Podland News

Captivate CEO Mark Asquith talks about the global acquisition and their future. Castos CEO Craig Hewitt talks about supporting Value4Value and why it's a better model than advertising for podcasters

February 03, 2022 James Cridland & Sam Sethi Season 1 Episode 60
Podland News
Captivate CEO Mark Asquith talks about the global acquisition and their future. Castos CEO Craig Hewitt talks about supporting Value4Value and why it's a better model than advertising for podcasters
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

GUESTS: 

  • Mark Asquith co-founder and MD of Captivate.FM talks about their acquisition by Global and what's next for Captivate and how the line between radio and podcasting has blurred?

  • Craig Hewitt founder and CEO of Castos talks about the latest version of their platform and their upcoming support for Value4Value and why advertising is not the future for podcast monetisation.  

NEWS: 

TECH: 

James:

Welcome to Podland the last word in podcasting news. It's the 3rd of February, 2022. I am James credit, the editor of pod news.net.

Sam:

And I'm Sam Steffy, the MD of River Radio here in the UK.

Mark:

Hi, this is mark Asquith, co founder of captivate.fm. And I'm going to talk to you about the latest release from the world only growth oriented podcast, host.

Hello, my name is Craig Hewitt. I'm the CEO of I'll be on later to discuss podcasting

James:

They will pod land sponsored by Buzzsprout podcast. Hosting made easy with free learning materials, remarkable customer support. Last week, 4,433 people started hosting with Buzzsprout and you can too@buzzsprout.com.

Sam:

So let's talk bit. What sprout stats, James, what have they

James:

achieved? Yes, they've achieved a hundred million monthly downloads for the first time, which is very good then chief that in January, which is a great number, so many congratulations to them. This is part of their global stats and the other, piece of data in their global stats is that I find really interesting is that apple podcasts continues to increase, on their data. And now the way that Buzzsprout works it out in terms of the public global stats, is that they only count things that are absolutely apple podcasts. So if it says apple core media, that's not apple podcasts, at least it's not guaranteed to be so therefore, this is really good. apple podcasts increasing to 37.2% in January Spotify decreasing to 28%. So really interesting seeing that wonder why that is,

Sam:

is it because more people have iPhones, a new things.

James:

not so sure. Maybe apple is busy testing apple podcasts for Android. Anyway, Shall we get on with this week's podcasting news.

Sam:

Yes, let's do now. the first story up is, Amazon, surprisingly, most people thought it was something else. And which did Amazon pay for my favorite murder, which they bought last week. James,

James:

Well, if Bloomberg is to be believed and who would not believe Bloomberg, then the figure is a hundred million dollars. And for that

Sam:

obviously otherwise known as a

James:

Joe Rogan, otherwise known as Joe Rogan. Except of course we don't even know that either. for sure. But, for that Amazon got other exactly right. Media shows as well. And they also say that, the deal that Sirius XM did with audio, Chuck was worth quotes, nine figures, which, could be a hundred million, could be even more. so they've clearly got their hands in their pockets, both Amazon and serious.

Sam:

So now explain to me James, cause you'll know the answer. How are they going to reap back a hundred million? What is Amazon getting for a hundred million that will generate the revenue to match?

James:

So what I think they've actually done is I think they've done the same as I've heard reported about Joe Rogan, which is that it's not a hundred million. It's about 30 million per year for three years, which of course is a bit different. and, what Joe Rogan does, when they sell advertising on the Joe Rogan show, firstly, they have a very high cost per thousand, but secondly, you can only buy if you buy the network, if you buy the other Spotify shows as well. So from a point of view of, everybody wants to be in my favorite murder. Everybody wants to be in Joe Rogan. it's a clever sort of plan to actually get them buying other parts of the network as well. Plus of course, the benefits of in, my favorite murders, case, the benefit of, a week's worth of exclusive, which means that At least my favorite murder will be talking about Amazon music, and getting people to download the Amazon music, app, cause my goodness, it could actually benefit from that. so I think, it's part marketing and it's also part sales leverage to actually get more sales into other shows across the Amazon, network.

Sam:

Wow. If they do data dams and music, at least they get Neil young. So that's a benefit, isn't it?

James:

There is that, or of course, if you're always Sirius XM, then you can get a whole channel full of Neil young, which they cheekily announced for some reason, this week. except actually they started running that channel in December of last year and then stops it and then magically started it again. I've got another press release out of it from gullible people like me. Congratulations, Sirius XM. That's a winner. we might go into some of the reasons why Cirrus is also doing some other interesting things.

Sam:

they've launched something called audio idea, new method of targeting ads to audiences. It said to be private and optional for listeners. What is audio ID?

James:

so they are getting worried as everybody else's in terms of listener identity. And, the time was that you would give somebody a cookie and just basically watch that cookie. And when that cookie comes in, then they go, oh, that's Sam Sethi. I know him, and they feed you the answers that you might be interested in and the products that you might wish to buy, cookies of course, going away, as are other things as well. And so what S X, M media, which is the same. Team of Sirius XM has announced, is the introduction of this thing called audio ID, which you, as a listener can opt into, I'm not entirely convinced. It's going to be very obvious that you're opting into it. but that way, audio ID is essentially your ID for all of their apps. So for Pandora, for the Sirius XM app, Stitcher, and anything from AdsWizz as well, potentially in the future, and they call it the future of listener identity, basically another way of working out what advertising, they should go out and sell you.

Sam:

Two questions. Can other people use audio ID or is it Sirius XM only.

James:

my understanding is they're starting with it's being a serious XM solution and they may open it up to other people in the future. but, at the moment, my understanding is that it's very much, just for Sirius XM, stuff, but, as we, as it is obviously available globally and, assuming that they can legally do that because it turns into a third party platform that way, then there's no reason why they couldn't roll that out to other platforms. Like about our media in the UK, who I think use answers, and various.

Sam:

Now last week we talked about something called leads. Is this anything related to it or is that a totally spurious, tangental relationship?

James:

It's a totally spirits and tangential. So the idea of a you lead, is basically just a random collection of characters, which a podcast app will send you the podcast host, for every. Episode that you don't load. So it's just to stop, or to make life easier for podcast hosts to count unique users. That's all that is. Whereas this is specifically around tracking around working out how many times you've heard an ad before, around working out whether or not you're in the market for a new car, or, some, fashion clothing or whatever. and then working out what to do from that point of view. So I think they keep on talking about privacy centric and all that kind of stuff, but this is very much about targeting ads to you better.

Sam:

Moving on. And we have to address the elephant in the room. We tried not to start with Joe Rogan. Yes. So I'm sure that everyone in the podcasting world has heard everything they need to know about Joe Rogan, but, clearly the story won't go away. so for those who don't know, obviously Joe Rogan had a couple of doctors on who were anti-vaxxers that caused a number of people, including Neil young, to be a little bit cheesed off. And he removed his music that was soon followed by others joining in. and you thought that after Joe Rogan put his mere Culper out. Where he said, if there's anything that I've done, that I could do better, it's having more experts with differing opinions right after I have the controversial ones. I do all the shifting myself somehow. I don't believe that. And I don't always get it right. Somehow Joe, I just don't believe you do that might, but anyway, but on the back of that, Sharon Stone, she of the famous cross uncross legs, basically has said, to address Joe Rogan, they're going to put disclaimers on his podcast sheets, put he should put a disclaimer that he's an a-hole and that his behavior is dangerous. So she's not impressed. and, Rosanna Arquette has said, she's going to take her podcast of Spotify. so Neil young, starting a little trend, Mary Trump. The niece of set ex president has tweeted on removing my podcast from Spotify as well. and a few other people, Graham Nash and in the area. So it doesn't seem to be going away. Now, what's your thoughts now? I've had mine.

James:

I'm going to play devil's advocate because I think it's more fun if I play devil's advocate. quite a lot of this is driven by grumpy old musicians. Neil young is hardly the youngest, most hip musician that you've ever seen. he's had a history of moaning about, online music platforms. He founded, a high res music platform called Pono music, which title put out of business. and then he removed his music from title this time last year, because it was moaning about the fact that they were calling his high res, and QA audio on that platform as masters. so basically he's a grumpy old man. He's seeing this as a convenient excuse to giving Spotify a kick. and I think it says everything that a day after putting his music from Spotify, Um, Neil young, put something on his own, website saying how, dreadful Spotify is audio quality sounds, and promoting four months free on Amazon music, which has a high res service. he's not actually saying that's, a commercial deal with Amazon. which is against FCC guidelines, because it clearly is because he's been quoted by Amazon music in the past in press releases saying how good their high res format is. I think Neil young is being, a little bit dodgy, in terms of that. And I think frankly, you've got a lot of musicians who either don't understand how Spotify works or are just a little bit grumpy that, life isn't like the old days, 30 years ago, when you used to go in and buy a piece of vinyl or a cassette and earn an awful lot more money out of it. and they're basically, you know, using that to. and a bit more, just to basically jump up and down and go, oh, so Spotify rubbish, old Spotify, Nils Lofgren for heaven sake, Joni Mitchell. Great. These are all old people. These are old Canadians. These are all people meals, loft, grin isn't, but these are all people who, you know, who aren't necessarily, th the, the most popular, music, artists of today, do we really need to care what they think to be honest?

