Pandora is offering beta access to its Podcast Genome Project for select listeners on mobile devices. With a nod to the company’s original expertise, the Music Genome Project – which powers Pandora music streaming – the Podcast Genome Project is a cataloging system and discovery algorithm that uses a combination of technology and human curation to deliver personalized content recommendations. The new podcast discovery project was first announced at New York’s Advertising Week in October.
“It might feel like podcasts are ubiquitous, but 83% percent of Americans aren’t yet listening to podcasts on a weekly basis, and a majority of them report that’s because they simply don’t know where to start,” CEO Roger Lynch said. “Making podcasts – both individual episodes and series – easy to discover and simple to experience is how we plan to greatly grow podcast listening while simultaneously creating new and more sustainable ways to monetize them.”
The Podcast Genome Project evaluates content based on more than 1500 attributes – spanning MPAA ratings, timely and evergreen topics, production style, content type and host profile – and listener signals including thumbs, skips and replays. It also utilizes machine learning algorithms, natural language processing and collaborative filtering methods for listener preferences. These techniques are combined with Pandora’s in-house curation team to offer “episode-level podcast recommendations” that will evolve with the user.
“With the introduction of podcasts, listeners can now easily enjoy all of their audio interests – music, comedy, news, sports or politics – on Pandora, the streaming service that knows their individual listening habits the best,” added chief product officer Chris Phillips. “The Podcast Genome Project’s unique episode-level understanding of content knows exactly what podcast you’ll want to discover next and will serve it up through a seamless in-product experience that is uniquely personalized to each listener and will continue to grow with their tastes over time.”
For the launch of the Podcast Genome Project, Pandora has partnered with such publishers as APM, Gimlet, HeadGum, Libsyn, Maximum Fun, NPR, Parcast, PRX+PRI, reVolver, Slate, The New York Times, The Ramsey Network, The Ringer, WNYC Studios and Wondery. Pandora will continue to feature existing content including “Serial,” “This American Life” and Pandora’s original “Questlove Supreme.”