible for a great deal of that behind-the-scenes footage), “The Vow” has also opened itself up to criticism that it downplays the stories of Raniere’s true victims and obscures the extent of his crimes (unlike the Starz documentary “Seduced”) .

In addition to reviewing the series, we also discuss the latest Disney+ growth numbers and the new season of “The Bachelorette.”

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Introduction
0:45 Disney+ discussion
7:40 “The Bachelorette” discussion
30:48 “The Vow” review

#entertainment, #hbo, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts, #the-vow


Funny Podcasts to Escape Politics

Now that the election is in the rearview mirror, release the last of the tension with funny audio shows on the lighter side of things.

#computers-and-the-internet, #miranda-lin-manuel, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Original Content podcast: ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ is the historical chess drama we need right now

On paper, “The Queen’s Gambit” might not sound like a compelling drama: Based on a novel by Walter Tevis, the Netflix series tells the story of Beth Harmon as she rises through the world of competitive chess, eventually taking on the world champion from the Soviet Union.

But on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, your hosts are unanimous in their love for the series. We talk a bit about some of the flaws (a setup-heavy first episode, the unsatisfying treatment of Beth’s friend Jolene), but for the most part, we’re happy to spend our time praising the show.

Some of that has to do with the period setting — “The Queen’s Gambit” traces Beth’s life through the 1950s and ’60s, with some delightfully retro sets and costumes, along with a clear-eyed approach towards the condescension and sexism that Beth faces in her early matches.

At the same time, it’s Beth (played by Anya Taylor-Joy) who pulls you through all eight episodes as they depict her complex relationship with her foster mother, her struggles with substance abuse and her friendships with other chess players. While Beth has a handful traits you’ll recognize from other difficult geniuses portrayed on-screen, she’s ultimately too complex to boil down to a single idea or logline.

And while you don’t need to know much about chess to enjoy “The Queen’s Gambit,” the show’s focus on character and personality allows it to depict competitive chess in a way that is, in fact, thrilling.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

f you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
4:28 “The Queen’s Gambit” review
34:11 “The Queen’s Gambit” spoiler discussion

#entertainment, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


Mixtape podcast: Wellness in the time of the struggle 

We’re back with another episode of Mixtape. This week Marah Lidey, co-founder and co-CEO of Shine, joins us to discuss mental health, venture capital, portfolio diversity and connecting with other founders trying to make it all work.

It’s easy to look at 2020 and identify perfectly valid reasons to pursue mental health. But that’s not the right way to think about it. Mental health just is. It’s for everyone, every day — no matter what fresh hell is going on in the world.

And it doesn’t have to take the form of therapy once, or even twice, per week. Stretch for five minutes after waking up or when you need to get away from your computer. Sit with your eyes closed. Chat with a friend. Or, if it’s your thing, go ahead and find some therapy. Do you.

Lidey says Shine seeks to make wellness accessible, and that is something that is becoming more and more necessary.

“Since we started, we’ve been on this mission to make caring for your mental and emotional health easier, more inclusive and more representative than it’s ever been,” Lidey tells us, referring to the premise she and her co-founder Naomi Hirabayashi designed for Shine.

It’s the company’s focus on inclusivity that sets it apart from other wellness apps on the market. Lidey says she and Hirabayashi met in New York while working at a nonprofit 10 years ago. They bonded on the shared feeling of alienation resulting from the need to subdue their intersectional identities.

“When I found myself in New York, and this cool job a few years later, and I was one of the only senior women of color in my environment on this management team, I was struggling, like I said, to kind of reconcile who I was and who I was expressing myself as in this new environment — the things that I would maybe subdue about myself or hide or, you know, feel like I couldn’t fully express,” Lidey says. “And a lot of the messaging that I think we get, that’s where me and my now co-founder really bonded.”

This year has also come with an awakening of sorts around diversity, or lack thereof, in the workplace, and diversity, or lack thereof, in venture capital. We’ll have to wait to see how long it lasts, but Lidey does recognize the efforts by some firms that have taken a look at their portfolios and had a bit of an “oh shit” moment.

“What people recognized was not just the accountability that they were going to be held to for maybe the first time, but also what they were missing out on,” Lidey says. “They don’t have any perspectives on their teams for how to deal with this and how to navigate it and how to support maybe their founders or how to support the wider community or how to be relevant right now. People, I think, were struggling with that.”

Click play above for the entire chat. It’s a good one. And while you’re at it, subscribe on your favorite podcatcher.



#diversity, #marah-lidey, #mixtape-podcast, #podcasts, #shine, #tc, #techcrunch-include


Modern Love Podcast: A Dog Story for Election Relief

Feeling election stress? These two stories about a man and his dog may help.

#anxiety-and-stress, #dogs, #love-emotion, #podcasts


‘Song Exploder’ and the Inexhaustible Hustle of Hrishikesh Hirway

The creator of several podcasts and a new television series is a popular investigator of the creative process. But his most personal case remains unsolved.

#content-type-personal-profile, #hirway-hrishikesh-1979, #home-cooking-radio-program, #music, #partners-radio-program, #podcasts, #song-exploder-tv-program, #television, #the-west-wing-weekly-radio-program


Original Content podcast: Bill Murray’s charm can’t hide the sadness of ‘On the Rocks’

“On the Rocks,” a new film on Apple TV+, focuses on a troubled marriage between Laura (a writer played by Rashida Jones) and Dean (a startup executive played by Marlon Wayans). When Laura begins to suspect Dean of cheating on her, she turns to her father Felix (Bill Murray) for help.

The film reunites Murray with his “Lost in Translation” director Sofia Coppola. It can feel feather-light at times, thanks to his seemingly effortless charm — it’s hard to resist Felix when he’s singing to a bar full of strangers or devouring caviar during an impromptu stakeout. But the script and performances also make it painfully clear that he’s let Laura down as a father, and that her disappointment hasn’t gone away.

As we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we loved watching beautifully shot footage of Murray and Jones in classic New York City bars and restaurants. We were, however, a bit less satisfied with the ending, which doesn’t really do justice to all the thorny emotional issues that the film raises.

In addition to reviewing “On the Rocks,” we also discuss Netflix’s imminent U.S. price increase and the new trailer for the pandemic thriller “Songbird”.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:35 “Emily in Paris” listener response
4:50 “Songbird” trailer discussion
9:14 Netflix price discussion
15:50 “On the Rocks” review
33:00 “On the Rocks” spoiler discussion

#apple, #apple-tv, #entertainment, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


Joe Rogan, Alex Jones and Spotify’s illusion of neutrality

Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have taken a messy beating from critics unhappy with how they handle questionable content on their platform, with some complaining they don’t do enough to rein in misinformation, and others decrying censorship. But what about Spotify? The company is never mentioned in this context, and with its traditional business couched in streaming recorded music, you might understand why its biggest controversies over the last few years have been over how little musicians get paid.

That position, however, is being jolted into quite different territory now with its move into podcasting, which is raising lots of questions over what role Spotify should and could play in overseeing the content on its platform. Now people are in an uproar of who, essentially, gets a platform on its platform.

That issue was highlighted in the last day, when Joe Rogan — the highly paid podcaster with a libertarian bent — brought on Alex Jones (of InfoWars fame, whose own podcast was removed from Spotify, along with YouTube and others, in 2018) on to his show for a meandering three hours, leading to an uproar over how Spotify is giving a spotlight and microphone to an infamous purveyor of misinformation.

The conversation, which also featured comedian Tim Dillon, covered a pretty wide range of topics, with the common themes being today’s most controversial topics, unproven (or disproven) stories behind them presented as fact, and of course the dastardly Dems.

