Popular podcast host and comedian Joe Rogan made headlines in May with the announcement that he was moving his hit show, The Joe Rogan Experience, exclusively to Spotify. But Rogan isn’t the only thing coming to Spotify: Here come the ads, too.
“We are planning on being the No. 1 audio platform across multiple platforms … and Joe undeniably is the top podcaster out there,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content officer, explained during an interview Tuesday, June 23, with journalist Dylan Byers at the Collision From Home event. “It’s hard to find somebody who’s so dedicated to this space … he’s built an audience over many years, and his audience is loyal. He’s the biggest version of the audio podcaster right now. So given our ambition, it made all the sense in the world.”
The Joe Rogan deal, announced May 19, is a huge one for sure, which will shake podcasting to its core. Some have argued that it may even kill the decentralized concept of podcasting altogether.
But as Spotify scales up its plans for audio podcasts and its exclusive library, the company has plans not to trash, but transform podcasts, especially the medium’s outdated monetization strategies. Most advertising on podcasts today involves hosts — even big names such as Bill Simmons — interrupting conversations, musings, and anecdotes to read statements about how great “Brand X” is. It all feels archaic, Byers noted, especially in comparison to the conversation the ad community is having around addressable television, a technology that lets a brand know precise details about who is watching a given show.
“It’s incredibly fragmented. There’s been no unified business here, everyone is out selling their podcasts individually … We don’t even have a unified metric system,” Ostroff lamented.
To that end, Spotify announced in January at CES that it planned to deliver one. For starters, the company announced Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), a new technology to bring ads to podcasts on the platform. It offers tech similar to that planned for addressable television, to bring key data including anonymized gender, age, and device type info to advertisers and podcasters.
But it’s just phase one, Ostroff explained.
“The next part is in-app offers,“ she said, which allows a listener to reference an ad from the show and go back to it. “We’ll have the ad tagged in the actual description of the podcast, giving listeners a visual cue” to remind them of the brand.
“It’s a $700 billion pie globally right now, so there’s a lot of money being spent by brands across many different mediums,” Ostroff explained. The golden goose of TV advertising is addressable TV, which the industry has hemmed and hawed over for years. But it seems Spotify is leapfrogging TV, bringing all of that functionality straight to podcasts.
“It’s going to be a game-changer,” she said.