Sam:

Probably not them. And I guess if it was somebody like a Dell or the weekend, or H Sharon, I think Spotify is board might sit up and take note as much. they did publish their full content policy and it turns out a bit like Boris Johnson and the Sue gray report. clearly Joe Rogan didn't break any of their content policy. It's not in

James:

breach. a, it's not Joe Rogan saying these things and B Joe Rogan, he, hasn't actually been saying the things that Spotify, are concerned about. Spotify is, content guidelines. Don't talk about a balance or things like that. but, to a point at least. Bear in mind, I'm playing devil's advocate here, to a point, at least I think that there is, a bit of shouting about this and just any old excuse to shout a bit more about Spotify, prince Harry laziest, X role in the world. said that he, he had expressed his concerns about king of Australia. He said he had expressed his concerns about vaccine misinformation, to Spotify management in April last year. Maybe that explains why he's been too lazy to record another podcast. you do look at this and you think, and you think that there's something a little bit strange going on, how it stern has supported, people coming off Spotify and saying that he's not against censorship, but he does think that particular podcast has gone a little bit too far, but there are going to Howard stern has an awful lot of, shares in a competing product from Sirius XM. again, you've got all of that and James blunt, who I think is hilarious, British musician, James blunt, who threatened, he would release new songs. If Rogan doesn't go, very amusing, but he's realized again that actually, maybe he's blown a lid on this and shown that, it's basically. Has been musicians who are all of a sudden thinking, maybe this is a way for people to recognize how brilliant I was and to start listening to my music again.

Sam:

you might say that it's a bunch of old musicians and, a musician that no one wants to listen to who are making a groan and a moan, but Spotify cancellations were high. The hashtag delete Spotify did trend on Twitter and at one point Spotify did stop people from canceling their subscriptions. So there must've been some effect of

James:

it. Oh, I'm sure that there was some effect. but, at the end of. All websites need to, deal with, traffic. And if they get rather more traffic than they're expecting, then you know, of course those particular services needs to be shuttered while they fix that. but, to me, I'm playing devil's advocate. I think that there's an awful lot of people, who are taking this opportunity to give Spotify Keck. I mean, you know, Gimlet, many of the people who work at Gimlet don't like Spotify very much. Don't really like the fact that Spotify had bought them. science versus for example, when the zoo come in and blind TRL, say they will no longer make the science versus podcast, which is a Gimlet production. and of course, therefore paid by Spotify, except they will continue making them if they are intended to counter misinformation, being spread on Spotify. and, Rogan ends up saying in the video that he released on Sunday night, he ends up saying, look, I've got people on who were saying things that aren't very popular, but actually history shows that quite a lot of them have been. Right. people were saying, in the beginning that if you get your vaccine, that won't stop you from catching COVID or from passing it on. And that's now a scientific fact and Rogan, claims, a number more of these sorts of things. Is he just ahead of the time, Uh, playing devil's advocate.

Sam:

the thing is, he's not broken the first amendment, which protects free speech from government suppression, but Spotify have no obligation. According to Gordon Finemark mark and entertainment, lawyer, as they're a private company, to actually do anything about it, they can, they're the ones who pay for, they can take them off. what gets me this falls under a lovely way of getting out of it for every party, which is it's called misinformation, not disinflation. I learnt the difference the other day. Oh, go on this Well, disinformation deliberately making a statement that is wrong. You knowingly know it and you make a statement and put it out there. Misinformation is more of a, oh really? I didn't know. and it's that misinformation, which is what, Fox use a lot. It's not us. We just thought we put the news across, but oh, did we get it wrong? misinformation.

James:

I see, not just giving voices to the voiceless. Is he not just giving voices to people who have alternative theories? cause there are alternative theories out. Playing devil's advocate. is he not doing that I saw somebody saying that Spotify cancellations were really high and they've lost 15% of their customers in the last week. and I said, where did you get that from? And he said, oh, I'm not sure of the source of that. But here are some stock market graphs. And I said, this is just as bad as what you're alleging Rogan to have been done. because you've literally made something up here. why are you claiming that? And he got very upset with me. but

Sam:

James, the rubber, when it hits the road is when the banks, because Spotify is quarterly results were out on Wednesday. the 2nd of February, Morgan Stanley has load Spotifies target price of $300 yet still 50% up from its current price of what 196. that's dropped even overnight. and whereas other reasons. Companies are saying that the target price will drop down to 158, which is massive.

James:

that's Richard Kramer at RSA research who, a friend of the show, and, he has always had a negative about Spotify Morgan Stanley of course owned 7% of Spotify. and by the way, our investment bankers to the company, so therefore, if they were saying, oh, Spotify, it's got a crush and burn, then that will be a worry. but my suspicion is that's Morgan Stanley's client note, is more concerned with, the figures which have come out, over the last 24 hours with the figures, for the last quarter, which of course don't include any of. actually, and, what that ends up saying, by the way, is that monthly active users grew 18% year on year. Ad revenue grew 40%. what Spotify is podcasting plan. It's all ad revenue. It's nothing to do with, paid for premium customers. So that seems to be working. they've managed to, last quarter, they made some money, but this quarter they've lost some money. They've lost 44 million it's dropping the ocean. What was brilliant is that they then said that they expect to lose 75 million in the next quarter. So I'm not quite sure why that is. But, they seem to be doing okay. And I think Morgan Stanley's point is that they have done quite an interesting pivot away from premium subscribers, which used to be the main way that Spotify was going to continue earning money into focusing a bit more on ad revenue and that sort of thing. And so from that point of view, playing devil's advocate, they've done exactly the right thing. They're focusing on the content that they have. and if Neil young wants to go away and they lose a few premium users while they lose a free premium, useless.

Sam:

Now a number of publications. So James, the economist, the business, we have been talking about the wild west nature of podcasting and how it's unplaced and, it's something that I've said for a long time that, it's going to come and by one host or app provider eventually where somebody like a Joe Rogan, or maybe not somebody as big as Joe says something. So outrageous now Landish, and that that ended up in court and the legal issue will prevail, which means that somebody will coffer a large amount of a fine now, what can we do? is this something that we just go, let's just wait until that happens. And we keep going, because the thing that you wrote about this week, that I had to question, I know you're only reporting it. It said Spotify has removed 20,000, episodes related to COVID that were wrong. was I misreading that?

James:

actually what Spotify said is they've removed 20,000 podcasts. and I'm pretty convinced that they don't mean that, the economist today has an article where they're saying that they've removed 20,000 podcast episodes. That seems an awful lot. what it also says is that Facebook employees, 15,000 content moderators and Spotify, I'm guessing they've got roughly 15,000 fewer than that. So I think, I would agree that content moderators. Is an interesting, problem, for people to have, because at the end of the day, if Spotify is choosing these particular shows to be on their platform, and particularly in this case, choosing to pay for that show, or if I can be as strictly accurate, because I know that I'll get a booster Graham from Adam Curry, if I don't, they're paying to license this show. but, if they're paying to license this show, then that's their choice really. but they'll always be plenty of other places to find these particular shows, even if they get, chopped off, apple podcasts or chopped off Spotify, playing devil's advocate.

Sam:

So is the future going to be curating of platforms? so last week your A-class was looking at the long tail and trying to promote the long tail and the work that they're going to do to discover new podcasts. which means to me that they're trying to get more and more podcasts on to their platform. Whereas this sounds like if true, which as we think it may not be, Spotify has some form of content moderation going on now, which means they are curating their platform.

James:

that may be the case. there's a brilliant, tweets that I'm linking to today from, pod news, which, shows somebody sitting there listening to a podcast and a Spotify announcement of, this is a, this is not medical information. You should consult a doctor first. it comes on and he just skips through it. and it's a really interesting tweet because it does show that actually, even if Spotify and they've said that they're going to be doing this, puts these mandatory, content warnings in there, people are just going to skip past them anyway. so I what use is that to anybody? look at the end of the day, If podcasts are out there that break the law in terms of, medical advice or they break the law in terms of financial investment or they, libel somebody or anything else, then we've already got great laws to stop that from being an issue and great, they will end up in court if they end up doing that. so I guess, the question playing devil's advocate is, there a content moderation role here or is it just actually that somebody is, a little bit concerned for Spotify as brand

Sam:

I'm looking at Joe Rogan or my Spotify app. I'm terribly sorry. still no warning indicators. still no method for me to report while I'm listening to the episode that there's something wrong. I have to go somewhere, which I can't do on my mobile app to our support page to go and report it. so much for Spotify really bothered about this. I don't think they are. They're hoping like Boris Johnson it'll just go away and

James:

some of the story. But again, playing devil's advocate. if you're going to add that sort of text, into the app, then that means that you've got to do a bit of tech work in terms of the app and make sure that it's in there properly and everything else. And it may not just be as easy as just switching that on. it may be that they need an app release and that might take a couple of agile sprints to do I'm playing devil's advocate. Can I stop playing devil's advocate now? Can we move on something?

