Welcome Marcy!

We are thrilled to announce that Marcy McKee has joined us as a Partner. Marcy has been an IT executive for 20+ years working in a variety of CTO and CIO-level roles for public and privately held global companies such as Socius, Heffernan Insurance Brokers, JUUL, Finelite, Nanometrics, Captaris, Vulcan, and Experience Music Project. Her expertise includes: 

  • Global Enterprise IT strategic planning and architecture
  • Cybersecurity, planning
  • Strategic planning and execution for spinoffs, carve-outs, and startups
  • Manufacturing and ERP systems
  • Datacenter builds and maintenance
  • Cloud services
  • Infrastructure updates
  • IT and PMO organizations

She serves multiple industries including manufacturing, software, insurance, and finance. Please reach out to her through LinkedIn

Transeo Partners covers an expanding range of services helping businesses operate and scale, whether by filling temporary resource gaps or by providing ongoing strategic guidance. Success for us means helping our customers achieve their goals. To make that happen, we bring our breadth of experience, passion, and productivity to all engagements. We look forward to making a difference to your business soon.

We look forward to brighter days in 2021.

Jeff

Podcasting. As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

  • 2001 – Apple releases the iPod
  • 2007 – Apple releases the iPhone
  • 2014 – The hit podcast Serial reaches millions of listeners
  • 2018 – Spotify acquires Gimlet Media and Anchor for about $340M

Fourteen years after the initial launch of podcasting, Apple has finally vowed to improve by funding original content, providing analytics (which it started in early 2018), and elevating podcasting to the coveted status of TV and Music. The IAB has also released its 2.0 guidelines for measurement and metrics to help standardization. Is this the break-out that podcasting-as-revenue-generator has been waiting for?  

In 2007, I left Yahoo! after managing a suite of multimedia products, including a beta branded Yahoo! Podcasting, and joined a podcast advertising technology start-up called Podbridge (subsequently rebranded to VoloMedia). Podcasting was being heralded as a new frontier for digital advertising given the impressive list of brands making podcasts available for free through iTunes, including NBC, MSNBC, ESPN, and NPR. Media companies were essentially re-packaging their previously aired TV or radio programs into an RSS feed and making it available for download and offline consumption on your iPod (pre-iPhone) or RSS-capable device, an economical way to achieve episode longevity and gain additional reach. Market researchers, including Edison Research, noted that podcasting offered a growth market and a very captive audience for advertisers, as listeners were spending more time with podcasts as compared to traditional radio or, at the time, online video. The Association for Downloadable Media even colonized (and has since decolonized…). Yet, in parallel, the streaming market was powering ahead with the success of YouTube and its $1.6B acquisition by Google. Apple wasn’t helping the Podcasting cause by burying the content in its ever-clunky iTunes, offering very limited (if any) metrics and advertising opportunities. Many tech companies that had been funded to capitalize on the emerging podcasting trend, including VoloMedia, either shut down, sold for much less than expected, or significantly trimmed staff to maintain operations. 

Despite the lack of investment and attention, podcasting has continued to grow, albeit largely in the background. Smartphones and the incredible ecosystem make content more and more accessible. Broadband’s progress, including wireless speeds, has been a huge contributor to wide access. 5G holds even more promise. This connectivity wave has turbocharged content mobility through markets such as wearables and automobiles, where a lot of podcast listening occurs.

Investors are taking notice. In 2018, VCs poured in over $200M into podcasting businesses. Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) is forecasting 30%+ advertising revenue growth from $600M in 2018 to $1.6B in 2022, this following 50%+ growth from 2017-2018. Monthly listeners have grown from 23M in 2013 to over 78M in 2018 with the 18-34 demographic leading the growth. Edison states that “85% of people who listen to podcasts, listen to the end,” and the average listener listens to up to five podcasts per week. 

