Ad Disclosure: Podcast Sponsors Aren’t Off the Hook


PodMov Daily: Thursday, August 11

Episode 699: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Ad Disclosure: Podcast Sponsors Aren't Off the Hook

In some cases, podcasters aren’t solely responsible for signposting sponsored content. The meal replacement brand Huel was just cautioned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a host-read promotion that wasn’t sufficiently marked, reports Rebecca Stewart of Adweek.*

On an episode of Diary of a CEO, listeners heard a page-turn sound effect before the host launched into a lengthy promotion of the brand’s shakes. You can read it in the ASA ruling. He ended the segment with “Back to the podcast.” No sponsorship was mentioned in the audio, only the episode description.

The host had invested $24 million in Huel back in 2018. The existing financial agreement did not reward him for affiliate purchases, but the ASA called an ad an ad: “We considered that it should be obvious that any advertising feature was an ad and that information was delivered in a timely fashion.”

Huel argued that they had no editorial control over the podcast, and the ASA somewhat agreed. However, the ties between brand and host were strong enough to extend the blame. The full ruling is an interesting read. What exactly counts as an ad, and what counts as a clear signpost?

Different consumer protection laws aside, podcasters and brands in the US and elsewhere should take note of this dynamic. Both parties thought they’d done due diligence, no one is being charged over banana shakes, and the ASA does a great job of explaining what went wrong.

*The Adweek post may be paywalled, but the ruling has you covered.

How Does Tomorrow Sound? Bright Ideas for Podcasting’s Future

How will new tech shape our audio stories? Are interactive podcasts the future? How will content moderation evolve? The creative team at Podfly is venturing ahead of the curve. How Does Tomorrow Sound? will tackle blue-sky topics on the future of podcasting, from AI to social psychology.

Hosted by writer and teacher Neleigh Olson, this six-episode series draws on fresh ideas from leaders across the industry. Conversations project 10 years out on technology, audience demands, and cultural shifts, then work back to the question: What can we do today to prepare for what’s ahead?

How Does Tomorrow Sound? is for forward thinkers ready to adapt. When it comes to areas like AI, natural language processing, and spatial audio, understanding is our strongest asset. Launch is just ahead of PM22 next month – follow Podfly to hear what’s new.

What is the quality of your intent?

Here's what else is going on:

  • Wise words: “What I Wish I Had Known When I Started My Network” is August 18 at 1:00 pm ET on LinkedIn. Jam Street Media founder Matty Staudt will look back at contracts, content strategies, and more, plus what he learned while helping to start the iHeartPodcast Network. Free registration.
  • Empire State: Oprah Winfrey’s company is suing the team behind Oprahdemics for trademark infringement and “cybersquatting,” among other things. The popular Radiotopia podcast explores the Queen of Talk’s cultural impact over time. Fortunately they’re not trying to shut down the show.
  • Batter up: Apple is ramping up spending on original podcasts, report Ashley Carman and Lucas Shaw of Bloomberg. A new development deal with Futuro Studios is “a welcome sign for podcast producers seeking funding” at a time when giants like iHeart and Audacy are pulling back on audio.
  • Sunny side: Podcast listening peaks at midday in the US, according to Edison Research’s Share of Ear study. A segmented graph shows that 26% of listening time happens between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, followed morning with 25%. Just 3% of listening is during the night shift (2:00 to 6:00 am).
  • Editor’s note: We should have clarified yesterday that Spotify’s new home screen gives users the option to separate music and podcasts. We’re well aware of the distinction and didn’t mean to misreport.

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