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Understanding the Impact of Platform Privacy Restrictions in the Podcast Marketplace

The IAB Tech Lab Podcast Technical working group has released guidance on how podcast platform privacy restrictions impact content creation and related advertising business models with recommendations on how the community can work together to address the situation.

When Apple released the beta version of its Private Relay feature for iCloud+ users last year, podcast businesses immediately saw the potential impacts this could have on their businesses. While the podcast community is supportive of the need to respect user privacy, they find themselves in an awkward position when their already limited access to data about their downloaded content becomes more scarce. 

IAB Tech Lab members with a stake in podcasting began discussing these issues and deliberating on proposed solutions. The Podcast Technical Working Group gathered to clearly understand and define the issue, its impacts, and how they can address any complications arising from large technology platforms implementing privacy protection measures within their systems that the podcast community rely on.

Download the Guidance Now

What’s the big deal?

Podcast creators, networks, and hosting and monetization platforms all use data to drive business. Data is used to inform what content to create, where to distribute it, how to comply with certain regional laws, how to fight bad actors and fraudulent advertising in the system, and of course, respect user privacy preferences.

The biggest irony about respecting user privacy is that data about user preferences is needed to respect those preferences as well as to comply with any privacy laws for regions in which the user is based. Given the unique nature of podcast content and the way it is consumed (downloaded with no client-side confirmation), the data about those downloads can only be provided by the device or app where the content was downloaded (server-side).

Podcast content creators seldom have direct relationships with the platforms that distribute their content, which leaves them with very limited data that distribution platforms provide about their downloaded podcasts.

What now?

By developing guidance for the podcast community on communicating impacts and strategies on privacy restrictions, the working group is taking the next steps to invite collaboration on technical solutions that would both enable data sharing with player apps that sustains podcast businesses while also respecting user privacy preferences.

Want to join us? 


Katie Stroud
Senior Product Manager
IAB Tech Lab