Podcast News Roundup | Spotify To Overtake Apple Podcasts & More!

Podcast of the Week

The Best Bits Podcast is a weekly movie (or fillum) podcast hosted by Irish screenwriters Will Collins & Kevin Lehane wherein they pick their favourite film scenes from randomly selected, weirdly specific theme

Will and Kevin not only love movies but they also write fantastic movies. Will is the writer of critically praised Cartoon Saloon animations Wolfwalkers and Song of the Sea and Kevin penned the fantastic Grabbers, one of my favourite Irish movies from the last decade. 

Each week they delve, sometimes with the help of a special guest, into specific scenes from movies revolving around specific topics. Best chase scene, best sex scene, best character introduction, best musical number, best inappropriate scene in a kids movie – you get the idea. 

The production is great with loads of nostalgia-inducing soundbites peppered throughout and, thanks to technical advancements, they can call upon PodBot to get them out of a tricky situation or two. 

Season 2 just kicked off at the start of September (the latest episode is all about the best scenes from World War 2 movies with, writer of Pilgrimage, Jamie Hannigan) so you’ve got over twenty episodes to dive into. And that doesn’t even take into account their mammoth summer bonus ventures into the world of watch-along commentaries for the likes of Jaws, The Princess Bride, Fargo and many more. 

My personal favorite is the Best SFX Scene episode with Dan Martin, a multi award winning special effects expert. Dan’s story about making all the poop for the set of Human Centipede 2 alone is worth your tuning in to this podcast. 

An absolute must for all film lovers, but especially if you too spent your 50p at the concession stand on Robin Hood ice lollies and bottles of Cadet during a film’s intermission.

Spotify poised to overtake Apple Podcasts in US

Last week we looked at how there are some conflicting views over the Spotify Exclusive model in the podcasting world but it looks like the audio giants are about to surpass the OG podcasting platform for the first time later this year.

Spotify is still expanding its podcast listenership in the US, while Apple Podcasts’ has essentially stagnated. In fact, Spotify will narrowly surpass Apple in that metric by the end of this year. The Swedish streaming company will have 28.2 million monthly podcast listeners over Apple’s 28.0 million, a razor-thin lead that will only widen in the years to come.

Looking ahead, in 2024, podcasts will reportedly reach about 40% of the population and 45% of internet users in the US at least once a month. By the end of the following year, there will be 142.7 million monthly podcast listeners. Among them, 43.6 million will listen via Spotify and 29.1 million will listen via Apple Podcasts.

But it hasn’t been all good news for Spotify this week…

Spotify criticized for promoting podcast by far-right comedian

Spotify has come under fire on social media for hosting and promoting a podcast by a far-right comedian and donor to neo-Nazi causes. The popular online music platform highlighted a podcast by Sam Hyde, in what appeared to be personalized recommendations for a user.

Hyde has a well-documented history of giving voice and support to conspiracy theorists and white supremacists.

Hyde’s podcast called “HydeWars,” which was created in 2019 and no longer appears to be active, was recommended by Spotify to Andy Stepanian, who runs a newswire called the Sparrow Project.

“What is most troubling is that Spotify not only hosts Hyde, but appears to be promoting Hyde’s podcast through their recommendations algorithm — thus greatly expanding his market reach,” Stepanian said in an email.

Entries for the 2022 Ambies are open

The Academy Awards of the podcasting world, The Ambies, are open for entries right now.

The Awards For Excellence in Audio, aka The Ambies, celebrate excellence in podcasting and elevate awareness and status of podcasts as a unique and personal medium for entertainment, information, storytelling and expression.

Adding to their extensive list of awards up for grabs this year there are two new categories: Best Podcast for Kids, and a new category for Best Indie Podcast. 

Big winners in last year’s awards were The Left-Right Game (Best Performer in Audio Fiction (Tessa Thompson) and Best Production and Sound Design winner), Wind of Change (Best Scriptwriting (Nonfiction), Best Reporting, and Best Podcast Host winner) and Dying for Sex, which picked up Podcast of the Year. 

Entries for the 2022 Ambies are accepted until December 3.

Advertisers Underinvest in Audio

While 31% of the average consumer’s media consumption is now audio, only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio, with 25% of advertisers not investing in audio at all.

According to the study, from WARC and iHeartMedia, consumers across all generations are spending more and more time with audio content across radio, streaming and podcasts driven by audio’s ease and accessibility with the growth of wireless headphones and smart speakers adding to in-car, at home and at work listening.

Whilst WARC Data forecasts audio advertising spend in the US to reach $13.9bn this year, a double-digit recovery (+10.9%) from the pandemic’s 2020 cuts, the report highlights a large audio investment gap and the vast opportunity that exists in this mass reach and high engagement audio advertising market.

Podcasts are the fastest growing new audio platform and consistently deliver higher advertising conversion rates than all other digital channels, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and even Google. Forecasts from IAB/PwC show podcast ad spend is expected to grow rapidly in the US this year, up 60% to top $1bn for the first time.

If they want to throw a sliver of that cool billion to the HeadStuff Podcast Network we won’t complain.