Sam:

So I think, sadly, we won't have heard the last of this, but anyway, for this week we have now, It's Googled time now. that's my bad pirate impersonation. Why would I be

James:

doing that? Why is the pirate from the west country? I don't understand.

Sam:

Cause pirate, Penzance. That's why. Oh, I see.

James:

Yes. Very good. Yes. It's very good. Anyway. Yes. Why are you being pirates and talking about Google? Because Google did a clever thing this week. It managed to switch the all in podcast, which is Jason Calacanis his podcast, to a pirated version of the all in podcast that had ads stitched on the front. Thank you speaker for holding that particular pirated copy and thank you, Google for randomly switching to it. they've fessed up. Danny Sullivan has said, we appear to have mistakenly pointed to a duplicate version of the podcast. You don't say. and, this has happened before and it's actually happened to this very podcast, not a pirated copy because nobody's gonna pirate this. but, a version come on, it'll

Sam:

be a Webby one day,

James:

who do you know? Who's a Webby judge Google did actually switch this very podcast, in December away from Buzzsprout, who we host with and who sponsor to weirdly a 3 0 1 redirect on captivate. So they actually pointed the entire stream to a 3 0 1. Redirect, why would you do that? Because redirects don't work that way. Google, do you not understand how podcasting works at all? and similarly, weirdly I had a test podcast feed in Google podcasts and Google managed to switch that from a version of the RSS feed with a snatch on the end to aversion of the RSS feed without a slash on the end, which 3 0 1 redirected to the one with the slash on the end. What are you doing? Google? Are you drunk? Go home. So don't really understand that. And I think it does say everything. I know that a member of staff left Google podcasts in mid January. so there's one less person working for Google podcasts. My suspicion is that they now have two people there. secondly, Google podcasts, no, I'm being perfectly serious. my that's

Sam:

don't go mud, Google God.

James:

That's how many people I think are there. And then secondly, Buzzsprout stated that we were talking about earlier on, we've got yearly data now to be able to compare Google podcasts. This time last year was 2.6% market share. Then our 2.3% market share. So they're actually losing market share even though. they really shouldn't be. all of that seems to point to Google podcasts, really, it's another typical Google thing of can't be bothered. look, there's a shiny thing over there. We should go look at the shiny thing over there. And that seems to be what's going on, which is a real shame because if Google were actually going to do this properly, they could do really successfully. All that we need now of course, is apple to release their Android app. and, and everybody will be happy.

Sam:

the world will be happy.

James:

Come on apple. I've been using pocket casts and, recently and pocket casts is lovely, but, it's quite buggy actually. It's quite surprising. so yes, I'm hoping that, there, new owners of, automatic, what actually get some money into that and make that a little bit better.

Sam:

It's a new feature. Now, ladies and gentlemen, it's called feedback corner, where James told you about that buggy software feedback

James:

corner.

Sam:

Jason Calacanis who you mentioned earlier, there has also been a little bit unhappy as well, with Spotify, sorry to bring them back into it. he's been moaning and groaning about the fact that which is fair enough, actually, him and Molly wood, I like Mollywood. they actually, been giving Spotify good little kicking as well this week and nothing to do with Joe Rogan.

James:

it's all about not being able to add RSS feeds into a Spotify, stop trying to break podcasting. and, everything that Spotify is doing is not open standards is very closed, is pointing people towards their platform and Jason Calacanis Molly would absolutely right in, shining that particular light. And maybe that's what we should be getting more angry about. then one particular podcaster, wanting to have his own, say playing devil's advocate.

Sam:

I did say to Dave Jones that we should start to refer to apple and Spotify as legacy apps, and that people will begin to understand that they are the past and not the future.

James:

Yes. I would agree. Point about apple there.

Sam:

Gold play devil's advocate. Go on. Not

James:

so sure about Spotify, but Google podcasts. absolutely. that product doesn't seem to have had any worked done on it for a while. and I just think that they've forgotten about it.

Sam:

So let's talk about Google one more time, because clearly they've forgotten about other things you wrote about, a website using Google fonts has been fine for breaking GDPR, European privacy rules. How's that possible? And what's the storage.

James:

So this is a bit of a weird one. they'd been fine. Yes. But they'd been fined a hundred Euro, which is about a hundred and 110 us dollars. so they haven't really been fined an awful lot. but if you embed any third party content into a website, then, essentially whoever that third party is, gets to see the details of your visitors. so if you remember, 5, 10 years, there was this a time when everybody had a Facebook like button on their, website and what that was very cleverly doing is that was feeding back to Facebook, all of the websites that you were going to visit so that they could get their advertising algorithms better. and that's a prime example of how this stuff works. of course, if you embed a Google font from Google onto your website and Google have someone in the region of 2000 fonts that you can embed onto your website, then Google, learns all kinds of information about your visitors. or they can look at that IP address and they can, I'm not saying that they do, but they can, take that IP address and work out. Oh, that's Sam Sathi because he's logged in on his phone on the same IP address. so I did a quick audit of the top 10 podcast host websites. and, seven of them were using Google fonts in that way. So anchor Buzzsprout Spreaker, Libsyn, Podbean, Omni studio, and captivate, all linking to Google fonts and essentially all giving Google all of the information about their visitors as well. I should point out because I'm very proud of this, that, pod news, phased out Google fonts and indeed all third party content wherever possible, more than two years ago because of exactly this reason. just something to be aware.

Sam:

Prescient. That's all I'd say,

James:

oh, that's a good word.

Sam:

I feel like I've eaten a thesaurus on this episode. I don't know why moving forward. The good old auntie Beeb, it makes the news this week. The BBC says it saw a total of 257 million podcast downloads globally last quarter. If that's true, that would make it the number three podcasts publisher in the world, possibly NPR has 169 versus the BBC's 85 million per month. James, why is this good news for the BBC and what are they?

James:

it's interesting news for the BBC because they are essentially the number three podcast publisher in the world. they are, though taking shows off podcasting and sticking them into the BBC sounds app. And a really weird thing I did ask, does the 257 million podcast downloads include all plays of those podcasts and the BBC press person who I contacted said, actually, no, if you're listening to BBC sounds as a download, then yes, they would be. If you're listening, using the BBC sounds as a stream, I, you just press the button. and it starts playing then the 257 million doesn't include. So actually the figure is rather higher, which is interesting. What the BBC have now decided to do is that they are going to take, some of their radio originated podcasts to make those exclusives as well on the BBC sound's out for 28 days, which is very clever because some topical shows the news quiz in the now show, will now be. only available 28 days later on, RSS feeds, it's a decision, isn't it. and the other big show, which is affected in that trial is, in our time, which was the first ever podcast from the BBC. And I think the first ever podcast from a broadcaster in the UK in November, 2004, so interesting to see. Coming off. the BBC says that gives license fee pairs even more value in the typical twisted way that the BBC says. Cause it clearly doesn't. but still they would go. interesting seeing, that, but some great figures from the BBC. And I think it's worthwhile pointing out that some of the BBC's biggest shows are ones produced by the BBC world service, which won't be going anywhere soon. and, ones that are, proper journalism rather than, some of the more, entertainment focused shows that.

Sam:

BBC also has historically blocked his podcast from Google podcasts. Is it still James?

James:

It is still doing that. They've also pulled their live streams in the UK from tune-in. So if you have a Tesla, no listening to the BBC, for you similarly, no listening to Bauer radio stations in the UK. Cause that's what they're doing as well. pulling their livestreams away. So the end, the era of open in terms of audio is most definitely going away for the broadcasters. I think it's crazy. And I think if you are a declining medium, which, radio is, albeit slowly declining, then the most important thing you can do is put your content where people can listen to it, not force people to download an app that you don't really want.

Sam:

timely that you say that because Roger, which is the radio figures came out with their quarterly results, from my reading of it in summary, youth radio, BBC radio one, and, capital FM, UK radio stations are in sharp decline compared to talk radio stations like LBC and talks. What's your thoughts, James?

James:

Yes. I've been saying for a while that music intensive radio, so that's radio stations that don't have too much torque on them. Music intensive radio stations don't have a particularly good future. and, recent figures from radar seem to show that they of course have released a press release saying that. So UK radio reports, biggest ever audience, which is also true, 49.5 million people are now tuning into UK radio that's because the amount of people living in the UK has gone up. And so therefore when the amount of people living in the UK goes up, so does the amount of people listening to the radio. but, 89% of the UK adult population and are listening, every single week, which of course is considerably higher than, podcasting. I would say though, that the average Brit listens for only 18 hours a week, 10 years ago, that was 20 hours a week. research methodologies have changed, but you can clearly see that the, is an erosion there. And it's important for radio companies to keep, relevant and to keep their content on as many platforms as possible. I would say being a certified radio future on.

Sam:

Um, certified. Interesting.

