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Audioboom’s Stuart Last Sees More ‘Positive Sentiment” In Podcast Ad Market.

Audioboom ended last year with a bang, as it not only returned to growth but had its highest-billing quarter since the second quarter of 2022. The podcast company reports its revenue grew five percent year-to-year during Q4, rising to $19.2 million. Billings were up 37% from Q3, reflecting not only the typical seasonal year-end pick up in ad spending but also an improving marketplace. The gains helped to put Audioboom back into the black. The company reports earnings of $200,000 for the fourth quarter compared to a $1.9 million loss during the third quarter.

“I’m pleased to report a successful final quarter of 2023, with the business returning to growth mode,” CEO Stuart Last said in the announcement. “Our Q4 revenue of over $19 million is the highest since Q2 2022 and reflects the improvements we have made in the business across the year.”

For all of 2023, Audioboom revenue totaled $65 million, which was a 13% decline from 2022. And its earnings fell 58% to $1.5 million.

Pointing to longer term growth, Audioboom says it had a record average brand advertiser count during Q4 of 8,406. That compared to 7,960 in Q3 and 5,944 a year earlier. It also hit a record in what it calls eCPM – the average revenue per 1,000 downloads – which rose six percent from a year earlier to $58.82. It was also up 59% from the third quarter.

At the same time its programmatic Showcase business is growing 35% year to year, and is now responsible for nearly a quarter of Audioboom revenue.

“I am buoyed by a more positive sentiment in the advertising industry,” Last said, “with brands making strong budget commitments during the upfronts booking season, resulting in us contracting more than $47 million of revenue for 2024 through advance bookings.” Thanks to those upfront sales, the company anticipates record revenue in 2024, with operational improvements and a return to earnings profitability.

Cost cutting has also helped Audioboom return to profitability, with more on the horizon. It tells shareholders that it has cut more than $2 million of annual minimum guarantee obligations beginning Jan.1. That has been achieved through reworking contracts with several of its creators. And Audioboom expects further reductions to its minimum guarantee payouts expected throughout 2024 . “This is expected to enable us to deliver adjusted EBITDA profitability in 2024,” Last said.

Audioboom continues to grow its creator network with content partnerships with shows including Matt and Shane’s Secret PodcastThe Why FilesGains & Gossip and Heart Starts Pounding. The new podcasts are expected to contribute more than five million downloads per month to the Audioboom Creator Network in 2024.

In the meantime, it had average Q4 global monthly downloads of 110.1 million versus 110.9 million a year earlier. While the iOS 17 update is expected to cut Audioboom’s downloads by about 10% in the current quarter, it says the changes have not had an effect on advertising revenue.

Audioboom last month released the AdVet tool that makes advertising opportunities available in real time to podcasters, enabling them to accept with one click and immediately be included in a brand’s campaign. The result is Audioboom says there will be a “significant reduction” in the amount of time between a brand’s RFP inquiry and the booking confirmation. And for creators in the Audioboom Creator Network, AdVet will deliver a higher number of advertising and sponsor opportunities and improve the creator’s win-rate for inclusion in an ad campaign.

“The focus on expanding and diversifying our customer base through the launch of our brand sales unit has resulted in new commercial partnerships with leading advertising agencies,” said Last. “Our drive to optimize advertising inventory on the platform has led to a sharp increase in the number of ad slots we create per episode, with a subsequent one billion ad impressions being made available for sale to our customers in October. These operational improvements have positioned us to capture maximum value from advertisers in 2024.”

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