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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

The AP and PodcastOne Partner to Offer Dynamic News Via Podcasts

February 23, 2015 | By Michelle Manafy, Editorial Director – DCN @michellemanafy
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Podcasting is definitely making a comeback. But like so many things digital, podcasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all opportunity. While many individuals and organizations are posting podcasts on their own sites, others opt to participate in podcast networks. The Associated Press is taking the latter route,  getting into the resurgent podcasting game while remaining true to its brand: a trusted source of independent news and information licensed by media outlets of all kinds.

When Norm Pattiz, founder and CEO of PodcastOne, approached the AP about licensing their content for podcasts, they were interested. According to Ebony Reed, AP’s director of business development for local markets, the AP is often approached by those who are looking to fill an information need and they are always excited to figure out ways to ways to creatively meet those needs. “We want to grow and continue to be at the forefront of providing information to the world,” said Reed. “When Norm came to us, we were interested to hear what he was doing and how we could work together.”

Pattiz who has a long and storied history in radio syndication (notably as the founder of Westwood One) admits that he’s always been a big believer in news and knows that advertisers are too.  He founded his latest venture in February, 2013 when he noticed that news had been in decline on broadcast radio and wanted to find a way to incorporate it into his content mix (PodcastOne hosts approximately 200 podcasts, including those by Adam Carolla, Steve Austin and Jillian Michaels.) The trick, of course, was that podcasting is an on-demand medium, while news is up-to-the-minute content. Pattiz decided to leverage PodcastOne’s dynamic ad insertion technology to solve this problem. “With dynamic insertion, you can insert the ad regardless of when a podcast is downloaded. So I thought, ‘why couldn’t we do the same thing to provide the most up-to- date newscast for consumers?’” Problem solved. (And an opportunity created.)

While this model presents a content-licensing deal (with revenue sharing) for the AP, Reed said that it was also appealing to be a part of the PodcastOne effort particularly because of Norm’s involvement and his innovative broadcast approaches. ”We are always looking for ways to help with new digital products and this is a great way to reinforce the brand by being affiliated with this new and exciting venture.”

Pattiz licenses the AP’s audio clips service which offers hundreds of cuts each day, including sound bites, correspondent reports, news headlines, wraps and more. The AP’s 60-second news headlines are featured at the end of PodcastOne’s diverse podcasts as “AP Up-To-The-Minute Newscasts.” The goal is to integrate news into the PodCast one content, while also creating additional advertising inventory to sell in the post roll and extending listener engagement beyond the formal end of the podcast episodes.

While Reed says the AP didn’t set out to be in the podcast business, she emphasizes that “The AP tries to stay on the cutting edge of digital and we are exploring a wide range of different initiatives. We are open to experimentation and pushing to be a part of new ventures and opportunities.” Ultimately, though, while the digital team at AP is focused on finding new channels for its content and creative ways to increase its footprint, the AP isn’t looking to build its own podcast network. “You read us in newspapers, you hear us on TV but we don’t own a newspaper and we don’t own a television network.” With the PodcastOne partnership, the AP continues its long tradition of offering its information through a wide range of outlets and meeting the information needs of its partners and consumers alike.

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