Earlier this month, NPR debuted its new Remote Audio Data system – referred to as RAD – that aims to offer new types of podcast analytics data to advertisers and podcast creators. The Verge is out today with an overview of the RAD standard, including how Apple is already involved.
NPR confirmed to The Verge that Apple employees offered feedback on the RAD standard, but it’s unclear as to the extent of the company’s involvement. Further, it’s unknown if that feedback was provided in any sort of official capacity.
NPR did confirm to The Verge, however, that Apple employees offered their feedback on the RAD protocol, so Apple’s team knows it exists and has had a hand in its development
Apple’s Podcasts app is by far the biggest podcasting application in use. This means that if NPR wants its RAD standard to gain traction, it needs to get Apple on board. Currently, in the podcast world, advertisers rely on download numbers to determine how valuable an ad spot is for a specific show. NPR’s RAD platform, however, aims to offer additional analytical data to advertisers.
Last year, Apple debuted its new Podcast Analytics platform to show additional data on user listening habits, but with a heavy focus on privacy and not to the extent of NPR’s RAD protocol. What NPR wants to do is inert specific tags into episodes to help better track ad performance:
NPR’s potential solution, RAD, requires podcasters to code specific tags into their episodes that can detect when listeners have reached a certain point in a show, like an advertiser segment. That information is then sent back to the podcast’s creator, letting them know whether certain ads were actually reached.
NPR says that RAD “doesn’t provide personally identifiable data to podcasters or advertisers,” but there are still obvious privacy concerns with such a feature. Podcasters and developers such as Marco Arment have voiced opposition to the idea, arguing that the type of data provided by RAD isn’t useful, especially with the privacy trade-offs in mind.
The fate of NPR’s RAD standard remains unclear, but its success or failure depends largely on Apple’s involvement. At the very least, if Apple is involved in an official capacity, we can at least hope there will be a heavy focus on privacy.