Rogan made a few attempts at refuting or standing up some of the stories and claims that they covered. Early on, for example, when Jones started to talk about how the Democrats are in the pocket of the lobbyists (while Trump was not, according to him), Rogan called up web links in real time, showing that this isn’t quite so clear, with AT&T admitting to paying Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen fees, to help advance its own position with Trump and his administration.

“I was just trying to give you a Gestalt analysis,” Jones growled in response… He then went into a defense of Jared Kushner. “Everything he touches he turns to gold.” (Except, it seems, this, this, and well, maybe many other things, actually.)

The conversation veered on to a number of other topics, such as how the Democrats were intentionally trying to crash the economy to make Trump look bad, and a discussion, very the foggy on details, of the effectiveness of vaccines (foggy, but probably enough strands of which, in the hands of a person already skeptical, may well be the tipping point to dismissing Covid-19 public health initiatives altogether).

For now, Spotify is not saying anything in response to this publicly. We’ve tried to reach out to the company to get a response to questions about the show, and we will update if we hear back. We’ve had nothing for hours, and a colleague who asked the same questions months ago never heard back either. So we’re not holding our breath.

Notably, while Spotify has detailed how to report illegal musical tracks or explicit lyrics on its platform, it has never outlined its content policies when it comes to podcasting.

And from the looks of it, the company has been using some delaying tactics in facing up to the problem more directly.

BuzzFeed today has published a leaked memo from the company’s legal officer Horacio Gutierrez, from today, which appears to defend the company’s position on publishing controversial podcasts (not this one in particular), giving hosts the freedom to have whichever guests they want, and not responding to public outcry but to refer issues to Trust & Safety to investigate.

“If a team member has concerns about any piece of content on our platform, you should encourage them to report it to Trust & Safety because they are the experts on our team charged with reviewing content,” he wrote. “However, it’s important that they aren’t simply flagging a piece of content just because of something they’ve read online. It’s all too common that things are taken out of context.”

Bulleted talking points about controversial content seem to underscore how Spotify is sticking to a position of being a neutral platform, not a proactive curator: “Spotify has always been a place for creative expressions,” Gutierrez wrote. “It’s important to have diverse voices and points of view on our platform.”

He then noted that if a podcast complies with Spotify’s content policies — it doesn’t make clear what those are — then guests are not banned: “We are not going to ban specific individuals from being guests on other people’s shows, as the episode/show complies with our content policies.”

He noted in closing that “we appreciate that not all of you will agree with every piece of content on our platform. However, we do expect you to help your teams understand our role as a platform and the care we take in making decisions.”

People were upset back when Rogan came to Spotify in an exclusive, reportedly $100 million, deal earlier this summer — an event that first introduced the question of how Spotify would handle content controversies. No surprise there, since Rogan was already courting controversy over, for example, how he uses slurs considered to be transphobic by members of the LGBQT community (an issue that has not gone away). Now those questions are coming up again, along with boycotting threats.

Whether this actually makes a dent in its user base, it does raise lots of questions about how the profile of the company is changing, and that Spotify has been given a relatively easy break when it comes to content on its platform up to now. It’s been optimising for exclusive names and speed to market in getting them (and paying big bucks for the bragging rights), over considering what those names are actually doing, and what impact that could have.

One interesting angle to ponder is whether other high-profile hosts might bail if they feel strongly about Spotify’s editorial position. Another is whether (or when) this will catch the eye of the Powers That Be.

Just today, executives from Facebook, Twitter and Google are being brought before the Senate with questions about bias on their platform and how their staff approaches content moderation, and whether they are liable for that content. I don’t know how effective or impactful today’s testimony will be, but for a start, maybe it’s time they start including Spotify in that list, too.

#podcasts, #spotify, #tc


A Podcast Answers a Fast-Food Question That Nobody Is Asking

Intentionally inane, “Whatever Happened to Pizza at McDonald’s?” satirizes the business of podcasting.

#advertising-and-marketing, #alaska, #bering-sea, #darnielle-john, #fast-food-industry, #indiegogo-com, #los-angeles-calif, #mcdonalds-corporation, #mountain-goats-music-group, #ohio, #pizza, #podcasts, #trump-donald-j


Original Content podcast: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is gloriously bonkers

As we tried to recap the first season of HBO’s “Lovecraft Country,” one thing became clear: The show is pretty nuts.

The story begins by sending Atticus “Tic” Freeman (Jonathan Majors), his friend Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smolett) and his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) on a road trip across mid-’50s America in search of Tic’s missing father. You might assume that the search will occupy the entire season, or take even longer than that; instead, the initial storyline is wrapped up quickly.

And while there’s a story running through the whole season, most of the episodes are relatively self-contained, offering their own versions on various horror and science fiction tropes. There’s a haunted house episode, an Indiana Jones episode, a time travel episode and more.

The show isn’t perfect — the writing can be clunky, the special effects cheesy and cheap-looking. But at its best, it does an impressive job of mixing increasingly outlandish plots, creepy monsters (with plentiful gore) and a healthy dose of politics.

After all, “Lovecraft Country” (adapted form a book by Matt Ruff) is named after notoriously racist horror writer H.P. Lovecraft, but it focuses almost entirely on Black characters, making the case that old genres can be reinvigorated with diverse casts and a rethinking of political assumptions.

In addition to reviewing the show, the latest episode of the Original Content podcast also includes a discussion of Netflix earnings, the new season of “The Bachelorette” and the end of Quibi.

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:36 Netflix discussion
3:18 “The Bachelorette”
6:30 Quibi
14:35 “Lovecraft Country” review
31:32 “Lovecraft Country” spoiler discussion

#entertainment, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


4 Current Affairs Podcasts for Curious Children

Daily, biweekly and weekly shows deliver kids the news at their level, and help contextualize the world around them.

#news-and-news-media, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Fyre Festival Promoter Has a Podcast, and a Spot in Solitary Confinement

A lawyer for Billy McFarland, who ended up in prison on fraud charges after his musical festival flopped, says his client was punished for his new project.

#content-type-personal-profile, #festivals, #fyre-media-inc, #mcfarland-billy-1991, #music, #podcasts, #solitary-confinement


2 Murders 3 Decades Ago: A Podcaster and a TV Producer Dig In

An unlikely collaboration yields two productions that try to untangle a mystery in Michigan.

#davis-jacinda-television-producer, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #kalamazoo-mich, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #podcasts, #simpson-susan-podcaster, #television, #the-killer-in-question-tv-program, #titus-jeff-november-17-1990-murder, #undisclosed-radio-program


Spotify takes on radio with its own daily morning show

Spotify’s streaming music service is starting to resemble terrestrial radio with today’s launch of the company’s first daily morning show, “The Get Up.” Like other morning shows designed for commuters, the new program will be led by hosts and will combine news, pop culture, entertainment and music. But in Spotify’s case, the music is personalized to the listener,

The show is not a live program, however. Unlike radio morning shows where content is broadcast live and often also involves interactions with listeners — like call-ins or contests — Spotify’s show is pre-recorded and made available as a playlist.

That means you can listen at any time after its 7 AM ET release on weekday mornings.

You can also opt to skip portions of the programming — like the music or some of the chatter — if you prefer. (Spotify, to be clear, refers to the show as a podcast, but the format actually splits the hosts’ talk radio-like content from the individual music tracks. In other words, it’s more like a mixed-media playlist than a traditional podcast.)

Another key thing that makes Spotify’s programming different from a radio show is that the music is personalized to the listener. Of course, that’s not always ideal. If you prefer to listen to new music during your commute, but have had been busy streaming oldies on Spotify’s service, your morning show will reflect those trends. There’s currently no way to program the show more directly by genre, either.

