Weekly Roundup: Dollar signs

Advertising watch

A lot of developments in the podcasting space. The bottom line? The players are positioning themselves to take advantage of the eventual goldrush, which they believe is a foregone conclusion. Roundup #17. 

jerry maguire money GIF

Swedish podcast platform Acast announced a partnership with A Million Ads to deliver personalized ads. Using data such as time, weather, device type and more, A Million Ads can churn out thousands of variants of the same creative to target users. 

The new partnership launched a new campaign for British virtual mobile network iD Mobile. Based on data points such as location and listening history, Acast was able to create 23,100 variation of the same ad. That’s bloody something, isn’t it? 

At this point, I can’t help but think of this article by Peter Kafka, senior editor at Recode and host of the Recode Media podcast.

Don’t tell anyone, but one of the reasons podcasts are fun to listen to is because the podcast ad business is so tiny. 

Programmatic advertising, in spite of concerns raised by numerous industry bigwigs, is here to stay. That said, we are already seeing bad dynamically inserted ads, long ad filled show openings, creepy ads by harmful brands and so on. But, evolution, I guess, is always messy! 

Acast is the go-to podcast monetization platform in the UK alongside Audioboom, which has had its fair shares of troubles in the recent past. The company had raised $19.5 million in September 2017 to fuel its international expansion. Adobe had also announced a partnership with A Million Ads in October 2018 to offer its capabilities as part of Adobe Advertising Cloud. 

Another hurrah? 

Global, the UK based radio broadcaster is adding podcasts to its Global Player app. A slate of 1500 curated podcasts will be available on the app initially. Global also owns DAX, which it claims to be the largest audio advertising platform in the world. 

Digiday ran a piece about this development. Here’s an excerpt which just about sums up the reason for this radio giant to leverage podcasts:

With podcasts that Global has commercial relationships with the publishers it can monetize the content through Dax, its digital audio ad platform. Dax makes it easy to monetize U.K. audiences on U.S. podcasts, which tend to advertise DTC brands like food delivery kits or mattresses that don’t ship overseas.


Seems like a smart move to leverage podcasts to attract prospective advertisers.

DAX also partnered with podtech (podcast technology) platform Voxnest to provide a one stop solution, right from creating content to monetizing it in the UK. Voxnest owns Spreaker, the popular podcasting platform. 

Continuing with the dirty talk about programmatic, here’s an excerpt from a branded (paid) post on Folio Magazine featuring a Q&A with Joel Withrow, director of product at Panoply Media: 

Perhaps the biggest shift we’ve seen, though, is in the precision of targeting that advertisers can now access in podcasting. For years, sales teams have been educating the market about the limitations of podcasts: ‘You can’t target demographically; you can’t measure conversions; you can’t run attribution studies.’ With Panoply’s investment in audio ad tech, we’re now flipping all of that on its head.

Last year, we saw dozens of brands jump into the space to test our demographic and intent-based targeting. Many have re-upped for additional campaigns, which points to significant growth in 2019—especially as other platforms catch up and begin offering similar capabilities. Next year, I expect we’ll also see new ad networks forming between publishers to provide significant reach to those more narrowly targeted budgets.

This ought to be good. By the way, if you want a low-down of the state of programmatic, this piece on the e-Marketer is really good. 

Despite this progress, spend on programmatic audio is minuscule compared to programmatic display, video and native.

What has limited programmatic audio’s growth thus far is that digital audio advertising as a whole, whether it is sold directly or programmatically, hasn’t grown at a commensurate rate with the amount of time users spend with digital audio content. 


The Verge published a feature by Ashley Carmen chronicling the whole mess with Apple iTunes podcast charts. This is based on the experiences of John Perotti, a production manager at WBUR who paid $5 dollars to get his podcast higher on the iTunes charts. 

The latest episode of The Darknet Diaries podcast is a deep-dive on the issue.

The podcast charts still mean something, especially to smaller shows that use it to prove themselves. But it seems that pretty soon — maybe even now — they won’t matter much at all.

Panoply published this piece which analyses if iTunes podcasts ratings actually matter. 

