US Weekly

Podtrac has reissued its November ranking of the most listened-to podcasts after it says it discovered that one of the publishers it tracks was using an older version of a podcast player that didn’t comply with Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standards. The move means two shows under American Media’s US Weekly brand are no longer listed. The show Hot Hollywood had debuted in fifth place while sister podcast Watch With Us debuted at No. 19 when Podtrac initially published the November rankings last week.

In an explanation for the change, Podtrac says it was alerted via a Podnews story that American Media was using an older version of a Simplecast player. For Android smartphone users, this version of the player would automatically play the podcasts – without the user pressing play. Such auto plays are no longer allowed under the IAB’s V.2 standards adopted by the industry in December 2017. Four months ago, Podtrac announced it had secured IAB certification by demonstrating the download and listener numbers it publishes each month comply with the V.2 parameters.

Simplecast released an updated player in July and Podtrac says it has now scoured its database to see what other shows and publishers were using the now non-compliant version. “Other than this publisher, 0.1% of podcast downloads came from this same version of the player, and none of these came from the top 2,000 podcasts measured by Podtrac,” the company said Thursday. The older version of the Simplecast player has been added to Podtrac’s “blacklist” and the company says it has also notified the IAB Podcast Technical Working Group to do the same. “Going forward downloads from this player will not be included in Podtrac counts,” it pledged.

Questions about podcast measurement are already a sore spot for some advertisers and the last reissue by Podtrac—it earlier had to reissue the January publisher ranker—will do little to help.

Here is the updated Podtrac ranker of the top shows in November—