James:

Yeah. Um, I forgot certified. That's what I was thinking actually certified by everybody certified by me. That's how that works And, and the one thing that we shouldn't forget is that, talk radio is doing a really very well indeed, global radio owns, LBC, which has, posted, I think it's the 15th time that they have posted record figures, which is really cool. So clearly global know what they're doing And you were talking to a global employee where you're not,

Sam:

I was yes. More cask with who you are. We're an advisor to, on captivate. So I thought we'd catch up because recently global acquired captivate and I thought I'd asked mark about, what was happening with captivate. There had some new features coming out, but more interestingly, I was interested in why global wanted to buy a podcast company and what their plans were and fundamentally with mark as well. We just wanted to find out, what his future plans were. I'm here with mark Asquith, the co-founder and CEO of captivate. Hey mark. How I

Mark:

I am good. Thank you. I am just get finishing up my desk as which you, which is always, when you catch people at the end of the day, you always get this all free spirited version. So I'm good. I'm good. I'm good. Thank you.

Sam:

the one we want now for those of you who don't know, tell us what first of all is captivate.

Mark:

So captivate is a podcast host in an analytics and distribution platform. As you'd expect, from many other podcast hosting platforms out there and, everyone's fantastic. They're all grit. Captivate occupies a very specific place in the market. we like to believe in I suppose we're described as this by many people, as well as the most complete toolkit. The real serious podcaster. That's very focused on growth. And what I mean by that is we are after working with every single podcast that we don't have a free plan to attract as many people as possible. we don't focus on the creation side of it or the editing side of it. What we focus on is if you define yourself as being someone that is willing to spend time in growing, measuring, and just really. Move in your show forward, then captivate. is the home view and the feature set and the approach and the content that we put out the team, everything is really geared up for that one. So we occupy a very specific corner of the podcast host in market and work with a very specific set of podcasts, as I think So

Sam:

So how old is captivate?

Mark:

captivate? as we record, this is now. Two and a half years old, we launched in August, 2019 in a beta. And then we came out better in January, 2020, which is startling really?

Sam:

What was the embryo for you and your co-founder to start captivating? What was the age that you had to scratch?

Mark:

It was more around coming from a marketing and a digital background and a design background, and then getting into podcasts in us. But I know a lot of people, for example, will say, our hosting platform is by podcast as part for podcasters, but a lot of hosts only podcasts because they're in podcast. And we did it the other way. We podcast us before we got into hosting and we were building product and, we built plenty of startups. We've built an exited other businesses before. And so We just love podcast. And I was podcasting about star wars and all sorts of DC comics and all sorts of stuff back in 20 11, 20 12. And that's where the H came from. So it to visit the re. Catalyst for putting the foot down and building captive. It was coming off our other business podcast websites at the managed service platform for again, the series, the podcast that worked well, still serve a lot of customers with that platform, but a lot of people wanted to work with us for our customer service levels we're both pretty straight no BS people. That's my sort of personal brand in the space. And people wanted more of that, but they already had their website of things handled. So we created. Really to, give ourselves what we needed as podcasters that wanted to grow our audience. And the catalyst was we'll look, all the other hosts say that they want your podcast to grow, but no one when we'd created captivate, no one had proved it. I could not see on any other hosting company's site, how there were proven that they wanted my audience to grow. So we just built something that I think does stand up to that.

Sam:

Now you've just brought out a new version of captivate. There had automated show notes, a few other features. Tell me what's in the new version on, how do they work? Automated? Shownotes.

Mark:

Good question. So we, being a growth focused platform we released major features probably once every four to six weeks. This is the latest one and we do have another. Coming on the 10th of February, which is,

Sam:

Can you tell us now? No, one's listening.

Mark:

no. If I did that I'm fairly sure the sniper that Karen's got positioned constantly outside my house would finally get the order. But on the 10th of fab, we've got another version which we're launching as well. So this one that we're talking about is we launched our automated show notes builder. So it captivates remit for the busy growth focused podcast is to do one of two. Either save you time or money, or to give you a proactive tool that will grill your audience. And, to the former creating good quality show notes is either cost money, or it costs a lot of time, or we just don't do a good job of it. But as podcasting is becoming busier and creators are coming more serious about what they do. We know that show notes becoming more important. We really focused on, okay. Captivate controls, a lot of data points for the podcast, and we've got a free, fully featured, integrated guestbook and an interview management platform. We've got a single promotional link that measures traffic through to apple and Spotify. If you use it. And so on, we've got our first party attribution links, our link shortener that you can use for your own promos. We've got our dynamic content engine, AME audio monetization integration engine. There is another set of data points. Started to explore this idea of aware to second, why don't we just give people the ability to use all of these other connected data pieces within captivate to automatically build shownotes based on, what they want to create. And that's what we've done. So we've released our show notes builder, which gives you unlimited notes templates. It gives you what we call blocks on limited blocks, which are pieces of reusable texts that you can use in multiple templates. It gives you our shock. Which solve independent, either custom shortcuts that you can put in yourself. So the good example of that is something like a hiatus message. When when a show goes on hiatus, it's very important to let your podcast is know that you're going to come back so that they don't just the feed doesn't degrade and they that you spot a lot of attrition. So a great example of these shortcodes are Papa hiatus message. Stick that in all of your show notes templates, it's a dynamic field that will update as you update it. It will Recurse and update all of your previous episodes. And when you're not on hiatus after you've told someone that you are, you can just get rid of that message, leave it blank. And again, you're showing those will be updated and then we've got our in-built captivates, your shortcode as well. So things like your single promo link call you first party attribution links, your any donation on monetization links that you've got in there. Just a litany of things. But. All the other guest book and information. So Sam, I'm a guest here on, on Podland. You could dynamically and automatically insert my data into your show notes without having to touch a thing. And then if I get in touch and says, those 10 episodes that we did over the last five years, you would you spelled my name wrong? Captivate allows you to just treat that in one place and it, again, it will just straight through all of your past episodes. So it's really powerful. And the last thing that it does, which I think is probably my favorite bit is when our use Amy to dynamically insert content. What I can now. He's attached pieces of text to the audio that I'm inserting. I can tell captivate that one of my measurable attribution links is also related to the audio that, certain. And when I answer a pre-roll either on mass, across all of my thousand episodes in the back catalog or for my future episodes, I do a post role or a range of minerals, captivate. Automatically rebuild your show notes. Based on that dynamic audio, it will put the text in that you've associated with. It will put the measurable link in there. So fantastic for sponsors. Fantastic for horse reads. And obviously as We move through to Dax integration and more dynamic content. So powerful. So I love this feature cause I'm like a lazy podcaster. This is just for me, Sam. This is just for me.

Sam:

We all build stuff for ourselves. That's brilliant.

Mark:

do.

Sam:

not always talking to open the head of marketing over a bus the other day. And I have this thought in my head. So with Portland, we put in show notes, we put in chapters and we put in transcript. And I'm looking at the content across all three of those and thinking actually, why isn't it just one file Because again, when I put my show notes in, I put links and I put pointers to external data, then we do chapters. And then we put links and we put images in the chapters, and then I get. Plain text, fundamentally SLT file, which has no links and no formatting. And actually the content of the transcription. Probably you could summarize the show notes from, so using an AI tool, you could just extract. And I just, I got to my head where I was like, why is an industry two? We have three different bits of content that actually say the same thing. It just seems an odd thing for me.

Mark:

I think it's an interesting problem. And to me, that's one of those problems that is, sounds like a great thing to fix, but my people might not necessarily need right Now I always find It's hard to solve problems where they are convenience problems and it's really picking the battles with that one. So I completely agree with everything that you're saying, but then you've got to start to work with app providers. You've then got to start with hosts, working with hosting companies and you've got to get buy in and we've seen, with podcasting 2.0 and all the fantastic work that collectively as an industry that we're doing this. It's about choosing the right time to do things and to implement them. So I love the idea of it completely on board with the idea of it. But I think it's one of those it's a lovely thing to have, but then we rely on the adoption of it so much that if we don't get it right, it might not take hold. That is such a fine balance with everything. As we know, as I said, podcasting 2.0 is the greatest example.

Sam:

Now talking a podcasting to poet. Oh what does captivate support in there now? have you embraced and adopted it, or are you about to, where are you with it?

Mark:

So we support a range of things in there. The latest addition to that is, is the person tagged, we put that out. When are we recording this? I'm recording this the second of fab. So that will be out early next week. That's a smaller kind of release that we're going to put out prior to one of

Sam:

I

Mark:

our

Sam:

Karen's finger on the trigger them out. Be careful that's a feature release.

