Advertisers To Spend $35 Million In Podcasts


That’s according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal and that’s compared to $18 Billion being spent on radio and $67 Billion in TV. While $35 Million will represent a 2% increase over last year, the article points out there are still a lot of hurdles to purchasing advertising in this new form of audio listening.

The Journal says advertising revenue growth has been limited by a range of problems. “It is difficult to measure how many people actually tune into a podcast, let alone listen to hosts promoting its sponsors. Ads in podcasts are relatively expensive, so it is tough for brands beyond direct-response advertisers to determine whether the investment pays off. And the process of buying and selling ads in podcasts is still complex and clunky.”

Performance Bridge CEO Stephen Smyk tells The Journal. “I certainly believe that it’s such a difficult and convoluted process to buy, manage and verify that [it] certainly has kept a lot of advertisers on the sideline.” Performance Bridge buys podcast ads on behalf of direct-response advertisers like glasses company Warby Parker and Harry’s razors.

And like all other forms of media, measurement is the key to grow the revenue. NPR’s Director of Audio Insights Steve Mulder tells The Journal, “It’s the Wild West in many ways for podcast measurement. If we want to unlock the full potential of podcasts, we have to ensure we have rock solid measurement that everyone agrees on and everyone can trust.”

The Journal cites some stats that point out how a small group of publishers is dominating the Podcasting landscape, at least for now. “About 700 unique programs from the top 10 podcast publishers, including NPR, This American Life/Serial and WNYC, amassed 110 million downloads in the U.S. in December, according to podcast advertising firm Podtrac. Those top 10 podcast publishers account for about 40% of all monthly podcast listeners in the U.S.”


  1. the long tail of podcasts is impressive but the scale is zilch. the future of podcasts lays in the ad network model in the near term. producers such as NPR and WNYC will find that their public media mindset will keep them behind the technology curve and the buyers will bypass them in favor of the easier, more efficient and cheaper ad buy.


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