1. Spotify’s Podcast Acquisitions
Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, plans to make podcasts big. It announced Wednesday that it’s acquiring two podcast startups, Gimlet and Anchor. The company spent $230M on Gimlet’s acquisition and plans to invest $500M more in podcast development. Since podcasts became available through Apple’s iTunes in 2005, their popularity has surged. Now, 78M people in the U.S. regularly listen to podcasts, according to a study by PwC. Even so, podcasts are still considered an “emerging” medium, and advertising in the space has lagged behind. Most podcasts are free, and Forbes found that podcasters earn $5 for every listener, as opposed to the $22 per listener that streaming services earn. How will Spotify mix it up? “Our work in podcasting will focus intensively on the curation and customization that users have come to expect from Spotify. We will offer better discovery, data, and monetization to creators,” said Daniel Ek, chief executive at Spotify. Not only does Spotify hope to retain more users through creating quality podcast content, but they plan to monetize the medium as well. Sounds like a win-win-win for podcast creators, listeners, and Spotify. #ShamelessPlugAlert … check out Erik Qualman’s Super U Podcast with 7 Super Tips from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Spotify!
2. 230 New Emojis—Service Dog Rocks
From wheelchairs to interracial relationships to a period emoji, a lot of options are coming to the 2019 keyboard. The Unicode Consortium, the group that handles standards for emojis, approved 230 new emojis coming out this year. The new emojis will represent people with disabilities, including a person in a wheelchair, a deaf person in different skin tones, prosthetic limbs, a service dog, and more. The National Association of the Deaf partnered with Apple to make this happen. Another set of emojis will include four combinations of gender and people of various skin tones holding hands, to represent a diversity of couples.
A bunch of buzz has surrounded the single drop of blood emoji. The emoji came after a campaign by Plan International UK to create a #PeriodEmoji to end the stigma around periods for girls. What other emojis are coming? Foodies can get excited about a waffle, garlic, and falafel. New animal additions will include a sloth, an otter, and a flamingo. Unicode says the software update should come out for iOS and Android in September or October.
3. Facebook Earns Ad Revenue in China
Facebook is banned in China. So how did they make $5B in revenue from Chinese-based advertisers in 2018? The company has created an experience center in the southern Chinese city, Shenzen, where Chinese businesses can learn how to advertise on Facebook. The center is the only one of its kind and exists in a humble 5K square-foot space on the ninth floor of a concrete tower. Even though Chinese companies don’t have experience using Facebook, they recognize the value of advertising on the platform. “Most of the time, it’s them who come to us,” said Charles Shen, chief executive of Meet Social, the Chinese advertising agency partners with Facebook to run the experience center. Meet Social shows clients examples of Facebook ads on giant phone-shaped screens, provides examples of paid posts from Chinese brands, and trains clients on Facebook marketing strategies. What is the Chinese government’s response? Chinese authorities have made no efforts or comments in regard to shutting down the experience center. Looks like the “Great Firewall” hasn’t stopped Facebook from working with China.