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At the urging of the IAB Tech Lab, nearly five dozen podcast companies will remove downloads associated with the Apple Watch beginning Oct. 1. The move comes after the Interactive Advertising Bureau team confirmed that users of the smart watch trigger automatic podcast downloads and results in “inflated” figures.

“In order to reflect accurate download counts initiated by valid podcast listeners, it is necessary to filter out duplicative automatic downloads coming from Apple Watch devices,” said Mike Madden, IAB Tech Lab Director of Product Management. In an advisory to the industry he said Apple Watch is responsible for a small percent of podcast downloads overall. “Though the outcome of filtering Apple Watch devices may result in the appearance of a reduced audience size and fewer podcast downloads, the filtered metrics are in fact more representative of actual human listeners,” he said.

Podcasters had raised concerns about Apple’s watchOS Podcasts app, telling the IAB that downloads to an Apple Watch device appeared to be duplicating downloads to a user’s iPhone after the watch syncs with the phone. Madden said members of the IAB Tech Lab’s Podcast Technical Working Group then investigated further and discovered the majority of watchOS downloads are automated downloads and not user initiated. “This outcome could result in significantly inflated reporting of downloads and listeners,” he said.

The IAB Tech Lab’s participating members have agreed that by Oct. 1 they will begin completely filtering out all watchOS downloads altogether when calculating a show or platform’s unique download or listener numbers. “Traffic from the Apple Watch will no longer be counted toward any totals reported for the podcasting industry,” said Madden.

The removal of Apple Watch number may prove to be temporary. The IAB Tech Lab has reached out to the tech titan to try to work out a new way to help differentiate between automatic downloads and valid downloads coming from Apple Watch devices. No changes have occurred yet, but if or when they do Madden said the IAB Tech Lab may revise or retractits policy change.

The companies making the change include: 

  • ACAST

  • AdGear

  • AdLarge Media

  • Adswizz

  • Adzerk

  • Agrahyah Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

  • Art19

  • Audible.com

  • Audion

  • Audit Bureau of Circulations UK

  • BARC India

  • BlogTalkRadio

  • CBS Interactive

  • Chartable, Inc.

  • Cox Media Group

  • Cyber Communications Inc.

  • DAX U.S.

  • Digital Advertising Consortium Inc.

  • Digitas LBI

  • Display.io

  • DoubleVerify

  • EmpireStreaming

  • ESPN

  • Experian Marketing Services

  • Google

  • Hearst

  • IAB Russia

  • IAB Tech Lab

  • iHeartMedia

  • Instinctive

  • Libsyn

  • Lotame Solutions

  • Megaphone

  • Midroll Media

  • National Public Media

  • New York Public Radio

  • Nielsen

  • Oracle Data Cloud

  • Pandora

  • PodcastOne

  • Podtrac

  • Protected Media

  • Publicis Media

  • RawVoice

  • Slate

  • Sony Music Entertainment

  • Spotify

  • Terragon Group

  • The Trade Desk

  • TripleLift

  • Triton Digital

  • Unruly

  • Voxnest, Inc.

  • Westwood One

  • WideOrbit

  • Wondery

  • Yomedia Network