The show itself is hosted by three people: journalist Speedy Morman, previously of Complex; YouTuber Kat Lazo, known for her series “The Kat Call;” and Spotify’s own Xavier ‘X’ Jernigan, Head of Cultural Partnerships and In-House Talent.

The new playlist will be made available on weekday mornings in the Made for You and Driving hubs on Spotify for both free and premium subscribers in the U.S. You can also access the show directly from

#media, #morning-show, #music, #podcasts, #programming, #radio, #spotify, #streaming


Modern Love Podcast: When Getting Old Never Happens

Love stories cut short by the unexpected live on in these retellings.

#dating-and-relationships, #deaths-obituaries, #fires-and-firefighters, #love-emotion, #new-york-city, #podcasts


Anne Washburn Just Wants Her Trump Play to Be Irrelevant

“Shipwreck,” a fantasia about white liberals and the president’s infamous dinner with James Comey, has been adapted into an audio play.

#ali-saheem, #podcasts, #public-theater, #shipwreck-play, #theater, #washburn-anne, #woolly-mammoth-theater-co


Original Content podcast: It’s hard to resist the silliness of ‘Emily in Paris’

“Emily in Paris,” a new series on Netflix, has provoked skeptical responses from actual Parisians who are happy to point out the abundant clichés in its story of a young American (played by Lily Collins) who takes a last-minute transfer to a marketing agency in Paris.

Some fairly obvious culture clash moments ensue, along with equally implausible storylines where Emily’s extremely basic ideas about social media are treated as controversial and groundbreaking by her employer.

And yet, as we discuss on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we actually found the show delightful — or at the very least, highly watchable.

Yes, the show’s Paris is a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy that we’re happy to visit, particularly now. Yes, most of the show’s characters are basically cartoons, but they’re entertaining and fun cartoons. And at the end of the day, we’re all suckers for a slick, escapist romantic comedy, which is exactly what “Emily in Paris” delivers.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:31 “Emily in Paris” review
30:43 “Emily in Paris” spoiler discussion

#emily-in-paris, #entertainment, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


Modern Love Podcast Season Premiere

Listen to “Driveway Elegies” — stories of heartache and home.

#dating-and-relationships, #love-emotion, #marriages, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Spotify introduces a new music-and-spoken word format, open to all creators

Spotify today is launching a new feature that combines spoken word audio commentary with music tracks. The new format will allow Spotify to reproduce the radio-like experience of listening to a DJ or a music journalist offering their perspective on the music. But Spotify is also making it possible for anyone to use the format to create a music-filled podcast through an integration with Spotify’s own DIY podcasting app, Anchor.

Spotify says the new shows will still compensate the artist the same as if the track was streamed normally, as the format relies on Spotify’s music catalog licenses just like regular streams.

However, the experience will be customized to listeners based on what tier of Spotify’s service they use.

Image Credits: Spotify

Premium subscribers will be able to hear the full tracks as part of the shows, Spotify explains, while free listeners will only hear the 30-second previews.

Listeners can also interact with the music content within the shows as they otherwise could in a playlist — by liking the songs, saving the track, or viewing more information about the track without having to leave the episode page or do a search. To do this, you’ll hit “Explore Episode” on the show’s episode page, or tap the play bar at the bottom of the screen to pull up the track list.

Image Credits:

The format is similar in some ways to Pandora’s Stories, also a combination of music and podcasting, introduced last year. But Pandora’s effort focused on allowing artists to add narratives to their music — like talking about the meaning of a song or what inspires them. Other creators could also apply for access.

Spotify’s new format, meanwhile, is immediately open to all users in supported regions.

As of today, the Anchor app will now allow any user to create a show using this format in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, to start.

The app’s update will allow users to select a new “Music” tool, which then connects them with the entire Spotify music catalog of over 65 million tracks. Users will also be able to connect their Spotify account to browse and select songs from their own playlists to add to shows.

This is a significant update, as limitations around streaming rights had previously limited podcast creators from being able to easily integrate licensed music in their programs.

Image Credits: Spotify

Creators will also be about to insert ads in their shows, via Anchor Sponsorships. The company notes that this process is still considered a beta, and it will be manually reviewing shows using the format for now. The review process can take up to 24 hours.

Spotify says the feature will expand to more markets soon.

At launch, Spotify is also launching its own set of seven Spotify Original Shows that put the new format to work, which can be found in the new “Shows With Music” hub in the Browse section of the Spotify app or in a programmed shelf in your Home tab.

These first seven shows include (descriptions via Spotify):

  • Halleloo Happy Hour with DJ Shangela – Grab a drink and join our effervescent host, “Shangela” (A Star is Born, Ru Paul’s Drag Race), for her weekly happy hour playlist! Featuring games, guests, and tea. Halleloo!
  • Murder Ballads – Explore the history and folklore behind some of America’s most mysterious and violent songs.
    60 Songs That Explain the 90s – The 1990s were a turning point in music. Listen along as The Ringer’s preeminent music critic Rob Harvilla curates and explores 60 iconic songs from the ‘90s that define the decade.
  • Our Love Song – Every week a couple shares the soundtrack that defines their love story. As a culture we are fascinated by love and romance. It is why the majority of songs are about love and heartbreak. This show will not only explore entertaining love stories, but also the classic songs that define these relationships.
  • Conspiracy Theories: Music Edition – A deeper look at some of the most fascinating theories surrounding famous artists and the music industry as it affects the world.
  • Rock This with Allison Hagendorf – Rock This with Allison Hagendorf is a weekly show celebrating all things Rock & Alternative culture, featuring one of a kind interviews and highlighting music from your favorite and emerging artists.
  • 10 Songs That Made Me – An artist or celebrity creates a storytelling playlist of 10 songs that mark meaningful moments in their lives, providing personal insights into each song choice.

This isn’t Spotify’s first attempt at combining spoken word and music on its platform. Last year, the company launched “Your Daily Drive,” a personalized playlist that included both your favorite music and podcasts. But this could be a disjointed experience, as the music and podcasts generally do not relate to one another.

The new format, meanwhile, is more of a storytelling experience and could prompt creators to make more music-filled podcasts, helping Spotify to expand its podcast listenership and revenues.

Spotify said earlier this summer it had already grown its podcast catalog by 50% to reach 1.5 million shows, and its podcast advertising outperformed in the most recent quarter.

The company has also been busy adding big names to its podcast catalog, including Michelle Obama, Kim Kardashian West, and Joe Rogan. But some early data on the efforts indicate these deals may be more useful in retention than new user acquisition. And the deals are pricey. (And in Rogan’s case, controversial).

By opening up music-filled podcast creation to all, Spotify has a more affordable way to expand its podcast library and even reach a long tail of listeners.

#media, #music, #podcasts, #spotify, #streaming-music, #streaming-service


An Arrest in Canada Casts a Shadow on a New York Times Star, and The Times

A top editor is now reviewing Rukmini Callimachi’s reporting on terrorism, which turned distant conflicts into accessible stories but drew criticism from colleagues.

#al-qaeda, #associated-press, #baquet-dean, #callimachi-rukmini-maria-1973, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #kidnapping-and-hostages, #muslims-and-islam, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media, #news-sources-confidential-status-of, #podcasts, #terrorism


Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Enola Holmes’ is thoroughly mediocre

There’s nothing excessively bad about “Enola Holmes,” a new film about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister Enola. But there’s nothing particularly good, either.

The film was originally planned for a theatrical release from Warner Bros., but Netflix picked it up earlier this year, after the pandemic shuttered theaters around the world.

