The first quarter was another record-breaker for Audioboom, which reports its revenue more than doubled during the first three months of the year while its count of advertisers continued to grow longer. And it says the remainder of 2022 looks strong, with more business now on the books for this year than what it brought in for revenue during all of last year.
Audioboom says first quarter revenue soared 107% to $19.7 million. That compares to $9.5 million during the first quarter of 2021. And on the heels of reporting its first profitable year in 2021, Audioboom remained in the black during the first quarter. It had a $900,000 profit for the quarter -- triple what it recorded a year earlier.
“I am delighted to report that our fast growth has continued into 2022,” said CEO Stuart Last in an update to shareholders. “KPIs remained strong in a quarter which is traditionally quieter for ad spend, while the continued strong growth in global downloads gives us further confidence in the continued trajectory, both of the industry and our place within it. That demand has also enabled us to secure more than $60.5 million of advertising bookings for 2022 -- already more than the entirety of our 2021 revenue. Furthermore, our unique ad model, which delivers high performance for brands, has seen strong uptake, enabling us to achieve record pricing across key inventory.”
Audioboom says its average global revenue per 1,000 downloads, or what it calls its eCPM, increased 25% year over year to $50.48 despite the normally slower pace of first quarter bookings. There was also what it says “robust” advertiser demand on its top 25 podcasts, pushing their average unit rate up to $14,295 versus $6,455 for the top 25 a year ago.
One factor that helped to put more pressure on the inventory were more advertisers. Audioboom says it had 379 brand advertisers buying ads during the first quarter, up from 301 a year ago. It did not release a tally of how many direct response advertisers it sold ads to during the quarter, however.
Ad technology is also helping Audioboom monetize its content in new ways. Its programmatic ad marketplace Showcase saw its revenue grow more than 150% from a year ago, and the company says it is now contributing 11% of total revenue. It also struck a partnership with radio and media company NZME that allowed Audioboom to better monetize its inventory in New Zealand.
In terms of content, Audioboom reports its global monthly downloads increased for the ninth successive quarter to 126.2 million during Q1. And global downloads in March 2022 reached a record 131.0 million.
“Our investment in Audioboom Studios -- our creative and production arm -- is already being recognized, most notably with the successful launch of Devils in the Dark, our first original show for a U.K. audience,” said Last. “Devils in the Dark reached number 1 on the U.K. True Crime chart and the top 15 of Apple’s overall podcast chart upon release.”
The strong quarterly earnings report comes as speculation continues that Audioboom could soon be swallowed up. Reports surfaced earlier this year that Amazon and Spotify had both been looking to make an offer for the podcast platform. It is not known if either has made a formal offer, and Audioboom has not commented on rumors of a possible sale in the works. But Last told investors during the company’s previous earnings webinar that he “absolutely” sees a role for Audioboom in potential deal making. “We are the only company of this size and independence that is actually making money in podcasting right now, so we have to be attractive. We have to be a great option for someone that is looking to build a presence in podcasting,” he said.
Reports of a potential sale have been swirling around Audioboom for the past several years as its business grew along with interest in podcasting. Last year’s potential sale to All Active Asset Capital came to a halt in September after Audioboom rejected its request for more time, as well as the proposed terms of the potential buyout that included All Active stock.