Mark:

I know it's I can see the red dot on my desk and I'm dodging it on the video. But this is a big release, the person tagging, and some of the podcasts are work is a big release in terms of what it will deliver. But it's, from a technical standpoint is not such a big implementation. So we're, we're big believers in that we support the transcript side of things. were stoned supporters of like Adam and Dave and the rest of the community overall. From our perspective with captivate, we've always had a very pragmatic approach to it. I'm very much focused personally on like the day-to-day podcaster and I'm, where you and me and the rest of the industry on the bleeding edge podcast technology the day to day person that recalls once a week to talk about star wars, actually it, some of the stuff that we could implement with podcasts in 2.0, wouldn't serve that. Immediately. So I always find the balance really tough because we adore what's going on and we contribute to it. We put a lot of comments in just today on the GitHub repo. And obviously we want this to take, hold on mass whilst also saying, look at. We still have to spend dev time doing other things as well. So it's a tough balance I have to admit is a tough balance, but no, we love it. Like I said, the latest addition is that If the person tag which we see more adoption that in the apps, the listening apps. And I think as the listeners potentially become more savvy about wait a second, I don't just have to listen to these two podcasts. I can go where, if I listened to salmon on Podland, I can listen to him elsewhere. I think that the education is becoming. Something that the, I suppose people that are outside the industry are becoming a little bit more aware of now. I love it. When then the tipping points like that start to.

Sam:

The tipping point I do feel is in 2022, we are beginning to see it. So today just cast announced, they going to be supporting the person tag, And you just begin to see people say, we can add that feature. As you said, pragmatically, we'll add a bit more and a bit more. We won't jump ahead and lose people in. Oh my God. What's happened. No, it's great. You were a very happy boy, I'm guessing over Christmas because pre-Christmas, for those who don't know a certain global radio group, a quiet captivate, how did that come about?

Mark:

So I discussed this actually, we've got a podcast called captivate insider, and I know this is a much shorter version of it, but I did do a long, 30, 40 minute kind of deep dive on that. But in short, we, captivate was getting a lot of different acquisition interest. Over the last few years. W we got acquisition offers before we launched, which is ridiculous because he just shows how many people wanted to get into the industry. And they were coming thick and fast. We never set this up to be acquired. It was never the intent to, quote unquote sell, but then what happened was we started to get all of these offers. And what tends to happen with that is that you. You as a startup founder and as someone that frankly, I pay for my child's education and a healthcare from the proceeds of captivate. You start to think to yourself wait a second. How long can I keep up with waking up at 4:00 AM being worried. Both sprout going to implement the lock tag and what will the PR what PR will come from that and is that going to shed on captivate? And should we have to do with that? Like they add a legitimate for am, whereas for a startup founder, which a lot of people don't see, they don't necessarily think that. So what happened was Karen and I got to this point where we said has taken a lot of risks. We've put a lot of features that had, I can't think of any other podcasting company on the whole ever that has put as much as those out in, in a shorter space of time. And what tends to happen then is that you start to think to yourself How many more risks can we take before we start to think to ourselves, we've got to play it safe because we just need to keep it create increase in signups. Like we could adopt to the bus sprout model and do a freemium plan and give vouchers out. But that wouldn't serve our audience. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not for us. But you get to this point as a founder where you think maybe we've got to do. Because in order to keep doing what we're doing, we just want to keep signing up more users. And frankly, we didn't want to do that. So we started thinking to ourselves, how can we de-risk captivate? How can we make sure that no one's going to come and take the house so that we can then swing for the fences even more and we can continually swing for the fences. So I don't want to say put captivate on the site, but we registered with a service called micro acquire where people kick the tires of software companies in order to buy them. We were never going to sell it on there. Ever. What we wanted to know was how would we feel if captivate got acquired? And we got a lot of offers, we went through some due diligence and we hated it, man. We here today because the people that were looking to buy. didn't want to uphold the mission they didn't want to uphold what we wanted to uphold it wasn't the right thing. So we took ourselves off the market. We said, that's it we're out. We don't want to get a quiet here. And I just said, we'll get our heads down. And we'll find other ways to the risk a little bit, I don't want to get into the depths of, I do it on the captivate insider episode about some other options that we've got which don't include acquisition. We start having conversations with global, they came to us and they said, look, we're in the UK. We see what you do. Here's what we want to do, which is pretty much what you want to do. Shall we have a conversation? So we went through with the due diligence, we spoke to our advisors, James Cridland, Evo, Terra, Daniel, J Lewis, Jordan harbinger, Christo. All advisers to captivate. We spoke to them and every one of them unanimously said at global, a fantastic company, genuine, Ashley who runs the company accessible. And the important thing is that they're basically said, and they've proved it. that what they said when they said, if we acquire. You will keep running. You will come in at a very high level at global, and we want you to do the thing that you are good at, which is growing captivate. So it was really the mix of things and the two big things that swung it for us where the, we could de-risk and stop the 3:00 AM, 4:00 AM workups. And I you do that every day for three or four years. It easier, it's tough. we were able to stop them because there was no worry of what happens if our signups drop overnight, how are we going to pay the bills? That's a real founder problem. So that got rid of that worry, but then the big thing was, the users were completely unaffected. There were completely looked after. Obviously the team stayed in place. users still get the captivate experience. We released the show build, we've got our next major release on February 10th. this year will be the biggest year for captivate and it's the stuff that we're putting out there. Just things that other people have not five. And we can only do that because we aren't worried about the rug being pulled out. So that was it. And I suppose that's quite a personal thing to share. Cause a lot of people see captivate or they'll see me online and it's I'm very buoyant. I'm pretty outspoken, I've got a very given mindset, which is a very genuine thing. But buddy H tough, we are, at the end of the day, we are still people trying to bring up children and trying to make sure that we can be the best dads and that we can be the best partners and that we can make sure that the bills are paid. And when you're running a SAS company inside an industry where consolidation is going crazy, finding the right opportunity and the right partner that just doesn't come along very often. So that was the, I suppose that was the main reason.

Sam:

Okay. So global, for those who don't know is a massive UK conglomerate who owns multiple radio stations. And they've got a very good advertising platform called Dax, the digital audio advertising exchange. Now I run a radio station and I used. To take my live feed from my radio station and each show is converted into a podcast. So all my shows are one hour long. And that's why I've called my radio station of podcast first radio station, because we thought about podcasting first and radio. Second, is that what Global's thinking of? Whether you guys taking their live shows. Podcasting them out or is there another goal for global or was it just a coming together two minds that said, look, we like you, you like us, we'll acquire you, but we haven't got a plan yet.

Mark:

I can't speak so much to the future plans because the sniper that's outside, the other window would probably pop on through. I need to get less windows, actually. Some, I think that's the solution to this. But what I will say is that, globally is very much focused on creating great content. Globally is a very much focused on doing business. Like we do business Karen and I do business, which is very genuine, very open. And in particular, globally is very much focused on the key stakeholders of a platform, which are the users on the creator side. When it comes to something like captivate, I, our podcast is, and also the listeners, so the Merino of global. Global player of docks of captivate. And the other things that we're working on is It's a very obvious coming together of minds. I think, and like I said, I can't speak too much to the plans, but what I will say is that it is all intended to make great content available as easily as possible, but also to allow those who are creating to keep doing what they do, that is our goal. It's always been my goal, Whatever your goal is a podcaster is I will help you to enable it as long as you are serious about it. Like we are the home for you. So I know that's a very, I feel like a politician, that's a very abstract answer, but it's it's as honest as I can get with that, I think, he's a very genuine answer.

Sam:

than waiting for the suit. Gray rapport has an answer, so where, okay.

Mark:

I all just getting the sniper, there are only those two options.

Sam:

So putting your podcasting future hat on a little bit, mark then where do you see the industry going in 20, 22? It's still early. So I can ask you that sort of futures question. What's your predictions for 20 to 22 and beyond obviously a growing market, but where do you think it's going to.

Mark:

It's a funny situation. Is it because we've seen so many exclusives acquired, we've seen the Joe Rogan debacle recently. We've seen so many of the kind of talent acquisitions going on a. They will probably start to. slow down. I see a very near future where, and I don't mean this in any other regard than positive. The mid tier podcasters who are very clearly talented, but that don't have the budgets or the exposure will be actually snapped up and nurtured up to superstar status. I also see that what I personally see as the split between indie podcast in the industry and big podcast in the media industry, I start to see that split getting bigger and bigger, especially when you start to see Spotify doing what they're doing with your Rogan. Apple clearly. Being very nonchalant about things and almost having, I love apple and I love the team there, but there's a level of perceived apathy there with apple that is a very difficult to shake. And so I think when you start to consider that look, podcasting the media, the big production, the budgets, the big ad revenue. There's clearly got one set of goals, cross level IP. When you're looking at multiple kinds of acquisitions and tying up rates for every possible version of a podcast that you acquire. That's very different to the creator. That's producing a niche podcast out of Florida for Sarasota real estate brokers, and I think that's. We'll become more evident. And I think the split will become more evident from a technological perspective. People like captivate people like Craig and the team people like Alvin and the team and all these great hosting platforms that really care about the open ecosystem will move to support that much more and work deeper with independent apps, like good pods and so on. And where the bigger industry, the quote unquote media industry, I think we'll start to nurture that mid-level talent more and look to almost look to future proof, their slit with up and coming stars that aren't quite there yet. And I think that can only be a good thing because the fear of independent podcast is, or the fear for independent podcasts is how can I possibly compete with Dr today? You probably shouldn't even be thinking like that, but because we're all bundled together in the same place with the same labeling, with the same algorithms, with the same tech, with the Sam, everything it's difficult not to compare. So I predict that split between the Indian, the big will become more pronounced. And I think that is only a.