“Enola Holmes” stars Millie Bobby Brown as titular adolescent detective, along with Henry Cavill as Sherlock, and they’re both … fine? Neither of them seems to be phoning it in, and Cavill is downright charming at times. And although Brown has admitted that she struggled to reacquire her English accent, she brings plenty of energy to her role, which includes plenty of fourth-wall-breaking monologues that fill the audience in on backstory and explain the solutions to not-particularly-puzzling mysteries.

As we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the film seems competent in virtually every respect, but thoroughly inspired, leaving us underwhelmed by the results — Anthony to the point where he was pacing around the room and wondering about his life choices. But hey, maybe kids will enjoy watching it?

In addition to reviewing the movie, we also discuss Netflix’s recent discussion to cancel “Glow” and “Teenage Bounty Hunters.”

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:37 “Away” listener response
4:04 “Glow”/”Teenage Bounty Hunters” discussion
12:43 “Enola Holmes” review
29:17: “Enola Holmes” spoiler discussion

#enola-holmes, #entertainment, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


These 3 factors are holding back podcast monetization

Podcast advertising growth is inhibited by three major factors:

  • Lack of macro distribution, consumption and audience data.
  • Current methods of conversion tracking.
  • Idea of a “playbook” for podcast performance marketing.

Because of these limiting factors, it’s currently more of an art than a science to piece disparate data from multiple sources, firms, agencies and advertisers, into a somewhat conclusive argument to brands as to why they should invest in podcast advertising.

1. Lack of macro distribution, consumption and audience data

There were several resources that released updates based on what they saw in terms of consumption when COVID-19 hit. Hosting platforms, publishers and third-party tracking platforms all put out their best guesses as to what was happening. Advertisers’ own podcast listening habits had been upended due to lockdowns; they wanted to know how broader changes in listening habits were affecting their campaigns. Were downloads going up, down or staying the same? What was happening with sports podcasts, without sports?

Read part 1 of this article, Podcast advertising has a business intelligence gap, on TechCrunch.

At Right Side Up, we receive and analyze all of the available research from major publishers (Stitcher, aCast), to major platforms (Megaphone) and third-party research firms (Podtrac, IAB, Edison Research). However, no single entity encompasses the entire space or provides the kind of interactive, off-the-shelf customizable SaaS product we’d prefer, and that digitally native marketers expect. Plus, there isn’t anything published in real-time; most sources publish once or twice annually.

So what did we do? We reached out to trusted publishers and partners to gather data around shifting consumption due to COVID-19 ourselves, and determined that, though there was a drop in downloads in the short term, it was neither as precipitous nor as enduring as some had feared. This was confirmed by some early reports available, but how were we to evidence our own piecewise sample with another? Moreover, how could you invest 6-7 figures of marketing dollars if you didn’t have the firsthand intelligence we gathered and our subject matter experts on deck to make constant adjustments to your approach?

We were able to piece together trends we’re seeing that point to increased download activity in recent months that surpass February/March heights. We’ve determined that the industry is back on track for growth with a less steep, but still growing, listenership trajectory. But even though more recent reports have been published, a longitudinal, objective resource has not yet emerged to show a majority of the industry’s journey through one of the most disruptive media environments in recent history.

There is a need for a new or existing entity to create cohesive data points; a third party that collects and reports listening across all major hosts and distribution points, or “podcatchers,” as they’re colloquially called. As a small example: Wouldn’t it be nice to objectively track seasonal listening of news/talk programming and schedule media planning and flighting around that? Or to know what the demographics of that audience look like compared to other verticals?

What percentage increase in efficiency and/or volume would you gain from your marketing efforts in the channel? Would that delta be profitable against paying a nominal or ongoing licensing or research fee for most brands?

These challenges aren’t just affecting advertisers. David Cohn, VP of Sales at Megaphone, agrees that “full transparency from the listening platforms would make our jobs easier, along with everyone else’s in the industry. We’d love to know how much of an episode is listened to, whether an ad is skipped, etc. Along the same lines, having a central source for [audience] measurement would be ideal — similar to what Nielsen has been for TV.” This would also enable us to understand cross-show ad frequency, another black box for advertisers and the industry at large.

#ad-technology, #advertising-tech, #audience-measurement, #column, #digital-marketing, #growth-marketing, #marketing, #online-advertising, #podcast-advertising, #podcasts, #tc, #verified-experts


Podcast advertising has a business intelligence gap

There are sizable, meaningful gaps in the knowledge collection and publication of podcast listening and engagement statistics. Coupled with still-developing advertising technology because of the distributed nature of the medium, this causes uncertainty in user consumption and ad exposure and impact. There is also a lot of misinformation and misconception about the challenges marketers face in these channels.

All of this compounds to delay ad revenue growth for creators, publishers and networks by inhibiting new and scaling advertising investment, resulting in lost opportunity among all parties invested in the channel. There’s a viable opportunity for a collective of industry professionals to collaborate on a solution for unified, free reporting, or a new business venture that collects and publishes more comprehensive data that ultimately promotes growth for podcast advertising.

Podcasts have always had challenges when it comes to the analytics behind distribution, consumption and conversion. For an industry projected to exceed $1 billion in ad spend in 2021, it’s impressive that it’s built on RSS: A stable, but decades-old technology that literally means really simple syndication. Native to the technology is a one-way data flow, which democratizes the medium from a publishing perspective and makes it easy for creators to share content, but difficult for advertisers trying to measure performance and figure out where to invest ad dollars. This is compounded by a fractured creator, server and distribution/endpoint environment unique to the medium.

Because podcasts lag other media channels in business intelligence, it’s still an underinvested channel relative to its ability to reach consumers and impact purchasing behavior.

For creators, podcasting has begun to normalize distribution analytics through a rising consolidation of hosts like Art19, Megaphone, Simplecast and influence from the IAB. For advertisers, though, consumption and conversion analytics still lag far behind. For the high-growth tech companies we work with, and as performance marketers ourselves, measuring the return on investment of our ad spend is paramount.

Because podcasts lag other media channels in business intelligence, it’s still an underinvested channel relative to its ability to reach consumers and impact purchasing behavior. This was evidenced when COVID-19 hit this year, as advertisers that were highly invested or highly interested in investing in podcast advertising asked a very basic question: “Is COVID-19, and its associated lifestyle shifts, affecting podcast listening? If so, how?”

The challenges of decentralized podcast ad data

We reached out to trusted partners to ask them for insights specific to their shows.

Nick Southwell-Keely, U.S. director of Sales & Brand Partnerships at Acast, said: “We’re seeing our highest listens ever even amid the pandemic. Across our portfolio, which includes more than 10,000 podcasts, our highest listening days in Acast history have occurred in [July].” Most partners provided similar anecdotes, but without centralized data, there was no one, singular firm to go to for an answer, nor one report to read that would cover 100% of the space. Almost more importantly, there is no third-party perspective to validate any of the anecdotal information shared with us.

Publishers, agencies and firms all scrambled to answer the question. Even still, months later, we don’t have a substantial and unifying update on exactly what, if anything, happened, or if it’s still happening, channel-wide. Rather, we’re still checking in across a wide swath of partners to identify and capitalize on microtrends. Contrast this to native digital channels like paid search and paid social, and connected, yet formerly “traditional” media (e.g., TV, CTV/OTT) that provide consolidated reports that marketers use to make decisions about their media investments.

