The talent agency UTA, which has become one of the biggest reps for podcast creators and companies, is expanding its reach into the industry with the creation of a new analytics service. Branded as UTA Audio IQ, the division aims to help clients figure out what impact their shows are having, detect emerging talent bubbling up, and measure how specific shows, topics, and talent are resonating with listeners.
“As the first agency with a dedicated audio division, we have been at the forefront of shaping the evolution of the podcast industry since its early days,” said David Kramer, co-President of UTA. “Our forward-looking Audio and IQ teams came together to create Audio IQ to help our clients see around the corner and stay ahead in an industry that’s growing faster than ever,” he said in the announcement.
The company says the creation of a single source metric was inspired in large part by the increasing opportunity that creators have to benefit from the desire of audiences seeking to engage with their favorite audio content in many formats, from digital content to television and documentaries, books, merchandise, and live tours. But increasing opportunities to capitalize on what is working has also created the need to know what is not performing too.
“There is no single source of truth in data for driving value and strategic decision making in the podcasting industry today,” said Joe Kessler, Global Head of UTA IQ. “As we worked with UTA’s Audio fast-growing team over recent years, we found that there are certain tools and approaches we could deploy that bring real value to our clients in the space, so we decided to formalize it.”
The service is a joint effort of UTA’s Audio division, which represents creators and platforms in podcasting, and UTA IQ, the agency’s research, analytics, and digital strategy arm. It will fuse together information from a combination of data analytics, social listening, financial modeling, and consumer research. Much of the data is already being compiled by the four-year old UTA IQ for its television and film clients. In a world where data is increasingly driving decisions more so that “gut feelings” about what will be a hit, UTA is looking to leverage those learnings in the audio space.
“Data-derived insights can give creators and platforms meaningful advantage in this increasingly competitive arena,” said Oren Rosenbaum, UTA partner and Head of Audio. “Audio IQ helps our clients make more informed decisions across the board – from negotiating deals to deeper knowledge about their audiences and the landscape, to being a tool in their toolbox that augments their own instincts.”
UTA created its audio division in 2018 and today it represents a variety of podcast networks, creators and early-stage companies including iHeartMedia, Audacy’s Pineapple Street, Wondery, TenderfootTV, Campside Media, Crime Junkie host Ashley Flowers and her company Audiochuck, My Favorite Murder hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark and their Exactly Right Media, Call Her Daddy host Alex Cooper, How I Built This host Guy Raz, Crimetown host Marc Smerling, and Rotten Mango host Stephanie Soo, among others. The company did not say whether it has already been using UTA Audio IQ-powered data on their behalf.
In the past data coming from the talent agency may have been given the cold shoulder, since it would have been perceived as likely favoring the talent the firm represents. But as more data companies are absorbed by podcast companies – such as Spotify’s recent deals to buy Podsights and Chartable and Amazon’s acquisition of Art19 – some of those traditional walls have been lowered.