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  • Writer's pictureRanieri & Co.

The Latest Podcast News You Need to Know

What’s new in the world of podcasts? The industry continues to grow and diversify, with new and exciting deals, series and partnerships popping up every week. We’ve wrapped up the latest news headlines and what they mean for the industry to feed your strategy for this highly immersive channel. Find out why big brands are creating podcast series, what new clickable ad formats are available, which podcast won a Pulitzer prize, the latest from Facebook’s audio offering and which TV star has sold his broadcasting company for over $150 million.

Podcasting will be a $4 billion industry by 2024

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers released their annual joint report on the podcasting business, which predicted that the industry will generate $2 billion in revenue this year and $4 billion by 2024. This growth is not only due to the number of podcasts and the amount of time people spend listening to podcasts, it will also come from advances in advertising technology that allow advertisers to better target audiences and encourage them to spend more money.

Learn More: The Verge

Spotify launches clickable call to action cards for audio advertisers in AU

CTA cards debuted in the U.S. in January as clickable ads that appear during an ad break and show up later while the user is browsing on Spotify. They are now available in Australia. The streaming platform's tests show a 2x increase in site visits with call-to-action cards.

Pieter Manten, head of sales AUNZ at Spotify, said:

“With CTA Cards, we continue to build on the innovation available to the Australian market, as consumers can select the moment they want to be discovering and shopping on their own terms, which enhances their experience.”

Learn more: Media Week

American Girl launches new family-friendly podcast network

A toy brand launching podcasts? Considering the crux of Mattel’s American Girl brand (a line of 18 inch dolls that represent a variety of ethnicities, faiths, and social classes from different time periods throughout history) is storytelling, it makes perfect sense.

“Our research indicated that kids’ podcast listening (mainly in our target age range of six to 12s) grew quite a bit during the pandemic, and parents welcomed the non-screen interaction,” says Jamie Cygielman, American Girl’s GM and president. “As the familiarity and the popularity of podcasts continues to grow, we believe this is the perfect time to launch a network where we can bring more short fiction podcasts to life, along with other non-scripted, educational and informational podcasts for our listeners.”

Read More: Inside Radio

Conan O'Brian signs a $150m podcast deal

Conan O'Brien is selling his production company, Team Coco, and its network of 10 podcasts to SiriusXM in a deal sources say is worth $150 million. This includes the hit “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” which ranked 26th of all US podcasts in weekly listeners during the first quarter of 2022. Team Coco also includes shows like “Parks and Recollection,” a spinoff of the NBC show, and “Conan O’Brien Needs a Fan.” Collectively, the company boasts around 180 million downloads per year. O’Brien will continue to provide talent for 5 years as part of the deal.

Find out more: The Verge

Spotify brings back political ads

Spotify stopped allowing political ads on its network in 2020 but is slowly bringing back ads for candidates, political parties, PACs and elected officials in the U.S. “Following our pause of political ads in early 2020, we have spent the past two years strengthening and enhancing our processes, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” spokesperson Erin Styles said in a statement.

The platforms are offering advertisers the ability to target niche audiences and tap into AI-driven “contextual targeting,” which allows advertisers to place ads in podcasts when they are discussing issues relevant to their target audiences.

Find out more: Protocol

Facebook shuts down its podcast service

Just a year after launching its podcast service, Facebook is getting out of the business and ending its short-form audio platform, Soundbites. The only audio feature that will remain on the platform is Live Audio Rooms, which will be integrated into Facebook Live, giving users the option to broadcast with just audio instead of the usual audio and video. FB is said to have encouraged creators to utilise Reels instead, in line with Meta prioritising short-video projects above other initiatives, likely due to increasing competition from popular short-form video app TikTok.

Read more: Tech Crunch

Suave podcast wins Pulitzer prize

Futuro Media and PRX won the audio reporting Pulitzer for "Suave," a podcast that the judges called "a brutally honest and immersive profile of a man re-entering society after serving more than 30 years in prison."

Suave is a seven-part podcast produced by Maria Hinojosa, beat out competitors from NPR and NBC News to take home the Pulitzer Prize in Audio Reporting.

Find out more: Pulitzer

Top advertisers on podcasts April 2022

Chevrolet spent the most they ever have on podcasts during April, but BetterHelp again has topped the list of top spenders on podcast advertising. Magellan estimates the top 15 podcast advertisers invested a combined $35.49 million during April in the US.

BetterHelp, the online mental health care provider, grew its spending to an estimated $7.7 million during the month. BetterHelp ran ads on 675 different podcasts, a list longer than any other brand on Magellan’s monthly ranker -- with Comedy shows making up the biggest portion.

Chevrolet boosted its podcast budget to an estimated $638,000 during April in a milestone for the automaker. Magellan says it was the first time Chevrolet has ever spent more than $100,000 in a single month.

Read more: Inside Radio

The recent news around the industry shows how far podcasts have come as a media format, with the developments indicating further penetration and innovation. For more analysis, insights, and commentary on the growing podcast industry, sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter or feel free to contact us anytime.


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