The lasting murkiness surrounding podcast media behavior during COVID-19 is just one recent case study on the challenges of a decentralized (or nonexistent) universal research vendor/firm, and how it can affect advertisers’ bottom lines. A more common illustration of this would be an advertiser pulling out of ads, for fear of underdelivery on a flat rate unit, missing out on incremental growth because they were worried about not being able to get download reporting and getting what they paid for. It’s these kinds of basic shortcomings that the ad industry needs to account for before we can hit and exceed the ad revenue heights projected for podcasting.

Advertisers may pull out of campaigns for fear of under-delivery, missing out on incremental growth because they were worried about not getting what they paid for.

If there’s a silver lining to the uncertainty in podcast advertising metrics and intelligence, it’s that supersavvy growth marketers have embraced the nascent medium and allowed it to do what it does best: personalized endorsements that drive conversions. While increased data will increase demand and corresponding ad premiums, for now, podcast advertising “veterans” are enjoying the relatively low profile of the space.

As Ariana Martin, senior manager, Offline Growth Marketing at Babbel notes, “On the other hand, podcast marketing, through host read ads, has something personal to it, which might change over time and across different podcasts. Because of this personal element, I am not sure if podcast marketing can ever be transformed into a pure data game. Once you get past the understanding that there is limited data in podcasting, it is actually very freeing as long as you’re seeing a certain baseline of good results, [such as] sales attributed to podcast [advertising] via [survey based methodology], for example.”

So how do we grow from the industry feeling like a secret game-changing channel for a select few brands, to widespread adoption across categories and industries?

Below, we’ve laid out the challenges of nonuniversal data within the podcast space, and how that hurts advertisers, publishers, third-party research/tracking organizations, and broadly speaking, the podcast ecosystem. We’ve also outlined the steps we’re taking to make incremental solutions, and our vision for the industry moving forward.

Lingering misconceptions about podcast measurement

1. Download standardization

In search of a rationale to how such a buzzworthy growth channel lags behind more established media types’ advertising revenue, many articles will point to “listener” or “download” numbers not being normalized. As far as we can tell at Right Side Up, where we power most of the scaled programs run by direct advertisers, making us a top three DR buying force in the industry, the majority of publishers have adopted the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines Version 2.0.

This widespread adoption solved the “apples to apples” problem as it pertained to different networks/shows valuing a variable, nonstandard “download” as an underlying component to their CPM calculations. Previous to this widespread adoption, it simply wasn’t known whether a “download” from publisher X was equal to a “download” from publisher Y, making it difficult to aim for a particular CPM as a forecasting tool for performance marketing success.

However, the IAB 2.0 guidelines don’t completely solve the unique-user identification problem, as Dave Zohrob, CEO of Chartable points out. “Having some sort of anonymized user identifier to better calculate audience size would be fantastic —  the IAB guidelines offer a good approximation given the data we have but [it] would be great to actually know how many listeners are behind each IP/user-agent combo.”

2. Proof of ad delivery

A second area of business intelligence gaps that many articles point to as a cause of inhibited growth is a lack of “proof of delivery.” Ad impressions are unverifiable, and the channel doesn’t have post logs, so for podcast advertisers the analogous evidence of spots running is access to “airchecks,” or audio clippings of the podcast ads themselves.

Legacy podcast advertisers remember when a full-time team of entry-level staffers would hassle networks via phone or email for airchecks, sometimes not receiving verification that the spot had run until a week or more after the fact. This delay in the ability to accurately report spend hampered fast-moving performance marketers and gave the illusion of podcasts being a slow, stiff, immovable media type.

Systematic aircheck collection has been a huge advent and allowed for an increase in confidence in the space — not only for spend verification, but also for creative compliance and optimization. Interestingly, this feature has come up almost as a byproduct of other development, as the companies who offer these services actually have different core business focuses: Magellan AI, our preferred partner, is primarily a competitive intelligence platform, but pivoted to also offer airchecking services after realizing what a pain point it was for advertisers; Veritone, an AI company that’s tied this service to its ad agency, Veritone One; and Podsights, a pixel-based attribution modeling solution.

3. Competitive intelligence

Last, competitive intelligence and media research continue to be a challenge. Magellan AI and Podsights offer a variety of fee and free tiers and methods of reporting to show a subset of the industry’s activity. You can search a show, advertiser or category, and get a less-than-whole, but still directionally useful, picture of relevant podcast advertising activity. While not perfect, there are sufficient resources to at least see the tip of the industry iceberg as a consideration point to your business decision to enter podcasts or not.

As Sean Creeley, founder of Podsights, aptly points out: “We give all Podsights research data, analysis, posts, etc. away for free because we want to help grow the space. If [a brand], as a DIY advertiser, desired to enter podcasting, it’s a downright daunting task. Research at least lets them understand what similar companies in their space are doing.”

There is also a nontech tool that publishers would find valuable. When we asked Shira Atkins, co-founder of Wonder Media Network, how she approaches research in the space, she had a not-at-all-surprising, but very refreshing response: “To be totally honest, the ‘research’ I do is texting and calling the 3-5 really smart sales people I know and love in the space. The folks who were doing radio sales when I was still in high school, and the podcast people who recognize the messiness of it all, but have been successful at scaling campaigns that work for both the publisher and the advertiser. I wish there was a true tracker of cross-industry inventory — how much is sold versus unsold. The way I track the space writ large is by listening to a sample set of shows from top publishers to get a sense for how they’re selling and what their ads are like.”

Even though podcast advertising is no longer limited by download standardization, spend verification and competitive research, there are still hurdles that the channel has not yet overcome.

The conclusion to this article, These 3 factors are holding back podcast monetization, is available exclusively to Extra Crunch subscribers.

#advertising-tech, #chartable, #column, #digital-marketing, #growth-marketing, #marketing, #media, #online-advertising, #podcasts, #tc, #verified-experts


Subscribe to the Modern Love Podcast

Love will sound a little different this season.

#love-emotion, #modern-love-times-column, #new-york-times, #podcasts, #quarantines


Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘Away’ deftly balances space exploration and human drama

“Away,” a new drama on Netflix, tells the story of the first manned expedition to Mars — Emma Green (played by Hilary Swank) leads an international team of astronauts on the three-year mission, while her husband Matt (Josh Charles) is part of the support team back on Earth.

As we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the show starts a bit slowly, and its space sequences (particularly an early space walk) aren’t quite as thrilling as we’d hoped.

But “Away” excels at creating compelling human drama — there’s believable tension on the spaceship and in mission control, and pain and guilt on both sides as the astronauts are separated from their loved ones for the long journey to-and-from Mars.

Anthony admitted that before watching, he worried that the show might be a bit too weepy and melodramatic. Instead, he was impressed by the way it made all the storylines feel natural and important, no matter how high or low the stakes. And we also appreciated how the astronauts’ backstories are filled in via flashbacks — the third episode, focused on Chinese astronaut Lu Wang (Vivian Lu), was an early highlight.

In addition to reviewing “Away,” we also caught up on what we’ve been up to since the last regular episode two weeks ago, and we discussed a new Disney+ co-watching feature called GroupWatch.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro/catch-up
5:55 Disney+ discussion
9:19 “Away” review
41:41 “Away” spoiler discussion

#away, #entertainment, #media, #netflix, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts


The Times Starts Review of ‘Caliphate’ Podcast After Hoax Charge

The Canadian authorities arrested a man featured in the podcast and accused him of falsely claiming to have been an ISIS executioner.

#caliphate-radio-program, #callimachi-rukmini-maria-1973, #canada, #chaudhry-shehroze, #hoaxes-and-pranks, #islamic-state-in-iraq-and-syria-isis, #new-york-times, #news-and-news-media, #podcasts, #syria, #terrorism


Equity Monday: Palantir might have a very eventful hump day

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest big news, chats about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. I subbed in for Alex this week, so send your love over to the show on Twitter here and fan mail to me right here. Also, don’t forget to check out last Friday’s episode.