These numbers have reignited advertising interest, especially when evaluated and compared to spend on traditional Radio. A 2017 study by Podcast distributor Audioboom found that “68 percent of podcast listeners had reduced the time they spent listening to broadcast radio in favor of podcasts.” PwC cited this research but was careful to note that there is a lack of evidence suggesting podcasting is actually, today, taking advertising dollars away from broadcast radio. 

According to PwC, traditional US Radio advertising revenue was $15.9B in 2018, essentially flat to slightly down from 2017. They forecast the same $15.9B number in 2019, then again about the same number in 2020. This lack of growth might be due to the same misconception that the TV folks suffered from when the concept of Internet delivery (now OTT) surfaced. TV folks got themselves all worked up about preserving their “cable and broadcast” economics forgetting that the viewers care more about the content than they do the delivery method. Cue the rise of Netflix, and the subscriber decline at ESPN. Radio has been stuck in a rut for a while, and Podcasting represents a growth path even though podcast advertising is still less than 2% of radio advertising. Although in 2013, YouTube’s video ad revenue was just under 4% of cable and broadcast.

Speaking of 2013, remember Jeff Zucker’s quote that year when asked about online video’s impact?  Jeff was then the head of NBC Universal and said that the media industry should be careful not to “end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies.” At the time, online video threatened the $70B+ cable and broadcast business. Well, this time, it’s Radio’s turn. Since Radio is not as economically healthy as TV was back then, maybe the incumbents will actually embrace and extend this movement as opposed to trying to kill it. Another reason podcast growth should continue, and continue less encumbered. 

Podcast investment is now about the content, and specifically original content. Not a week goes by without a celebrity launching a podcast given the low cost of entry and access to a growing audience within their target demographic. This low cost of entry encourages many non-celebrities and companies to jump is as well. Apple reports over 650,000 shows with more than 20 million episodes available as podcasts on iTunes. Last month, the NY Times asked, “Have we hit peak podcast?” in a much discussed article, suggesting that we, as consumers, are ready to be more discerning. Just because you can podcast, doesn’t mean you should. What it does mean is that content has to be really good to survive.

With this vast amount of content, podcast technology start-ups have also secured funding, albeit on a more limited basis than their content-focused counterparts. Production, delivery, monetization, and analytics require underlying tech (just pitch yourself as “Podcast AI,” and the funding should start flowing!). Regarding content delivery and discovery, RSS might be on its way out. As an example, all podcasts on Pandora are actually content streams, as opposed to downloads. This may not matter much so long as listeners can readily find and discover content and internet connectivity is reliable (the download is useful when connectivity is scarce — the anytime, anywhere value proposition). Google recently announced its search engine will surface individual podcast episodes (if published using RSS, Google will automatically index) and Google Assistant will allow users to ask for the content, which certainly helps discovery. And Apple continues to leverage RSS, and as long as they are using the feed format, it will survive. 

The key technology challenge is the same today as it was in 2007, which is advertising metrics. Host-read ads (or read-outs) are still the most effective and popular ad unit followed by brand awareness and direct response. Measurement of performance, however, remains elusive. Apple is certainly helping, but the metrics provided are listener-based for now. Other options include NPRs Remote Audio Data (open-source), Podtrac (founded in 2005), and a recently launched analytics dashboard from Spotify.

The IAB is helping with its standards, but it remains difficult for advertisers to understand performance, which would really turbocharge podcasting.

Yogi was right, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

Jeff

Building the Business Episode 1: How We Got Started

Getting startedWelcome to our first podcast!  We’re approaching two years in business at Transeo Partners, and took a few moments to step back and reflect on how we came together to get things up and running.

This is the first in a series of our “Building the Business” podcasts, in which we’ll be sharing both the hits and the strikeouts (it is baseball playoff season, after all), that we’ve experienced so far, and how they are helping to shape our approach moving forward.

It’s a quick listen — about 11 minutes — so take it for a spin, and let us know what you think.

— Jeff & Emma

Little League Lessons of Defeat & Resiliency

We came close. We played tough. We won out over every team but one. We probably fit most of the traditional runner-up type sports’ clichés. But in the immortal words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” And I’m good with that.

