In this podcast listening comprehension exercise, students will hear a program from the Wall Street Journal. The suggested level for this is CEFR English level B2.2 and above. This level corresponds to upper-intermediate or advanced English learner level. We would also encourage lower B levels to have a go as well, as podcast listening comprehension exercises are good for generally improving business English. You will probably need to do a bit more vocabulary work and prediscussion before the exercise.

Prepare for the podcast listening comprehension.

  1. How do you feel about the use of tracking cookies? Do they have any benefits for end-users?
  2. Do you currently take any action to avoid or restrict the amount of tracking that firms do?

Keywords and phrases

Briefing: Information that is given before something happens. Examples

Rollout: Make something available for the first time. Examples

Vocal opponent: Someone who strongly objects to something.

Go head-to-head: Be in direct competition with another person or team. Examples

Caught in the crossfire: Be affected in a situation where others are arguing. Examples

Vehemently: Strongly. Pronunciation and examples

Take the brunt: Be hit the hardest. Examples

Behemoth: Something that is very large. Examples

Collective bargaining: When many people come together to negotiate with a larger concern. Example

Overblown: Exaggerating. Examples

Attribute /attribution: Saying something is the result of a particular person or thing. Examples

Stand your ground: Refuse to give up. Examples

Entrench: Firmly establish something so that it cannot be changed. Examples

Walled garden: An online environment that is closed to outside competitors.

Link to the podcast

Here is the link to the podcast
There is a news roundup in the first couple of minutes. Listen to this if you want, but the questions will be about the main story: Small Businesses Shift Ad Strategies Ahead of Apple iOS Update.

Listening Comprehension Questions

  1. What is Apple changing in the upcoming IOS update that affects apps?
  1. According to Facebook, why is tracking users’ browsing habits beneficial for the users?
  1. What is a “lookalike audience” and how does it work?
  1. Why do small businesses like these kinds of targeting tools?
  1. Describe the effect that Apple’s changes will probably have on advertising campaigns?
  1. What is John Merris’s, the Solar Stove CEO, main objection to Apple’s decision? What does he believe should be the solution to privacy concerns?
  1. How are small businesses adapting to the new situation?
  1. If the return on advertising drops, what do small businesses do?
  1. How is Apple responding to some of the concerns?
  1. What are some possible long-term consequences of this policy change?