A podcast advertising saga

If you wanted to advertise your blog, for example, all you have to do is to setup a Google ads account and a Facebook account. The Google ad network and Facebook quite literally can help you target anyone on the planet from Eskimos to Indians who like Vanilla Ice. 

Once you have Google ads and Facebook accounts, the process of creating and running a promotion is very straightforward. But podcast advertising today is anything but. There is no Google or Facebook for podcast advertising. It is time consuming, tedious, and requires your attention every step of the way.

Here’s a fascinating account by Rebekah Bek on what takes to advertise on podcasts. 

But how do I measure?

Any post about podcast advertising is incomplete without a mention about the lack of measurement standards in podcasting. Here’s this week’s customary mention. In this column, Steven Kritzman SVP of advertising sales for Pandora writes about the need for podcasting to avoid the fate of music streaming. 


Ok, by now you’d have read about the new Sponsorships feature on Anchor, the podcasting platform. Here’s a brief anway, it kinda works a bit like Tinder. If you have a podcast on Anchor, you turn on the Sponshorhsips feature and Anchor will match you with potential sponsors. Once you’ve found a match and if you accept it, you’ll have to record the ad and place it in the show and you’ll get paid for each listen. In return, the company takes a 30% cut. Seems pretty straightforward and the feature is limited only to the US. Although, it’s probably an easy guess that the company wants to do this word over. 

The company now powers, 1 in 3 new podcasts according to it’s CEO. 

Oh and:

Here’s a clip from November 15th of Michael Mignano, CEO of Anchor speaking to Josh Machiz of Nasdaq:


In the previous issues, I’ve often referenced the troubles of digital publishers. Well, here’s another story. Mic, the millennial focussed publisher which had raised $60 million and was at one point valued at $111 million was acquired by Bustle Digital Group for $5 million. 


The entire editorial staff except Jake Horowitz, the co-founder was laid off. Here’s a letter from publisher Cory Haik:

What do these morose tidings have to do with podcasting you ask? Well, digital news publishers are facing an existential crisis. A lot of them have perished and a lot of them will in the future. Ad-funded models are not the solution and not everyone is in a position or suited to launch subscriptions. This in a way applies to podcasting as well. A vast majority of the ad revenues accrue to the top publishers. Shows with small followings don’t pop up on the radar of advertisers and not everyone is in a position to rely on the patronage of listeners. Now, the caveats: advertising is still a really small chunk and the process itself is immature given issues with measurement and the lack of variety in ad formats. 

What’s the solution? I don’t know! But I do know that there is a distinct possibility that we may very well have the same conversation about podcasts down the line. 


Castro, the popular podcast app was acquired by Tiny last week. Castro will be part of an insane portfolio that Tiny holds, here are some of the big ones: 

Looks like the company has found a really good partner to fuel it’s growth. 

The daily news podcast battles are heating up. “Post Reports,” the new daily news podcast by The Washington Post will air on December 3rd. Each episode will be 20 minutes long and will be published at 5 PM. The Guardian also launched its daily news podcast Today In Focus recently.

Leon Neyfakh, the host of the hot podcast Slow Burn announced on Twitter that he is leaving Slate to start his own venture. He also announced that his team is working on a new show titled “FIASCO,” a show about why history played out the way it did. 

A New York Times profile of Guy Raz, the host of How I Built This.

Dirty John, the TV adaption of the podcast aired to some mixed reviews. Expectations were high after the success of “Homecoming,” again based on the podcast of the same name. Dirty John boasts of a stellar cast with Eric Bana and Connie Britton in lead roles. 

These two shows are that first to air in an ever-growing list of podcast to TV/movie adaptations. Alison Herman, over at The Ringer surgically dissected the podcast to TV trend.  

The prison sentence of Earlonne Woods, the co-host of the popular podcast “Ear Hustle was commuted last week by Jerry Brown, the governor of California. 

Ira’s word:

Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, host of My Favorite Murder have officially launched their podcast network, Exactly Right.

Sean Woods, the Deputy Editor of Rolling Stone in conversation with Malcolm Gladwell.

Piqd, a new podcast discovery platform. 

Posted by Bhuvanesh

A podcast junkie on a mission to make podcasts great.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *