Q&A with Panoply's CEO, Brendan Monaghan
September 17, 2018 · Updated September 30, 2018 · By James Cridland
After an announcement that Panoply was ceasing to make podcasts, to focus on their Megaphone platform, Podnews asked some questions over email. CEO Brendan Monaghan was kind enough to answer.
Could you explain the thinking behind the announcement?
Panoply has been operating separate businesses – content creation, and podcast technology and advertising services – since 2015. We realized that to build a truly thriving company we needed to narrow our focus and concentrate on the areas that give us the best opportunities to scale.
And although we’ve had a lot of success in content, both with traditional podcasts and branded programming, it became clear that the shows in our portfolio and the brilliant producers who make them could move to other homes. The technology side as well as the ad services business was where we saw the biggest opportunity for significant growth.
Tell me a little about Megaphone, and where you see the growth of that business going forward.
Megaphone is a suite of tools for podcasters and podcast businesses focused on publishing, monetization through ad insertion, analytics, and audience growth (coming soon). It’s both a CMS and cutting-edge ad server. Essentially, Megaphone creates tools to help publishers build audience and generate revenue making podcasts more accessible and easier to buy for advertisers.
As podcasting starts to expand beyond the traditional RSS feed, we see the biggest growth potential in helping creators distribute their content to more places and in more ways than they ever imagined possible, and to find more efficient ways for advertisers to buy spots in ways that mirror the rest of digital media so they can connect with the audiences they really want to reach.
Podcast hosts seem to be a commodity business. What's the magic sauce behind Megaphone? What does it do that others don't?
It may seem like a hosting service is simply a place to upload and serve your MP3s, but a good platform enhances a podcaster’s business in many more ways. It should distribute your show to as many consumption points as possible. It should give you detailed data that helps you make strategic decisions about who is listening, and who isn’t yet. It should help you grow your audience. It should save you time and allow you to focus on creating great shows. It should ensure you’re maximizing revenue. And it should anticipate where the industry is going, and create new features to help you go there.
One example of how we do this is our Megaphone Targeted Marketplace, the industry’s first and most accurate audience-targeting ad platform. It’s already bringing lots of new advertisers, primarily brands, into the medium for the first time, and it’s providing more advertising dollars to both big networks and smaller shows that don’t yet have the scale attract direct sales.
What happens to the new Panoply content that was announced recently?
We announced two big new shows at the IAB Upfronts last week, the scripted thriller Passenger List starring Kelly Marie Tran, and Broken Record from Malcolm Gladwell. Both shows will be going ahead.
Panoply is planning to launch Passenger List later this year, and we’re thrilled that such a wonderful show will be our last major release.
Broken Record will be moving to the new, as-yet-unnamed company being started by Malcolm and Jacob Weisberg. We’ll still be supporting them in various ways including hosting their shows on Megaphone, and we’re excited to hear what Malcolm does next.
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