Sam:

I tend to agree. I think perception of size and reality of size will come to be what people begin to understand. one last quick question as the host of multiple podcasts put yourself in Spotify as hat for a second. Is it your responsibility as the host partner? Forget the fact that you've actually paid for Joe Rogan. Is it your responsibility to look at all the captivated hosted podcasts and say, we need to check that what they're putting out isn't racist, sexist, or misinformation. Where do you think the line draws on the responsibility of the hosting partner platform captivate in this case, for example, and the podcast owner, the creator whose responsibility.

Mark:

I think there's a lot of challenges that come with that. I believe that there's the line of responsibility can be drawn in different places and there should be very inlined of responsibility. The first thing that I will say is that. Captivate is my business. I'm the MD of it. Now at global, the book stops with me. If something gets brought to my attention that we should handle, then it's up to me to handle it. No one else at all. And I should handle that in a fair. I should handle that in a pragmatic and I should have handled that in an approachable and very proactive where, however, I think there's a lot of responsibility that lies with the Korean. I do believe that they've got to be diligent and they've got to, regardless of belief systems, I think when you put yourself out there and you have a platform, you are responsible for doing your diligence, but then I think there's also the added complexity of. When you have a profile, he's always the example of like soccer players, football players here in the UK. They are held to a different standard than Mia multiples and rightly So because their decisions affect a greater portion of the population and the people that idolize them than the Pope football, or that plays Sunday league at 9:00 AM every Sunday in front of 15 people. And I think there are just levels to this. But what I will say is my belief is that. situation should be handled with just openness and transparency and whoever is running the show at the places, whether it's the creator, whether it's the host in platform, whatever, whoever is collectively running the show should be the people that are stepping up and saying, this is on me. I might not have the answers right now, but. Believe me, I will find them by this date. And I will let you know, because I think there's just too much of the BS that goes around. There's too much deferral. There's too much book pass in. There's too much politicizing of everything. And this is probably very naive. This is probably very naive, but I just believe that if we all just act as human beings, you probably won't go far wrong. And I realize how naive that sounds, but I just don't see a better way of approach in a complex system.

Sam:

So last part of that. So Spotify doesn't have a very good reporting tools. If you go to the Spotify. Both mobile or desktop. If I was listening to Joe Rogan and he said something, there is no way that I can report quickly in an episode or across the show. So I think that's one thing I think all podcasting hosts could do better is make it front and center to, for you to generate a reporting. But you mentioned earlier that, you offer transcribing for a service for podcasting. You transcribing the podcast or is that the podcast to being allowed to upload their own SLT file?

Mark:

So captivate works with people like descript. So we've got a direct integration with descript. We allow the uploading of SRT files, all the manual paste in of text to into the specific place within an episode that will then push whatever you put in that, into the transcript tag. So we don't do transcription on the backend. It's not a service that captivate provides. We might add it in the future. It's not. A priority on the road because frankly other people do it better than us, and I'd rather integrate with them and let those experts shine at what they're due. So in short, we allow for the manual creation of the model paste in end of the text and the timestamps or we allow the upload of the SRT files or a direct integration with the script team as well to get your episodes from the.

Sam:

Anyway, I think there's something the industry will find itself in 2022, having to deal with, which is controlling and policing some of the content because there's a little bit wild west at the moment. Anyone can put anything up, I think. And that's the expectation. I think Joe Rogan this week showed, maybe that's not so true, but we'll see.

Mark:

I would agree. And just cap that off, I think that just goes right back to the point of the gap between Indian quote unquote beak. The second podcast in becomes big media, which it did what two or three years ago when acquisitions started happening and budgets got very serious. That's when accountability becomes very prominent, because actually you're affecting the masses. You're not affecting. At 50 users on a specific location, with your own small podcast it's a responsibility thing and it's classic Spiderman, you've got the power, you better be responsible with it. And that's the situation. I think these days with.

Sam:

Mark. Thank you so much

James:

Mark Asquith from captivate. they are currently working on, things like the people tag and, chapters. those, automated show notes are very cool as well. what did you feel after.

Sam:

I think, mark had to be very cagey about, what he could say about global, but it was interesting to see that, he sees that they will be an arm that will take Global's content and start to deliver it more towards podcasts, which is, as I said in the interview, roughly what we said at river radio, and what you said earlier, audio should be available multiple places at multiple times. So whether it's live on demand or listen again, it shouldn't matter. For the radio content. it's the way that the consumer wants to listen to it. And I think if globalists looking for an expert like mark and his team to come in and help them understand how they can take their content and easily podcast it bit like did when they went to Spotify. Then that's a great reason. The other thing though, they've got a big announcement coming out next week. Mark. Couldn't tell me. we are all ears waiting for that one. but I also asked mark a question that I wanted to ask you, James, which is, every week, after this podcast recorded, I go away and we put together our show notes. You put together chapters and we upload the transcript. and what. Suddenly dawned on me is why do we have three separate sections to a podcast when actually we thought it through carefully, that could actually be one single document. So let me just explain. I go into D script and I take the transcript and it's beautifully formatted and I've got chapter headers in there and everything else I could export that cause captivate and Buzzsprout support the script. And that would actually. Take those chapter headers and, the far, but then it strips it back down to SRT. So there's no formatting. And I spoke to open this week, the head of marketing over at Buzzsprout who said, I can go back in and I can use HTML tags if I want. I can make bold and paragraphs and page breaks and I'm like, hang on a minute. It was there five minutes ago before I uploaded it and stripped it out as an SLT. Why did I do that? Why? And then the chapters with a timestamp on it would be great. Actually. Why don't I just have one document, which is my show notes, which is a summary with chapters that I can expand into the transcript and it's all together. And then maybe gosh, like medium listeners could put comments against that, which would then be on the timeline. It just seems like we were making a lot of hard work for all podcast is to try and make notes and chapters within podcast.

James:

I think anything that makes it easier and simpler for podcasters to publish makes a bunch of sense.

Sam:

Mark's view was that he thought the same, but he didn't think anyone was gonna actually change it,

James:

And I think you have to be careful if your, the boss of a small company as market is not to focus on just the things that people like you and me and Evo, Terra and Daniel J. Lewis want, and actually focus a little bit more on things that other people want, things that the general public want and maybe they don't want that sort of thing. And I think that's always going to be the balancing act that, that you're always.

Sam:

Anyway, let's move on a couple of companies that I just want to make some quick announcements, pot LP, starting today has added support for pod ping. So you can get faster updates of your podcasts and they're already polling bus sprout and rss.com, which is great.

James:

And pod first has added an embedded Twitter player, four episodes and clips, which looks really neat. So congratulations to pod vers

Sam:

umbral, which is basically a standalone hardware box that allows you to run your own bank in effect for Satoshis has updated to 0.4, and along came a new version from Dave Jones of heli pad. Have you downloaded your

James:

new version? I have not downloaded my new version yet, but one of the things that I'm quite excited by is that it includes a new end point, which nobody will see, but which, developers can now start playing around with, which will show streaming SATs as well as boost to grams. So booster grounds are lovely because, you can see messages that people have posted to you as well as take amounts of, cryptocurrency. And that's very helpful, but streaming SATs. I might, pay a podcast 50 cents every minute that I listen. That's actually a pretty big thing too. And currently that's not very visible at the moment. So now there's a end point, for a JavaScript file to take a look at that. It'll be interesting to play around with that and see if we can get that to work,

Sam:

Kevin Rook has said lightening. Podcasting is the real deal in January, said my podcast and more from lightening tips or boost to Graham's than it did in October, November, and December. And ask a Merry friend of the show, founder of fountain, which is a wonderful app, says that he's seeing massive growth in, user adoption for, booster groups, which

James:

is great to see. it's great to see. And I think Kevin rock would see even more if he stopped calling them tips. if you ask for a tip, you get 20% of what you should be getting. if you ask for value, if you ask for somebody to pay you the value that they think that something is worth, then you will get more money. And I think one of the things that, you know, and I've heard Adam Curry saying this a long time, I think one of the things that we need to be a little bit cleverer about is to get the right wording to get the right talk up around this. so that it isn't seen as a way of tipping people. It's a way of paying for the podcasts that you really enjoy, which is a different conversation.

Sam:

last week, we talked about, lip sync or the new version adding, the locked tag. the podcast intakes has reported that there's 218,538 feeds now in the index that support the lock tag.

James:

that's great news. And I we need to also see the other side. We need to see people like anchor and Spreaker support, not importing a podcast. If that lock tag is. and, while that happens, while they continue to ignore that, then, that's not going to be particularly helpful. So I think we should be, spending a long time on these podcasts, companies basically saying, come on, guys, you need to support this because it's very clear that there is a piracy issue in podcasting, as we were talking about earlier.

Sam:

And talking of companies that are supporting tags, good to see just cast is supporting the person tag as well. my general consensus of all of this James, I think is that we are beginning to see more and more tech companies breeding sport more and more of the podcast index, tags. And one of the companies that I caught up with this week was castoffs, caught up with our CEO and founder Craig Hewitt, to find out about the new version that they launched, which includes website templates, but also what they're doing to support the podcast index tags as well. I'm joined today by Craig Hewitt. He's the CEO and founder of Castile's Creek. Hey, how are you?

