Ad insertion by player apps

Podcast player apps could offer revenue to podcast producers through their own ad programs. If a timeline specifies ad placement regions, the app can insert ads on the fly.

Player apps are in a unique position to offer relevant ads to listeners. Near an ice cream shop as you are listening? Is it sunny out where you are? Your phone knows both of these things, so howzabout a banana split at a discount? Your phone knows if you are in a car, walking or jogging. It knows whether you are waking up or going to bed. It knows whether you are a regular listener or trying the podcast for the first time. It knows about your other podcast subscriptions. All of this can be used to decide what ad to insert.

How it would work

Right now, dynamic ad insertion can only be done by the media host, in this old fashioned way:

But, if we have ad locations defined with Timeline Notation, the player app could insert or replace ads on the fly.

Player app makers could have their own ad networks available to podcast publishers. Player apps have a lot more information to decide what ad to insert. Let's compare:

Media host knows these things:
  • Device type
  • Rough geography (What you can extrapolate from IP, possibly just down to the city)
  • Time of download
Player app knows these things:
  • Device type
  • Very specific geography
  • Listening history
  • Time of day you are listening
  • Whether you are sitting, walking, running or driving
  • Other podcasts you subscribe to
  • Whether you’ve responded to similar ads before, not just on the show you are listening to now but on any show

Podcast producers could release their episodes with a default ad. The default ad's position would be noted on the Timeline so that participating podcast apps could replace that ad with a more relevant one.