More than a million podcasts now exist with millions more episodes and that is making show discovery a bigger challenge for the industry. To help consumers sort through that vast ocean of content, Gracenote, the Nielsen-owned audio recognition service, is setting its sights on podcasting. It is launching Gracenote Audio On Demand, a standardized and enriched dataset the company says will enable improved navigation, search and discovery of more than 37 million podcast episodes across all digital entertainment platforms that integrate Gracenote’s metadata. That list includes streaming music platforms, consumer electronics companies, cable and satellite TV companies, and automakers. Gracenote says those companies will now be able to create personalized listening experiences, and in the process help fans of podcasting and talk radio connect to a broader range of personalities and topics than in the past.
“A big challenge for podcast listeners today is the ability to easily navigate all the audio-on-demand content across different platforms and services,” said Greg Gentschev, SVP of Product Management, Gracenote Music and Auto at Nielsen. “This is due to the sheer volume of content and lack of descriptive metadata and identifiers used to power search and discovery algorithms. With Gracenote Audio On Demand, we are applying the same rigor, methodology and approach to podcasts that currently underpins next gen search and discovery of today’s TV shows, movies and music.”
Gracenote Audio On Demand will feature standardized podcast titles, descriptions and imagery across more than 900,000 podcasts. That will help in the search for hosts and guests. Each podcast will also be assigned a popularity score to help surface the most popular content. The top podcasts will also leverage more descriptive information. That includes Category Hierarchy, a feature that provides three levels of categories when classifying podcasts and episodes. Gracenote explains that will enable more “engaging and unique” discovery experiences. And in a nod toward using content to lead new listeners to podcasts, Gracenote Audio On Demand also features Celebrity Links. It allows someone to follow a celebrity they may be interested in across various content formats, providing a path for many into podcasting. Together, Gracenote says the features its new podcast-focused product includes will offer a universal search tool across platforms and allow for cross-media linking capabilities.
Machine-learning algorithms are mostly what will power Gracenote Audio On Demand, but the company says an editorial team will also be used to apply a detailed category classification to both podcast series and episodes to make it easier for consumers to find the specific topics they are interested in. That blend of humans and artificial learning being applied to on-demand audio is similar to how Gracenote powers recommendation algorithms for the digital entertainment providers of TV shows, movies, music and sports.
Nielsen bought Gracenote for $560 million in 2016 and the Emeryville, CA-based company’s expansion into podcasting is part of a larger embrace of on-demand audio by Nielsen. According to Nielsen Scarborough, the audience for podcasting has been growing by 20% on average for the last six years. At that rate, the ratings company predicts the audience for podcasting could double by 2023.