BOTW: The podcast boom; If agencies want diversity they need to pay better; The ghost of Logan Roy
Welcome to Best of the Week.
Today: Minimum wage in the media; The Logan Roy effect; Will podcasting breach the $100m ceiling?; The Market Herald share price tanks; and (another) big week in AI
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2023: The year podcasting becomes a $100m medium?
Tim Burrowes writes:
Earlier this year we finally got to understand the size of the podcast advertising market in Australia.
This week, we got to find out a little more about the trajectory.
Back in March, the IAB and Commercial Radio Australia released the first data on advertising in the digital audio space. Across 2022, audio streaming pulled in $138.7m, with an additional $82.5m going into podcasts.
Now we know what the podcast market is worth. And soon we'll know how many of the ABC's missing listeners are podcasting instead
This week was the first quarterly update of that data.
Audio streaming revenue rose by 8.8%, to $32.1m for the quarter. Podcast revenue rose even faster, by 20.7%, to $19.8m for the quarter.
At this rate, podcasting will overtake audio streaming as the key advertising medium for digital audio spend.
Extrapolating that 20.7% growth rate across a whole year would see podcasting revenue land at $99.6m for the year - tantalisingly close to the milestone of being a $100m medium. If the growth rate improves in the next quarter, it will be a likelihood.
Minimum wage in medialand
On Friday, Mumbrella’s Calum Jaspan went out with a bang, ahead of a move to cover the media beat for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
He revealed that Omnicom Media Group, which includes two of Australia’s best media agencies OMD and PHD, is paying a graduate salary of $46,875, inclusive of super.
The comment thread is quite something.
Yes, those who do well will quickly get promoted and might soon be better paid.
However, the only people who can afford to take that risk in order to get their foot on that ladder are those who have other means of support.
Low entry level salaries are one reason Australia’s media (and wider business establishment) lacks diversity.
This week OMD was deservedly among the agencies listed on the Mumbrella Awards shortlist for media agency of the year.
It might be helpful if jurors in all of the agency of the year categories used the opportunity of the finalist presentations to ask agency bosses about the lowest salary that they pay.
Succession, to the Max
Come lunchtime on Monday, I’ll be disappearing from my desk for an hour or so. Which, now I come to think of it, isn’t a particularly unusual thing for somebody to do at lunchtime.
But I will be more excited about doing so than usual. The final episode of Succession - perhaps the greatest TV series set within the media - will be going to air. I’ll miss that messed up Roy family.
It may have only been around for four seasons, but the story behind Succession encapsulates the rapid change within the media.
Back when I first wrote about the project on Mumbrella a dozen years ago, the idea was much more closely based on Rupert Murdoch.
Even that early synopsis contained a key Succession plot point for the end of season three when changes to the voting rights in the family trust thwarts the kids’ putsch.
Back in 2011, streaming wasn’t even a thing in Australia. Indeed, by the time Succession itself launched in 2018, the market was still developing. Binge, where the streaming rights to Succession live, wasn’t launched by Foxtel Group until 2020.
In Australia, the Murdoch-aligned Foxtel buried the first season of Succession. For many months the only way for Australians to watch it legally was on board Qantas flights.
Presumably the decision wasn’t bad programming, but actually nervousness about offending The Murdochs. In the end though, just like Logan Roy, dollars and ratings eventually triumphed and Succession become a Foxtel cornerstone.
This week, the HBO-made Succession provided another backdrop for change which will - eventually - have reverberations in Australia.
On Tuesday in the US, Warner Bros Discovery launched Max, a roll up of its HBO and Warner Bros content. The timing wasn’t coincidence. The company is hoping for downloads of the new app ahead of the Succession finale.
Max is fairly likely to appear in Australia next year, probably ending one of Foxtel’s best sources of drama content when it loses its HBO deal.
That’s if other dominos don’t fall first.
Warner Bros Discovery is heavily in debt. That could yet trigger a sale or merger of Max with another service.
NBC Universal’s owner Comcast is set to sell its one third stake of Hulu (another streaming service yet to launch in Australia) to majority owner Disney for something like $US30bn early next year.
At the moment Foxtel has the main local subscription content deal with NBCU, while Seven has the free rights.
The US$30bn or so from the Hulu sale would create the potential for Comcast to combine Max with its NBCU streaming service Peacock, which is also yet to launch in Australia. That’s if the similarly debt-laden Paramount doesn’t come into play.
