Rhapsochord

The Washington Post’s Research, Experimentation and Development (RED) team has developed Rhapsochord, a dynamic ad insertion tool for podcasts that identifies the most appropriate places to include ads. It then automatically inserts them and sends the file to different podcast platforms. The goal: to make the process of putting ads in podcasts easier for publishers.

In its story about the new initiative, AdExchanger explains, “Inserting fresh ads into podcasts is challenging and time-consuming. An online article loads fresh ads every time a page loads. But in the podcasting world, readers download content and ads together, which means the two must be stitched together beforehand. Because of this challenge, many older podcasts run with no ads or stale ones, even as popular shows amass thousands to millions of downloads long after their release.”

And thus, Rhapsochord, which automatically identifies pre-roll, midroll and post-roll spots, inserts ads and updates the files, so that producers do not have to manually re-edit a podcast. The technology also stores metadata about each podcast episode so that advertisers can buy based on topics such as politics, finance or history, AdExchanger reports.

Aram Zucker-Scharff, ad engineering director for RED, said that Rhapsochord also opens up new podcast inventory. While advertisers can still buy podcast ads directly through salespeople, Rhapsochord’s API is a step toward enabling a self-serve podcast ads platform or programmatic audio. “Because we built an automated system, anyone who complies with the ads API standard could serve ads into the system, whether it’s a self-serve platform or an integration with a programmatic platform,” he says.

The Washington Post is testing out Rhapsochord on one of its own podcasts, “The Daily 202’s Big Idea.” It will then expand to other Post podcasts.

The tech complies with IAB standards for counting downloads of podcasts – the metric many advertisers use when buying.