Podcast Upfronts: “Quarantine Listening Led to a Content Explosion for Podcasts!”

Last Week, IAB presented the Podcast UpFronts, a three-day virtual event featuring presentations from major podcast networks (Pandora, NPR, and iHeart) and podcast attribution companies (Podsites and AdSwizz).

Not surprisingly, podcast listenership grew in 2020, when podcasts were able to provide what movies and TV shows could not; new content. 2020 saw a spike in podcast content, audience size, and advertising opportunities.

Below are Media Works’ Key Takeaways: 

  • Celebrities have found another voice, outside of the movie theaters and into the speakers of people’s homes. From Seth Rogan’s new podcast with SXM Media to Ellen Pompeo’s new podcast with Cadence13, there’s a podcast for every fan. QCode, a podcast network with 40m monthly downloads, has a lineup of celebrity-hosted, cinematic, storytelling podcasts. With hosts such as Rami Malek, Demi Moore, and Mathew McConaughey.
  • ViacomCBS teams up with iHeartMedia. Viacom announced that they will add to their podcasting portfolio, with more than 20 new podcasts this year from BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Paramount, and Showtime. Viacom’s new partnership with iHeart Media will bring listeners new content from their favorite Nickelodeon franchises: Spongebob Squarepants and Avatar.
  • With 250M+ monthly downloads, 500 podcasts, 2 new podcast networks, and 3 new partnerships, iHeart is a podcast powerhouse. Their new podcast network The Black Effect, in partnership with Charlamagne tha God, aims to become the largest podcast publisher dedicated to black voices and listeners. MyCultura, a new network powered by Latinx producers and creators will have 30+ new podcasts by the end of 2021. New partnerships include technology podcasts from T Mobile, 18+ new podcasts from Shondaland, and 24 new NFL podcasts. With iHeartMedia’s recent acquisition of Triton, advertisers can utilize their targeting, analytic, and attribution capabilities.
  • With AdvertiseCast, the world of podcasting isn’t just for celebrities or large networks. AdvertiseCast opens the door to podcasting, allowing anyone with at least 5,000 listeners to monetize their podcasts on the AdvertiseCast marketplace. Advertisers can reach niche audiences with live reads from over 1500 podcasters, reaching 30M unique monthly listeners.

By the numbers:

  • NPR daily podcast listenership is up 12% year-over-year
  • Cumulus is the 4th largest publisher in the country with over 12.2M unique monthly listeners
  • Stitcher/Pandora podcasts reach ¼ of all podcast listeners in the United States
  • ESPN/ABC/National Geographic podcasts saw 700M+ downloads in 2020

IAB released their annual Podcast Revenue Report in conjunction with this event, their findings confirmed podcasts are growing exponentially, with ad revenue expected to hit $1B 2021 – a 41% year-over-year increase. It’s estimated that by 2024, 29% of audio advertising dollars will go to podcasts. 2021 is projected to see 117M+ podcast listeners, a 10.1% year-over-year increase. Usually, the ad opportunities and tracking follow the content boom. As the world of podcasting is rapidly growing, we look forward to seeing what’s to come in next year’s 2021 Podcast Upfronts.

This post was written by Katie Berger, Integrated Media Planner/Buyer.

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