Advertisers take note as podcasts come of age

AFP
As radio fades in the new world of digital media, podcasting has become hot.
AFP

As radio fades in the new world of digital media, podcasting has become hot.

In less than 15 years, on-demand podcasts have become a key part of the media landscape that is luring advertisers to a market that is worth tens of millions of dollars and growing.

According to Edison Research, 124 million Americans listen to audio podcasts including 73 million on a monthly basis.

“Podcasts are now getting to the point where they sit alongside other forms of premium media like video and books and television and music,” said Matt Lieber, a co-founder of Gimlet Media, a major podcast producer.

“Now there are reviewers of podcasts. The Financial Times has a person on staff that reviews podcast. It’s almost like if you’re not listening to podcast you’re out of the loop.”

Podcasts are a natural choice for a generation accustomed to on-demand services like Netflix. Listeners are younger and better educated than the average radio listener, with more women in the mix, creating an important demographic for advertisers.

Podcast ad revenues doubled in 2017 to US$313 million, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) with the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

That is far less than the estimated US$14 billion in radio ad revenues for 2016, but podcasting is showing strong growth — likely to double again by 2020 according to the PwC/IAB report.

A study by New York University researchers found traditional AM/FM radio is rapidly losing ground to in-demand services, especially among younger audience, with listening by those 13-18 down by almost 50 percentage points between 2005 and 2016.

“Podcast sponsorship revenue is growing just like the audience is growing,” said Neal Carruth, general manager of podcasts for National Public Radio, a key player in podcasting.

“Large brand advertisers have become more interested in recent years. They’re very attracted to the age of the podcast audience, to the engagement of the podcast audience, to the intelligence, the education and the professional accomplishments of the podcast audience. It’s a very desirable audience.”


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