This week, we couldn’t help but weigh into the latest TikTok drama, but we got into why it’s worth following these budgets and moves (and a whole host of other fascinating news):

All that, and we didn’t even get to make fun of LinkedIn stories.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#alexis-ohanian, #api, #donald-j-trump, #equity, #equity-monday, #podcasts, #tc, #tiktok, #trump


Busy Philipps’s Week: Coffee, ‘Little Women’ and Keeping It Together

The actor is also dedicated to her podcast, “Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best,” and her dog, Gina Linetti.

#busy-philipps-is-doing-her-best-radio-program, #busy-tonight-tv-program, #los-angeles-calif, #philipps-busy, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #social-media


Spotify and Chernin Entertainment enter first-look deal to turn podcasts into TV shows and movies

More Spotify podcasts could soon become TV shows or movies thanks to a new, multi-year partnership announced today between the streaming music provider and film and television production company, Chernin Entertainment. The agreement will allow Chernin to identify and adapt film and TV shows from Spotify’s library of over 250 original podcast series, totaling thousands of hours of content.

The two companies, by way of Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, were already working together in collaboration with Pineapple Street Media on the forthcoming adaptation of the podcast series, The Clearing, about serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards. Those efforts will continue, while the deal opens up Spotify’s larger podcast library of shows from around the world to Chernin.

Image Credits: Spotify screenshot via TechCrunch

The production company is known today for movies like Ford v Ferrari, The Planet of the Apes Trilogy, The Greatest Showman, and Hidden Figures as well as TV shows like New Girl and Apple TV+’s See and Truth Be Told. This spring, it signed a first-look deal for feature films with Netflix, after losing a previous first-look deal with 20th Century Fox that ended when Disney acquired Fox’s feature film operations.

Those and other industry changes have put Chernin on the path to seek out new sources for IP that can be translated into movies, TV, and other sorts of digital video.

Meanwhile, the growth in podcasting has made audio programming a viable new source for original content that can be translated into other media, like film and TV. This podcasting market is also one Spotify has heavily invested in, with its acquisitions of podcast companies, like Gimlet and The Ringer, as well as podcasting tools that allow more people to become creators, like Anchor.

“Audio is by far the fastest-growing medium in the entertainment business, and with over 250 originals and thousands of hours of content, Spotify has one of the largest libraries of unattached IP that exists in the world today and that library is being added to daily,” said Chernin Entertainment Chairman and CEO Peter Chernin, in a statement. “This treasure trove of content plus the acceleration of new voices and stories provides an enormous opportunity to transform these addictive stories and IP into content for the screen,” he said.

Spotify tells TechCrunch the deal doesn’t include any commitment to adapt a certain number of podcasts into video projects, but it believes the volume will be high. Specific deal terms were also not being disclosed, including any possible revenue-sharing details. However, the deal doesn’t prevent Spotify from working with other production companies on programs Chernin decides to pass on. It also doesn’t specify any marketing or promotional commitments. Those will be handled on a project-by-project basis, Spotify says.

Spotify’s library of 250 original shows, as well as those it continues to release in the weeks and months ahead, will remain at the center of this agreement, but there may be scenarios where the companies also collaborate on adaptations beyond that group, Spotify tells us.

The aim is to discover what sorts of programs translate well into movies and TV. On this front, Spotify says it believes its diversity of content, ability to analyze data, and creator access will be to its advantage.

The Spotify original podcast library today includes popular shows across a variety of genres, which is a key asset in this deal. In addition, Spotify will be able to tap into data on how well shows are performing thanks to its prior development of specialized tools for analytics.

For example, Spotify currently allows podcasters to track their own show’s performance and other anonymized audience data through the Spotify for Podcasters service. Now, the company will be able to use this same data set to help identify possible adaptations that would do well. And because Spotify also owns several of the podcast production companies, it can also help work to identify creators with vision who may be better-suited to help with larger adaptations of this nature.

This is not the first time Spotify’s podcast content has been turned into movies or TV. The company today has nearly a dozen projects in various stages of completion, including the adaptation of Homecoming for Amazon Prime Video, plus upcoming projects like The Two Princes for HBO Max and The Horror of Dolores Roach for Prime Video.

Spotify and Chernin aren’t announcing any of the first projects that will result from this deal today but, given standard development and production timelines, 2021 would be the very earliest that such content would make its debut.

“At Spotify, we believe that the extraordinary growth of audio will continue to attract the world’s great creators and make podcasts a premier destination for original IP,” said Spotify Chief Content and Advertising Business Officer Dawn Ostroff, in an announcement. “As we continue to expand our content ambitions, we are thrilled to collaborate with Peter Chernin, who, along with his exceptional team, are the perfect partners to help us share these stories with audiences across mediums and around the world. Together, we can usher in a new era for podcasts as source material,” she said.

#chernin-entertainment, #media, #podcasts, #spotify, #streaming-service


I Watched ‘Fleabag.’ I Watched ‘Insecure.’ What’s Next?

Our television critic suggests the dramedy “Atlanta,” which has a sense of intimacy and reality.

#atlanta-tv-program, #bojack-horseman-tv-program, #chewing-gum-tv-program, #dead-eyes-radio-program, #fx-tv-network, #hulu-com, #i-may-destroy-you-tv-program, #netflix-inc, #other-peoples-problems-radio-program, #podcasts, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #television, #the-dream-radio-program, #the-magicians-tv-program


The Hosts of ‘Back Issue’ Want to Throw It Back

Tracy Clayton and Josh Gwynn use their encyclopedic memory of pop culture moments as a balm in trying times.

#back-issue-radio-program, #black-people, #clayton-tracy, #gwynn-josh, #podcasts


Original Content podcast: ‘Wireless’ shows off Quibi’s Turnstyle technology

“Wireless” is probably the best showcase so far for Quibi’s Turnstyle technology.

That’s the technology that allows the streaming video app to switch seamlessly between landscape and portrait mode depending on the orientation of your phone. With other Quibi shows, you’re essentially getting two views of the same footage — but with “Wireless” (which is executive produced by Steven Soderbergh), you’re switching between traditional cinematic footage (in landscape) and a view of the protagonist’s phone (in portrait).

In this bonus episode of the Original Content podcast, director Zach Wechter told me that he and his co-writer Jack Seidman wrote the initial script — about a college student played by Tye Sheridan who gets trapped in the snow after a car crash, with only his iPhone to save him — before they decided on the phone-centric format. But when they heard about Turnstyle, “It just felt like a match made in heaven that would allow us to facilitate this idea.”

I wondered whether that required going back and adding a bunch of phone interactions to the story, but said Wechter said, “It was quite the opposite. One thing we found in testing was when the phone plot moved really fast, it would be hard, because there are these two perspectives happening at once.”

So that actually meant “reducing some fo the intriacy of the plot happening on the phone” to ensure that viewers didn’t get lost.

And if you’re wondering which mode to focus on as you watch, Wechter has some simple advice: “Go with your gut.” He said he had a “roadmap” for when he was hoping to nudge viewers to turn their phones — like when there’s a notification sound or Sheridan focuses on his phone — “but I think the most important part of the experience is that we’re not indicating when our viewers turn, that it becomes this sort of passive-but-active viewing experience.”

Wechter described making the show — essentially a feature length film divided into episodes of 10 minutes or less — as shooting “two films that had to dance together” in just 19 days. And he made things even more challenging by insisting that all the phone/FaceTime calls and even the text messages be filmed live, rather than just recording both ends separately.

“When I think about directing and my job, really the most fundamental part of it to me is making the actorss comfortable, and I think that having a scene partner is paramount,” he said. “It was a long conversation about why we couldn’t just have them act off of a recording and shoot it separately — because it took a lot of logistical effort and resources to do it — but it really makes the scenes feel very alive and realistic.”

You can listen to the full interview in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

#entertainment, #media, #mobile, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts, #quibi, #wireless


Special Episode: ‘An Obituary for the Land’

“I will mark my heart with an ‘X’ made of ash that says, the power to restore life resides here.”

#california, #podcasts, #poetry-and-poets, #western-states-us, #wildfires, #williams-terry-tempest


Schools are closing their doors, but Opendoor isn’t

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week Natasha Mascarenhas, Danny Crichton and myself hosted a live taping at Disrupt for a digital reception. It was good fun, though of course we’re looking forward to bringing the live show back to the conference next year, vaccine allowing.

Thankfully we had Chris Gates behind the scenes tweaking the dials, Alexandra Ames fitting us into the program and some folks to watch live.

What did we talk about? All of this (and some very, very bad jokes):

And then we tried to play a game that may or may not make it into the final cut. Either way, it was great to have Equity back at Disrupt. More to come. Hugs from us!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#chainsmokers, #desktop-metal, #equity-podcast, #fundings-exits, #greylock, #opendoor, #podcasts, #startups


Amazon Music adds podcasts, including its own original shows

Amazon Music is the latest streaming service to embrace podcasts. The company announced this morning it’s launching support for podcasts in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan on Amazon Music at no additional cost, and is rolling out its own original programming. The first slate of originals on Amazon Music will include shows hosted by creators like DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, Dan Patrick and others.

At launch, Amazon says customers will find “millions” of episodes from top shows and many of their favorites already available, including popular programs like “Crime Junkie,” “What A Day,” “Radiolab,” “Revisionist History,” “Planet Money,” “Ear Hustle,” “Why Won’t You Date Me? with Nicole Byer,” and “Stuff You Should Know.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Amazon Music will also serve as the exclusive home for the music-meets-true-crime podcast, “Disgraceland,” which will explore various criminal connections in the music industry. The show will debut on Amazon Music in February 2021. Disgraceland’s host, Jake Brennan, says the Amazon Music partnership will allow the show to produce more episodes and release on a weekly basis, providing more consistency for fans.

Among the Amazon Music originals, DJ Khaled will be hosting “The First One,” where he will interview his favorite artists about the hits that made them iconic. Becky G, meanwhile, will host “En la Sala,” which will see the star interacting with big names in music and entertainment to discuss social issues, relationships, politics, sports and more.

Broadcaster Dan Patrick is teaming up with Amazon-owned IMDb for “The Scene with Dan Patrick,” which will disassemble famous scenes from movies and TV shows.

An untitled project from Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Audio will be released on both Amazon Music and Amazon-owned Audible.

Amazon Music didn’t specify how large its total podcast catalog was at launch, but its website continues to solicit creator submissions. In total, Amazon Music’s service reaches over 55 million customers. That means distributing to Amazon Music will be necessary for any top podcast creator.

The new podcasts will be available on Amazon Music’s apps across mobile and web, and will be organized for browsing by category, as curated recommendations, in top charts and more. Show pages will feature trailers, if available, and podcasts can be streamed across Alexa devices, including Echo Auto.

Podcasting has grown in recent years to become a sizable industry. In the U.S., for example, forecasts predict the audience for podcasts will top 100 million in 2020, and podcast ad revenue will climb 14.7%, despite the pandemic, bringing total ad revenue near the $1 billion mark. Major streaming services have been chasing their own original content to draw in users to their platform. Even Apple has been dipping its toe in podcast originals in recent months.

The news follows Amazon’s recent addition of Twitch live streams to Amazon Music — a move that allowed Amazon to differentiate its offering from other top music services, like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, for example.

Image Credits: Amazon

“Our customers’ listening habits are constantly evolving, and we know they’re looking to us to provide them with a rich experience rooted in music and entertainment,” said Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music, in a statement about the launch of podcasts. “With this launch, we’re bringing customers even more forms of entertainment to enjoy, while enabling creators to reach new audiences globally, just as we’ve done with music streaming. Podcasts, paired with our recent partnership with Twitch to bring live streaming into the app, makes Amazon Music a premiere destination for creators,” he added.


#amazon, #amazon-music, #media, #podcasts


Original Content podcast: Disney’s ‘Mulan’ remake is fun, if you can forget the controversy

Disney’s live-action remake of “Mulan” comes with some serious baggage.

First, the film has drawn political controversy for its star’s statements in support of the action Hong Kong police  against protestors, as well as the fact that “Mulan” was filmed, in part, in the Xinjiang region, where the Chinese government has held Muslim ethnic minorities in detention camps.

And although it’s less weighty, it’s also hard to escape the business context: “Mulan” is one of the first big Hollywood blockbusters (along with “Tenet”) to be released after the pandemic shuttered movie theaters around the world. Warner Bros. opted to release “Tenet” in theaters, while Disney is bringing “Mulan” to Disney+ with a hefty price tag of $29.99. (There’s still a theatrical release in some markets, including China.)

On the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we acknowledge all of that context while also doing our best to discuss the merits of the film itself. It’s arguably the best of Disney’s live-action remakes, and it’s certainly gorgeous to watch, with some thrilling action scenes and beautiful landscape shots.

At the same time, Jordan argued that it doesn’t live up to the animated original, and we both agreed that the script can feel sleight and forgettable — particularly in the shadow of those real-world controversies. Plus, it’s hard to justify the current price, unless you’ve got kids who are eager to see it. Otherwise, you can probably wait until December 4, when “Mulan” becomes available to regular Disney+ subscribers.

Before we jump into our review, we also talk about this coming week’s virtual Disrupt conference.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:31 Disrupt preview
6:33 “Mulan” review
35:10 “Mulan” spoiler discussion

#disney, #entertainment, #media, #mulan, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts, #the-walt-disney-co


Warren Buffett invests in an unprofitable business

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

The whole crew was back, with Natasha Mascarenhas and Danny Crichton and myself chattering, and Chris Gates behind the scenes tweaking the dials as always. This week was a real team effort as we are heading into the maw of Disrupt — more here, see you there — but there was a lot of news all the same.

So, here’s what we got to:

We wrapped with whatever this is, which was at least good for a laugh. We are back next week at Disrupt, so see you all there!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#equity-podcast, #fundings-exits, #podcasts, #snowflake, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #warren-buffett


‘Sway’: Kara Swisher Hosts a New Podcast

A new podcast about power: who has it, who’s been denied it and who dares to defy it.

#computers-and-the-internet, #podcasts, #politics-and-government, #science-and-technology, #silicon-valley-calif, #swisher-kara


Original Content podcast: ‘Teenage Bounty Hunters’ is more interested in relationships than bounty hunting

“Teenage Bounty Hunters” has one of the most memorable — if not entirely appealing — titles of any new show on Netflix .

As we explain on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, the series tells the story of Sterling (played Maddie Phillips) and Blair Wesley (Anjelica Bette Fellini), fraternal twins who end up working for bounty hunter/yogurt shop owner Bowser (Kadeem Hardison) in order to make some extra cash.

While the bounty hunting provides the initial hook for the show, the writers mostly use it as a comic counterpoint as they explore the culture of an affluent, evangelical corner of Atlanta, and then as Sterling and Blair’s relationships become increasingly complicated. The plotting in “Teenage Bounty Hunters” can occasionally feel a bit aimless, but in the end, we  ended up feeling impressed and — despite the show’s silly name —surprisingly invested in the characters.

In addition to “Teenage Bounty Hunters,” we also discuss the news that Netflix is making a series based on Cixin Liu’s “Three-Body Problem” novels.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:39 “Three Body Problem” discussion
12:18 “Teenage Bounty Hunters” spoiler-free review
33:55 “Teenage Bounty Hunters” spoiler discussion

#entertainment, #media, #podcasts


The startup world needs a ‘Black Minds Matter’ awakening

I was recently part of an open forum about being Black in America, as well as in the startup space.

A white founder asked, “What can I do as the founder of a very early-stage startup?” The group gave various suggestions that included the obvious (or at least I would hope it’s obvious), “When you are growing your team, consider hiring Black team members,” or “When you are considering an investment from an investor, press them about the diversity of their current portfolio founders.”

But one suggestion really stood out, which was to make a concerted effort to find someone different from your current team’s makeup when bringing in subject matter experts. This intentional act shows your homogeneous team members that Black people, other racial minorities or genders can be experts too. It can also be applied when growing your team by making sure you interview diverse candidates whose level of expertise is often second-guessed.

This got me thinking about VC Monique Woodard’s statement that “Black founders are often overmentored and underinvested.” In June, at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests and open dialogue about anti-Blackness, we saw a slew of investors rushing to offer mentorship to Black founders. Some of the investors don’t have Black founders among their portfolio companies so to some onlookers, this rush to help Black founders was seen as insincere and a marketing ploy.

As a former founder, I can confidently say that most Black founders simply want a fair shot at presenting their startups to investors. The prevailing system of needing a warm introduction to access investors puts founders, especially Black founders, who don’t have the same networks as investors at a disadvantage. The proper mea culpa by these investors should be to make pitching more accessible for all founders. Although offers of mentorship are certainly welcome, the constant barriers Black founders tell me they struggle with are access to capital and networks, not a lack of talent or business savvy.

The quick emphasis on mentorship made me ask myself: How are the contributions of Black people (founders, investors, operators, etc.) to the startup space seen? Are we showcased as experts or as perpetual students in need of mentoring and advising? To directionally answer this question, I turned to podcasts. According to a New York Times article, “more than half the people in the United States have listened to one (podcast), and nearly one out of three people listen to at least one podcast every month.” This figure shows that podcasts are a wide-reaching medium that audiences use as a source of both entertainment and information.

I dug into the 2018 and 2019 guest lists of three of my favorite startup-related podcasts: “This Week In Startups,” “How I Built This With Guy Raz” and “The Twenty Minute VC.” These are all top-ranked podcasts with tens of millions in downloads and over half a million subscribers.

Podcast Description Typical Guest Profile
This Week In Startups Entrepreneur and angel investor Jason Calacanis brings you his take on the best, worst and most interesting stories from the world of startups. Glimpse into the boardroom during deep-dive interviews with the most innovative founders and investors. Get the experts’ hottest takes on trending topics during our news roundtables.
  • Successful Founder
  • Prominent Investor
  • Promising Founder
  • Startup Expert
How I Built This with Guy Raz Guy Raz dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best-known companies. How I Built This weaves a narrative about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists — and the movements they built.
  • Successful Founder
The Twenty Minute VC The Twenty Minute VC takes you inside the world of venture capital, startup funding and the pitch. Discover how you can attain funding for your business by listening to what the most prominent investors are directly looking for in startups, providing easily actionable tips and tricks that can be put in place to increase your chances of getting funded.
  • Prominent Investor
  • Successful Founder

I analyzed more than 500 episodes that were aired in 2018 and 2019 across all three podcasts to get a racial and gender breakdown of guests that were featured on those episodes.

Image Credits: Kofi Ampadu (opens in a new window)

Image Credits: Kofi Ampadu (opens in a new window)

Image Credits: Kofi Ampadu (opens in a new window)

Image Credits: Kofi Ampadu

Not surprisingly, a majority of the guests featured were white men (60%). Black men and women were featured on 4% of all the episodes. A total of 15 Black (nine men and six women) unique guests were showcased as guests out of more than 400 unique guests during the two-year span. Also interesting to note that of those 15 Black guests, three were celebrities (a comedian, a TV personality and a rapper), two of whom were featured twice.

There are certainly more than 15 Black noncelebrities available who would fit the ideal guest lists of these podcasts. It is also interesting to note the percentage of Black guests decreased by 2% from 2018 to 2019 and incidentally increased by 2% for white guests during that span. The percentage of Black female guests within the female gender pool drastically decreased by 10% while white female guests increased by 21% in the two-year time period.


The results are a microcosm of what has been happening in the startup ecosystem: Black minds are undervalued and underappreciated. Oftentimes in the startup space, a founder is deemed a successful founder not based on how much money they collect from satisfied customers but by how much money they have raised from investors. Based on these misleading standards, Black founders will rarely be classified as successful because 1% of VC-backed founders are Black.

When it comes to the investor ranks, 81% of venture funds have no Black investors, so very often Black investors have to raise their own funds since the path to joining one is limited. Given these and other obstacles, I would argue Black people are the inspirational and relatable experts whose stories and advice need to be heard by wider audiences.

It is also worth noting that Black people are versed in varying topics and should not be exclusively invited on platforms to speak on Black issues. Black people are not a monolith and each person has their own passion and areas of expertise and outside of lived experiences not all Black people may be well-equipped to dissect Black issues.

In the spirit of not only pointing out systemic racism in the startup space, here is a list of emerging Black founders, investors and startup ecosystem builders, curated by Denisha Kuhlor and me. The talented people listed would make great guests for podcasts, conferences and any platforms that aim to amplify a diverse set of insights and experiences.

Methodology: Analyzed 484 guests across all three podcasts, the hosts of these podcasts were not included in the analysis as guests. As a result, podcast episodes that only included the host were excluded. Reaired podcast episodes were included in the analysis. If an episode had multiple guests, each guest was accounted for separately in the analysis.

The gender of guests was based on pronouns used to refer to guests on the podcast or publicly available information. The race of guests was objectively determined based on how the guest identifies or subjectively determined based on photographs, videos and publicly available information. The “Other Minorities” grouping includes Latinx, Southeast Asian and East Asian guests.

Disclaimer: This write-up is by no means written to cast aspersions on the three podcasts analyzed. They were simply chosen because I am an avid listener and they are all relatively popular in the startup space.

#column, #diversity, #entrepreneurship, #implicit-bias, #jason-calacanis, #monique-woodard, #opinion, #podcast, #podcasts, #private-equity, #racism, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital


Original Content podcast: Netflix’s ‘High Score’ is a selective tour through video game history

“High Score” is a new Netflix documentary series that looks back at the early years of the video game industry.

Across six episodes, key developers, artists, executives and even players discuss the initial arcade and home console boom, the emergence of Nintendo, the rise of adventure and role-playing games, the battle between Sega and Nintendo, the success and ensuing controversy over fighting games like Mortal Kombat and the development of 3D gameplay in Starfox and Doom.

We review “High Score” on the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, which inevitably leads us to get a little wistful our own relationship with these classic games.

For older gamers, the series provides some pleasant jolts of nostalgia, and it’s also a useful primer for anyone who isn’t familiar with the industry’s history. It also taking time to highlight some lesser-known stories, and it’s full of fun touches, like retro animation illustrated moments that weren’t captured on film.

It’s worth remembering, though, that “High Score” focuses on just a few key figures and a few key games, which means that a number of important developments are ignored or only touched on briefly.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:33 “High Score” review