First the deals will play out in the US, then the consequences will roll through to Australia.
And don’t even get me started on the ramifications of the GoJo-Waystar Royco merger.
The Week in AI: Google’s AI search goes into Beta
Cat McGinn, curator of humAIn - human creativity X AI writes:
CBA bets big on AI
Matt Comyn, CEO of CBA announced the bank is embracing generative AI technology across its operations, particularly to improve customer service. At a tech briefing Comyn revealed the Big Four bank is already using AI models to assist call centre staff, streamline software engineering, and combat fraud. He acknowledged the need for ethical principles and regulatory guidance. Commbank also aims to expand its app offerings, including integrating a retail stock trading platform and partnering with travel website Hopper for travel bookings.
Tako no prisoners
TikTok’s foray into the world of AI-powered chatbots began. Tako, the AI chatbot, is being rolled out to users gradually. Indicative of the significance the Chinese social video platform places on it, the Tako icon is positioned prominently on the right side of the video screen, above other icons. It will provide personalized recommendations and respond to user queries.
Organise the world’s informAItion
Search giant Google released its AI-powered search to beta users, with plans to make it widely accessible. The new search experience has a direct shopping integration and claims to help users get information faster, with fewer queries. The impact on the search industry will be significant as site owners need to adapt to these changes. One impact will be a need for greater focus on long-tail search query optimisation.
Try to comply
After a largely positive appearance before the US Senate, OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman had a less warm reception from EU lawmakers, claiming OpenAI may have to “cease operating” in the European Union. Altman said the artificial intelligence giant would “try to comply” with the EU AI act, while criticizing its designation of "high-risk" systems. The major sticking point is the requirement that the current draft of the AI Act requires creators of foundation models to disclose details about their system’s design and provide “summaries of copyrighted data used for training,” which Altman says is too commercially valuable to release - and would also open the company up to a host of copyright infringement claims from publishers and artists.
Altman backpedalled a day later on Twitter.
The copyright issue is increasingly key to the AI race, as AI rivals enter a standoff about how large language models are trained; Twitter’s CEO Elon Musk has threatened to sue Microsoft for copyright infringement of Twitter content in training its AI models.
Dare the Rod
Former Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims, who masterminded the implementation of the News Media Bargaining Code in Australia to force Google and Facebook to pay publishers for their content, called for it to be reviewed to allow for the copyright-shredding arrival of generative AI.
Extraction and empathy
News Corp’s global chief executive Robert Thomson opened the INMA World Congress of News Media with a speech warning that publishers’ intellectual property was under threat from AI. He told the audience: “We are accustomed to defining coal or copper mining as an extractive industry – content mining is an extractive industry. On our side, AI without EI is empty content calories. Emotional intelligence should be our comparative advantage given that we are in the editorial empathy business.”
Unmade unveiled a new panel for our humAIn - human creativity x AI conference. ANZ futurist Kate Young will talk about the bank’s work on using AI to improve customer experience.
Unmade Index inches up despite Market Herald bloodbath
Seja Al Zaidi writes:
The Unmade Index improved yesterday, ending the week with an upwards lift of 0.39% taking it to 626.46 points.
The Market Herald - currently the subject of a shareholder war and regulatory investigations - was the most significant loser on the Index yesterday. The share price fell 20.59% to its lowest level in more than two years. The company started the day with a market capitalisation of $110m and finished it worth less than $87m.
Enero Group and Southern Cross Media also saw slight declines, falling by 0.92% and 0.66% respectively.
Print and marketing group IVE Group saw some positive action, inching up 1.86% on the market, while Domain scored a 1.47% rise in its share price.
Campaign of the Week: Feeling It - Toyota
In each edition of BOTW, our friends at Little Black Book Online highlight their most interesting marketing campaign of the week
LBB AUNZ reporter Casey Martin writes:
This week's campaign of the week is from Gemba for AFL sponsor Toyota.
"Feeling It" attempts to capture the feeling of joy the comes from sport and following a favourite team at all levels
Showcasing all aspects of the game and targeting AFL fans, the campaign mixes archive and new footage to capture the widening accessibility of the sport.
You can read more on the campaign at Little Black Book
Time for us to leave you to your weekend. I’ll be back with Abe Udy on Monday for Start the Week.
Have a great weekend.
Publisher - Unmade