Craig:

Hey, Sam. I'm doing great. Thanks.

Sam:

Where in the world

Craig:

are you? I am in the U S and Rhode Island. So between Boston and

Sam:

New York, now, let's get a little bit of background who or what is castoffs?

Craig:

Yeah. So cast is a podcast and a hosting analytics platform. We also have an embedded professional services arm. We call it Castillo's productions where we help about a hundred different shows, kind of full service soup to nuts you record. We ship a finished podcast for them. so audio editing, joining note, writing, marketing assets, everything like that serve about 4,000 active customers on the platform and, been around for about five years.

Sam:

what was the embryo? What got you into this space?

Craig:

I guess a story is one of our customers, at the kind of precursor of customs productions was called podcast motors com like first business in the podcasting space, which is like a agency professional services. One of our customers there contacted me one day and said, Hey Craig, I know of someone who's selling this WordPress plugin called seriously simple podcasting. And I know that you've been wanting to get into the product space and SAS, all this kind of stuff. Maybe you should chat with him. So it can a long story short, we acquired the seriously simple podcasting WordPress plugin, which was at the time and still is entirely free. But you could use the plugin on your WordPress site, self host and podcasts for free with WordPress, which is awesome because WordPress is also free. an open-source. And, and we built the cast as platform as an optional kind of add on to that as a hosting platform and fast forward, about nine months, we opened it to where you can use by itself. So like you would use a simple cast or something like that. and at this point about a half, our customers use WordPress and about half. So that's kinda where we came from.

Sam:

So you've come up with a new version recently, a couple of features in it, such as website templates. So what's in the new version

Craig:

You know, we shipped new code several times a week, so the new website, themes that we call them are really three different themes that are all customizable with like fonts and colors and background images and things like that. So I can match the brand, look and feel of the podcast, but it also has things like host profiles. So you host the podcast with someone else. You can each go in there and. Get your Twitter, avatar and all that kind of stuff, upload an image. And then there's going to be like a dedicated page about you, a subscribe page where you can populate all your subscribe links. So From our WordPress world, like what are the things that a good podcast website has? And we built all that into Costos and all like entirely free every podcast gets their website. they can turn them off if they want, if they have an external site. So they don't want duplicate content. But, we really think it brings us. Past feature parody to really, being like a very complete solution for what folks.

Sam:

So a lot of people say, you should have a dedicated website. Why is it for podcast SEO? What are the benefits? Cause a lot of people just create, you know, they might use, Buzzsprout hosted pointed to apple and Spotify job done. They've got a podcast of me.

Craig:

Yep. And I think that's perfectly fine for a lot of folks, right? And what we say is if your podcast stands alone and there's not like a bigger business behind it, right? Like our podcast lives on our website, our audience podcast lives on our website because we want folks to come to our website and from the audience podcast and see, Caspus does this. And they sign up and those kinds of things. And if you're a coach or a consultant or you have a membership. Or you're a business. you want that to happen, but if you're, in your basement, podcasts about the green bay Packers, you probably don't need a full-blown website. You need to focus on just creating content. And that's what not having an external website does is just, Go in, publish your podcast and cast us the websites, all taken care of for you. You can customize it if you want, but you don't have to. but I think it's really important for you to be able to apply. Listeners somewhere that is not apple podcasts or Spotify to learn more about you. And I think most podcasts see this evolution over time as they get, more successful and more attraction and want to expand the footprint of what the podcast is to have a website, to have an email list, to market something to those folks, very few, really successful podcasts. Don't have. Other stuff going on, all this like typical internet marketing stuff that a lot of folks scoff at, but look at the biggest podcast. And maybe it's heresy to say that like all of them have a lot more going on than just a podcast.

Sam:

Now you mentioned about being able to go in and put your host details and your guests details. Maybe are you using the podcast index person tag? are you supporting the index?

Craig:

we are supporting the index. the host, or person tag is definitely coming. we didn't get it in with this release, but it's definitely coming. it's on the radar for here shortly. we support, Locked and Gid at this point. And, next week we're releasing value for value support.

Sam:

Wow. Okay. tell us for those people who don't know what is value for value then, because obviously I do, but let's get it from you. It'd be interesting to see from someone who's developed on your side. Hey, how are you?

Craig:

I'll explain it from mine. And then I'd love to hear from your perspective, So from our end, the addition is an additional field in your RSS feed, where you're able to put a crypto wallet ID, for folks. Satoshi's to you as they're listening to podcasts on certain podcasts, 2.0 enabled mobile apps. So apple podcasts, not one of them. There's a whole bunch on the podcast index or podcast 2.0 site that support this. and that's what. value is to me is a way for listeners to support a podcast with crypto. and for, from our perspective, we're just enabling our creators to say, Hey, where's this supposed to go? and then listeners are the ones through their mobile app to say, Hey, want to stream, SATs to.

Sam:

it really is. It's answering the question of, I can give you a thumbs up. I can give you a heart. I can give you a clap in medium. now we've moved them the model forward. So I can actually give you something of value. Now they're all micropayments and they're great fun, to receive, you can even now, Dave Jones, who's one of the developers or the developer of the podcast index. It's created a new app last week called helipad. So if you happen to have. I said very geeky, but if you happen to have a, an umbrella server, which is like a personal server, and running heli pad, you can actually see in real time, those boost diagrams coming in or boost messages coming in. So it's very early days. But, Craig, I don't know if you've noticed, but in the U S Twitter has enabled this within the client already.

Craig:

I did see that. And I think the question you might be getting at is. Is this okay. are we too far ahead of the game? I have a personal stance and we have, as a company, I have a stance that like, crypto is. is going to be a very big part of commerce going forward. I don't know that it is as transformational as the internet, like a lot of people say, but if you look at Twitter Stripe, the really popular payment processor, tripe supported crypto a year or so ago, and then made an announcement last fall that they're like bringing on entire crypto team, to start supporting it again sometime in the future. And so we look at. frankly like really big leaders and innovators in kind of the digital space saying, Hey, we're, fully back on board that tells us like from a credibility and kind of acceptance perspective that Hey, this is somewhere that we want to focus on. I personally am. Kind of more, more ahead than that, but as a business we have to, and as a relatively small business, we have to be a little more conservative and follow a little bit some of those bigger players. But I see crypto as really transformational in how people transact value. and that means a lot of different things, From anywhere from SATs to NFTs to a whole lot of other stuff that, that I think is really hard to wrap your head around right now. but I think that's the cool thing is. The internet analogy is like, when I was like in high school, right? Like I'm 41. Like when I was in high school, the internet was just like games and weird websites and stuff. And the concept of e-commerce and Amazon and stuff like that, it was just way out there. and I think that's where we are right now is all this concept of crypto as like a transfer of value and a store of value is really nascent right now. but. We're definitely not ignoring it

Sam:

now. I think you've fully on the money. when I was growing up trying to explain to people it's called HTTP. You put that in that a Cola for it's called a URL. U you L that's what it's called. And people will look at you as if you're talking Swahili. And it didn't matter. And now you can tell anyone anywhere in the world, put a URL in here. It is. And I think the same. Here's my invoice from my crypto and just pay it right. Or grab it, and whatever. And I, what are you using? I'm using SATs, not Eve. Oh, okay. That's fine. It's just one coin versus another cord and then the terminologies and the language will just become common day. Vocabulary is just new and people shy away from you a little bit, but brilliant. So that's in next release, not this release or a future release.

Craig:

unless this episode's going out today, by the time this episode goes out, we'll we'll have it live.

Sam:

Brilliant. beyond sort of micropayments and the podcast index, where do you see podcasts in game? where is your head around? Things like advertising, Dai things like, the close wall gardens or Spotify and apple. How do you see this industry evolving in 2022?