The Little League baseball team that my son played on and I coached made it to the Majors’ division championship game in June, after a 17-game season and playoffs in which we won three games in seven days. In the championship final, our team was up 5-3 in the bottom of the last inning, with 2 outs. One walk and a couple of fielding errors later, and we had lost it all.

The kids – especially my son who was pitching – and fans were in disbelief, visibly shaken by what felt like our entire season having slipped away in just a couple of minutes. In our traditional post-game regroup with coaches and players, we talked about how awesome it was to make it to the championship game, which perhaps in the moment fell on deaf ears, but also about resiliency. Knowing this would hurt for a bit, we wanted the kids to hear that it’s okay to be upset in the moment, and to think about the loss. But at some point soon, it’s important to take the lessons learned and think about what’s next.

The next day, I shared some of my own athletic and business losses with my son. You may think it’s as good as done or won, and then poof, it crumbles. But the thing is, it’s usually not “poof.” There is almost always some underlying issue that can no longer hide. If there’s a weakness, it will be exposed in those critical moments, whether it’s in sports or in business. Our baseball team had that underlying issue: our defense. All season, we led the league in runs scored, but also in runs allowed. We recognized the problem during the season, and spent hours practicing defense. We improved, but not enough.

So what do we take from this? The power of resiliency. I’ve talked before about how, if you’ve instilled and practiced your fundamentals and coached to the growth mindset, the team (or the individual) will handle adversity and recover. And we did. Many from our Little League team also play together on a summer club baseball team. Not surprisingly, we run a lot of defensive drills in practice. And sure enough, in a tournament game just two weeks later, we were up by a run in the last inning with 2 outs, a runner on 3rd and my son on the mound. Kids, parents, coaches (myself included) were having angst-ridden flashbacks! But this time, we made a solid defensive play and closed it out for the win. The players showed their resiliency and maturity in the situation, not falling apart. I asked my son after the game what was going through his mind, and he said he was determined to not let it end the same way the championship game had. He didn’t like how that had felt.

If you have a chance to coach or be involved in youth sports, I highly recommend it, especially if your kids play. For me, it’s been about getting to know each other better, seeing how we all deal with the highs and the lows, and about shared experiences. It’s been amazing to see the kids grow, improve and develop their own belief in values like resiliency. Hopefully these early experiences get them ready for whatever comes at them down the road, and the belief that whether it’s a success or a defeat, they can learn something from it and keep moving right along.

— Jeff

New Partner, Continued Growth

In what feels like the blink of an eye, Transeo Partners has now been in business for over a year. We have had a variety of engagements ranging from operating as interim CEOs, CMOs, CROs to joining boards to recruiting to developing go-to-market strategies to building compensation plans to launching entirely new demand gen programs. The common thread? A love of what we do and a passion for learning something new each time.

Marvin Wenger
Marvin Wenger

This approach is leading to our own growth, and we are delighted to announce the addition of a new partner to our ranks, Marvin Wenger. Marvin brings more than 30 years of global CEO, COO and Sales leadership to Transeo Partners. Part of what makes Marvin a great fit is that he expands our breadth of industry experience by adding electronics, contract manufacturing, supply chain and maintenance solutions markets to our portfolio. The other part lies in his attitude towards client engagements. He is a mentor. He is a team builder. He is a believer in sharing what he has learned, where he has made mistakes, where he has succeeded, and as a result, helping others see success faster.

With Marvin’s addition to the team, Transeo Partners’ growth will accelerate at an even faster pace, with each of us bringing an enthusiasm for mentoring others, talking through the hard truths and offering a guiding light as our clients chart their own courses. While we spend a lot of our time figuring out strategies, building models, analyzing situations, making recommendations and executing programs – the opportunity to coach as we go is what drives us, what fulfills us.

Please join us in welcoming Marvin to the Transeo Partners team. Year 2 is off to a great start, and we look forward to sharing more about our journey as we go!

— Jeff, Emma & Paul