If you tuned in to IAB’s Podcast Upfront this year, you might have heard host Francesca Ramsay encourage media buyers to visit the Upfront Marketplace following presentations in order to revisit the programs presenters shared, but also to act on raised interests and interact with proposals for upcoming podcast programming.
The Podcast Upfront kicked off Wednesday, Sept. 9 and ran until Friday, Sept. 11 via a livestream on the IAB’s website. Presentations included some of the biggest names in podcasting, such as Dax Shephard and Monica Padman of PMM’s “Armchair Expert,” Michael Barbaro from New York Times’s “The Daily,” Malcolm Gladwell of Pushkin Media and “Revisionist History,” and many other top-charted programs. Yet-to-be-released programs were also announced, Kara Swisher’s new opinion podcast with The New York Times, “Sway,” being one.
Of the event presenters, BrandVerge is hosting 14 profiles and 112 exclusive proposals on the Podcast Upfront Marketplace. For a full list of Podcast Upfront publishers on the marketplace, read below.
The first presenter of the virtual conference and one of the most virtually recognizable audio publishers in the U.S., NPR shared that it has an audience of 34 million listeners across all of its digital platforms and eight of the top 20 podcasts in the country. This digital audience converges on either NPR.org, the NPR One app or its podcasts. Under its umbrella, NPR presents a range of verticals, including news, music, finance, science, pop culture, politics, history, comedy and childrens’ programming. It announced that in partnership with its popular radio show “All Things Considered,” NPR will be releasing a new podcast titled “Consider This,” aimed at equipping listeners with the news they need to know for the day and the context around it.
Cadence13 in partnership with Entercom and Pineapple Street Studios announced a host of programs – “Yang Speaks” with Andrew Yang, “Anything Goes” with Emma Chamberlain and, new to the docket, “Charli and Dixie: 2 Chix” among them.
Midroll (A Stitcher Company)
Stitcher’s chief revenue officer, Sarah Van Mosel, walked the audience through Stitcher and its “sales arm,” Midroll.
“We want to put some empirical data behind our claims of being the biggest,” Van Mosel said. “According to Edison Research, Stitcher reaches 22% of the U.S. podcast audience with our shows … According to Magellan, Stitcher ran more unique brands in ad campaigns in the first half of 2020 than anyone else.”
Stitcher provides brands with a range of product offerings that includes custom segments, custom episodes, custom series, host-read ads, announcer-read ads and programmatic buys.
It also offers a host of popular shows, including “Office Ladies” hosted by “The Office” stars Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, “Literally! with Rob Lowe,” “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Podcast.”
Forever Dog Productions
Forever Dog Productions amplifies “voices that push culture forward.” Co-founders Brett Boham, Joe Cilio and Alex Ramsey reported that Forever Dog has “produced over 50 podcasts that have been downloaded over 70 million times worldwide.” Its main verticals are female voices, black voices, millennial male and LGBTQ+.
Known for character-driven stories, Wondery attracts an average of more than 150 million monthly listeners with 27 number one hit programs such as true crime shows “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death.” In production is “Joe Exotic: Tiger King” based off of the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King.”
iHeart Media is known for a host of programs, “Red Table Talk” and “Fake Doctors Real Friends” among them. The production company deems itself a “production powerhouse” with a “presence in 150 plus markets across the U.S.” During the presentation, a partnership with Charlamagne tha God was announced to create the Black Effect Podcast Network.
American Public Media
Also referred to as APM Studios, American Public Media boasts business news, investigative journalism, kids and family programs and personality-driven shows as its verticals. Julie Andrews presented on behalf of her show “Julie’s Library” where, together with her daughter and children’s author Emma Walton Hamilton, she reads their favorite children’s books.
A lot of Acast’s programs are in partnership with BBC, who has published over 800 podcasts, opening itself to a global audience. Acast offers its own marketplace that is platform agnostic and includes podcast sponsorship, ads that provide reach and exposure at scale and branded content. Along with its marketplace comes a creative team dedicated to working with brands.
Pushkin Industries co-founders Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg walked viewers through the ideas behind the production company. For only being a year and a half old, Pushkin has already found success – its shows have a 100 million downloads with a 75% completion rate, and five of its 14 shows are on the top 200 list for podcasts.
“We founded Pushkin with a few simple precepts, we would put artists and creators first, we would produce work that we care about, we would make diversity the heart of our culture, and most of all, that we would have fun,” Gladwell said.
Gladwell’s show, “Revisionist History,” is particularly known for its highly engaging, immersive ad spots.
“My favorite [ad] was the one we did for HotelTonight, which was a replay of the beginning of the movie ‘Psycho,’” Gladwell said. “You remember when Janet Leigh was driving late at night desperate to find a hotel and she ends up at the Bates Motel. The whole idea of the ad was if only she had had access to HotelTonight, she could have found an option other than staying at the hotel of a known psychopath … We try to serve our clients in as many different ways as possible using as many creative ideas as possible.”
The New York Times
The New York Times closed out day two with presentations from Michael Barbaro, host of “The Daily,” a daily news show that gets downloaded 4 million times per day. The New York Times recently absorbed This American Life and Serial Productions, the production company behind the podcast “Serial,” which has an average of 13 million downloads per episode for season three.
“Season one [of Serial] is the biggest podcast smash hit in history and it can be thanked for creating the podcast boom,” Sebastian Tomich, Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions at The New York Times Company, said.
Across all of its podcasts, The New York Times has 137 million monthly global downloads.
Westwood One reaches ¼ billion Americans each day and says its one of the top five podcast publishers in the U.S.. Its verticals include news and insights, business, money and tech, sports and life and entertainment.
Looking forward, Westwood One has partnered with Rolling Stone to produce two podcasts – “Useful Idiots” that covers the upcoming election and “Rolling Stone Music Now” – in addition to a partnership with The Daily Wire to produce “Morning Wire,” a news show.
PMM produces a repertoire of celebrity-hosted shows, such as “Armchair Expert” with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, “Anna Faris is Unqualified” and “Smartless” with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett.
Of its 300 podcasts, names such as “Murder Book,” “The Peter Schiff Podcast,” “Even More News,” “Tom Brown’s Body” and “Girls Gotta Eat” might ring a bell. Authentic earns 50 million streams and downloads and 200 million impressions per month. The production company offers metrics analytics with its own Podtrac tool.
Meredith has launched seven new podcasts in the past four months, and has even more in development, including InStyle’s “Ladies First” with Laura Brown and Allrecipes’s “Homemade Podcast.”