Craig:

when it comes to, I think the big question is like, how do we enable creators to monetize their content? that's like for us, like the really big umbrella. So it was like how to create a podcast. I think we've nailed that as well as we can. tools like these scripts that we partner really closely with our Riverside and squad, Casper recording a Riverside, but those two tools make. The recording and editing and production process just way easier than when I got started. And probably when you guys started, I got started seven years ago, to where the content creation part is I think like about as easy as it's going to get the room for me for innovation is around. Okay. It's easy for folks to understand how to create content. It's easy, relatively easy for them to distribute it through platforms like ours. now how do we enable empower creators to monetize their content directly without this weird affiliates stuff or anything like that? That is just this circuitous route, to maybe what folks perceive as value. And we feel very strongly that it is not in advertising. Advertising is just a hold over from terrestrial radio days. And I think has almost no place in podcasting. And I know that's a very controversial thing to say, but like for me, the more natural way to say, okay, I have an audience of people that get value from listening to what I have to say. There probably is a subset that would pay me money for more of that content. And they would get more value from that. And that's where we're putting all of our eggs is in the private podcasting basket. and so that has two flavors to it. So apple and Spotify have they're very closed versions of that on their platform. We have a version of that on our platform and our enabling payments directly within our platform as well. a content creator can say, okay, I have my public podcast. It's all here. You're available. It's in all the directories, apples, Spotify, Google, Stitcher. I also have this premium, private podcast. That's 10 bucks. and if you want, you can pay for access to it. So that's one way. and that's coming really soon. Like in the next couple of weeks, from our end, we're going to have a native integration with Stripe, again, like really huge payment processor. You bring your Stripe account. We don't take a percentage or anything like that. Like a lot of the other really popular platforms, we just enable you to make money. the other one also in the private podcasting basket is there are a lot of people out there with existing audiences that are engaging with them in some way already. They have a Facebook group, they have a course on. Teachable or something like that. They have a big email list with convert kit, and we are building automations to tie in with these tools that creators are already using to automate the adding and removing a private subscribers from private podcasts. So think about take the convert kit example. You have a big email list when someone joins like the super premium part of that list or buys a product or something like that, you can trigger something in our platform to say like, when someone purchases this item from convert kit commerce, add them to my private podcast. That's only for customers and the feedback we're getting from customers. There is just luck. where were you guys? Two years ago? This is the best thing. Our competition is reeling because we're adding so much value and it's almost no extra work for me. Cause folks are able to create this content like really easily, and then everything else about the permissioning and the distribution is fully automated through our integrations. so for us, that's where we're going, like where the industry is going. I think that a lot of there's a lot of hold ons to the advertising model. and I just think that if you do the. For the vast majority of podcasters, they just can't make any money. You can't make any money at a $20 CPM. but you can selling a $10 membership and that's, we think is the best way to enable creators to make money and then like really follow that passion and just to be a podcaster. you don't have to go do a whole bunch of other stuff and sell ads and do contracts and stuff that like a lot of creators don't want to do.

Sam:

It's the Kevin Kelly, 1003 funds.

Craig:

Yep. Exactly.

Sam:

Brilliant. Look, Craig, thank you so much for your time. Where can people get hold of customers where's the best place for them to go?

Craig:

Castro's dot com C a S T O S. we'd love, Check it out. Any question? Just use message. hello@casper.com and will you be

Sam:

at podcast movement? I will. Yep. So we'll try and find you there as well. So sounds great. Thanks Craig. Take care and congratulations on the last.

Craig:

Thanks, Sam. I appreciate it.

James:

Cray Hewitt from castoffs, talking about supporting value for value, which is really exciting on both sides, that's pretty cool Sam.

Sam:

And so now I think it's time for the return

James:

boost the Graham corner. Can't get more top 40 than that. It is it's time for booster Graham corner. Ah, how exciting. it's lovely to be back. Justin from the optimal living daily podcast, sent us 726, SATs Y 726 Sam.

Sam:

in America on their phones, they have numbers and letters and it spells Sam on the telephone keypad. So that's brilliant. I like that. I'm going to be using

James:

that. It's a Sam boost.

Sam:

It's a Sam boost. Yes. I have to be careful how I say that. and he sent it to me thankfully, because I had been called Seth rather than Sethi on the new media show. So thank you, Joe.

James:

Yes. And what does he say that.

Sam:

as a fellow Indian, I feel the painting called by my last name, which I don't share because James will butcher it. It's just

James:

Molly. How can I possibly butcher Malik? How complication is just in Malik as a surname? How can I possibly butcher that? Justin? Thank you so much for the SATs. I appreciate the Sam sat. I believe, have you got your umbrella actually up and running yet? Sam

Sam:

and I had a very kind of from Dave to help me. It is my project for the weekend. I've had a busy week.

James:

It was your project for the weekend. Last weekend, Kyron from the mere mortals podcast has sent us 1, 1, 2, 3 sets saying, bring back booster Graham corner on pod land. James listened to the angry mob and then says, now do whatever you want. Sorry Australia. Thank you, Karin. And he also says loving the use of chapter art with the chapters, Simon, James, it's a small touch, but I feel it adds a lot to your linkage game is top notch as always Sam that's all your work, the chapter art. So thank you for doing that.

Sam:

Karen like joint effort, James, you know that it's a joint effort.

James:

Our team from pod friends, 10,000 sets. Thank you for some great shows. Thank you for the SATs that Marcy, most appreciative of that Adam Curry sent us 3, 3, 3, 3 sets, which must be a thing must knit, boosting for pod paying. He says, which is nice. Jane to Mingo says boosting for chapters and the centers. The same thing. and Jane then sent 5,000 sat saying, I hope I'm doing this correctly. New listener, Love what your group is doing with value for value. Jane, thank you so much. It's not our group. Of course, it's Adam Curry and Dave Jones, but we have jumped on the back of it and we're using it. So thank you so much for being a new listener. I thank you for your 8,000 plus SATs. That's very kind of you

Sam:

and Anna Lehman centers, the three ducks, two to two SATs. Keep up the good work guys. Love hearing you guys talk about podcasting. Thank you, man. I

James:

is tutored 2, 2, 2. Is that a rooster boost? Maybe it's the rooster booster. Maybe it's finally Oscar Mary who said just 2, 2, 2, 2 sets, which must be a rooster boost. It's the rooster booster. Anyway, he says, I have to completely disagree with Jonas here. Now this shows you how old this is messages, because Oscar is talking about, a podcast three weeks ago. but Oscar says streaming micropayments on a per minute basis is not something we've seen before. And it will take time to get to the point where podcast is making significant revenue from this, but we will get there. agreed. Oscar of course is, the boss of a fountain, which is a very good podcast app. so if this podcast is valuable to you, download something like fountain, from the app store it's available on, both, Android phones and on toy phones, and you can download that and, press that boost button and Send us some cryptocurrency, whatever you think is right for the value that you get from this podcast. and, I appreciate all of those.

Sam:

Cool now, events coming up just to throw it out there. Podcast futures here in London on February the 22nd, I will be going, I'm looking forward to meeting as many people there as possible. I do wish pod girls' futures would send out some sort of confirmation that the events going ahead. And actually my registration has been registered because so far, everyone I know who said they wanted to go has not had anything back. So hello, podcast, futures, earth calling. Please send some confirmation out.

James:

Sure. They're planning on it. It's one of the main sessions will be presented by Laura Ivy of Edison research. It's at the central hall in Westminster, wherever that is. so that should be nice. and, I know it's in Westminster, but I, as for quite where the central hall is, it sounds like a very old building. it may or may not be, sponsors so far Triton digital Veritonic and target spots that are going to announce more speakers. I am on that list of being a speaker. I'll tell you now I won't be there, so not quite sure what's going on there. but I may be speaking from a far, or I may not be speaking at all, who knows we'll find out. but that should be good. It's on the 22nd of February, or as you note two to two 20.

Sam:

Exactly. the other event we keep talking about is podcast movements in March. James and I will both be out there. We're looking forward to meeting as many people as well when we get out there. I think yesterday was the early bird, the end of the early birds. So if you've missed it, apologies. but make sure you go on and if you're coming out, please come and say hello to one of us or both of us.

James:

Yes. That will be really good. I'm looking forward to being there, getting there a little bit early and looking forward to catching up with all kinds of people. So that should be really good. what else has happened for you in Portland this week? Sam?

Sam:

I can't tell you that's the problem.

James:

Oh, I see. Oh, it's all been sold top secret. Top

Sam:

secret stuff is it's very mundane and boring stuff, really building a platform and doing stuff.

James:

That doesn't sound mundane. that sounds exciting. but you just can't tell us anything about your secret platform yet.

Sam:

Yes, one day I will reveal

James:

all. Yes, I'm looking forward to it. for me, I was on a Sydney radio station to S E R on a media show that they do down there. And on Saturday I will be on three R I'm imagining that's called really three triple R, they're in Melbourne. and I am on radio station. I'm on something which I'm slightly concerned about. It's called the Parsi show. but I don't think it's got anything to do with Boris Johnson. and again, I'm talking about, Joe Rogan and trying to be as balanced as I possibly can be after the emails. so we are, that's it for this week.

Sam:

Brilliant. look, please follow pod land in your podcast app and on Twitter at Podland news. And if you want to grab our attention, if you've got a tweet, put hashtag potluck news and I'll find it.

James:

Oh, that's fancy. you can find previous shows on the web@podlance.news. Daily news, is it pod news.net, which is a free newsletter. The podcasts can be found in your podcast app and all the stories we've discussed on pod lands today are in the show notes of this very podcast. and, it's a bit too late for you now, but we use chapters, as well. So you can skip around from different story to different story.

Sam:

No, one's listening to this point, as we said last week, James

James:

Yes, indeed. And our music is from ignite. Jingles were hosted and sponsored by our good friends at Buzzsprout. So keep listening.

Introduction
Neil Young New Channel on Sirius XM?
Sirius XM launches Audio ID
Joe Rogan 'The Elephant in the room'
Google Fonts charged for spying
BBC the number 3 podcast publisher in the world.
Interview: Mark Asquith - CEO Captivate
Boostergram Corner