Advertisers Warming Up To Podcasting


ESPN Senior VP Traug Keller says we’re experiencing a seismic shift in how consumers take in their audio. What he was talking about is the explosion in podcast listening. And he certainly has the numbers to back it up. ESPN is right in the middle of the action, some would say they are leading the podcasting charge. At a Radio Show panel on Wednesday, Keller said in August ESPN’s 47 shows were downloaded 54 million times, and he expects that number to be over 60 million in September. And that translates to scale, and that’s what advertisers want.

Advertisers are making the jump, in some cases simply to test podcasting as a way to increase their customer base and grow their business. Horizon Media Associate Audio Group Manager Greg Roseto said advertisers such as Burger King, GEICO, Vonage and others are dipping their toes in the podcasting pool, and they love it. Roseto says sometimes advertisers are taking money from traditional media, but added they are also beginning to create a specific budget for podcasts. And they are saying that’s money well spent. “Most of our clients, more times than not, have seen great success with podcasts.” Why are they seeing success? Because when a host voices a spot for an advertiser, the listener perceives it as genuine. It’s almost as if the ad is part of the show.

It’s always helpful when someone like Roseto can show an advertiser research about the medium they are pitching. Roseto says he has research that shows 70% of downloads are listened to within the first 48 hours and 86% within the first week of the content being downloaded.

AdLarge Media is another company getting into the podcating space big-time. A week hardly goes by without the company announcing a new partnership with a podcaster or a podcast they’re repping. AdLarge co-founder and co-CEO Cathy Csukas says her company now has over 50 titles spanning several genres, including sports, lifestyle, and even female-specific. And she also sees advertisers having success with the medium. She says to make that happen you have to match the host with the advertiser. “We want to hear it in their voice. It needs to be a good fit. Some hosts don’t feel right about the advertiser and they turn it down.” Csukas also said the industry needs to come together to make it easier for advertisers to buy podcasts and help them find the right environment.

ESPN’s Keller predicted that the digital audio space will soon be a $5 billion business and podcasting will be a piece of that. “Consumption in podcasts is way up. Monetization follows consumption.”


  1. It is unlikely that influence and leverage will be disappearing anytime soon.
    Even public ownership or – more functionally – a co-op or employee-owned outfit will still have outside masters to serve… to some degree.
    Personal integrity and group solidarity are all that stand between malicious greed and conscientious business practices.

  2. “Why are they seeing success? Because when a host voices a spot for an advertiser, the listener perceives it as genuine. It’s almost as if the ad is part of the show.”

    Does anybody else recognize how dishonorable that sentiment is? Advertising is a filthy industry and radio is grubby all over with it. As long as advertising is attached to media, you will not get honest and open media. It will always be tainted by the efforts to please/pander to advertisers. Anybody who has ever worked in the media, has either seen this or felt pressure to work a certain way or say a certain thing because of it.

    What radio really needs is public ownership. Real public ownership.


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