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IAB Sets Fall Podcast Upfront Plan, Says Industry Still On Track To Top $1 Billion In 2021.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau says the podcast industry is still tracking to top a billion dollars in revenue this year. Against that backdrop the IAB is gearing up to offer podcasters another stage on which to promote their shows – and the medium – to ad buyers. The IAB Podcast Fall Upfront is set for Sept. 9 and 10 with more than 15 companies slated to take part. The invite-only event gives marketers and media buyers an opportunity to preview the latest in podcast programming.

Podcasters will kick-off what is being billed as the first-ever IAB Fall Marketplace, which will also feature showcases for buyers of digital video and connected television advertising. It is the second podcast upfront paired with online video.

It may be too soon to say how much in additional ad dollars that pair brings, but Eric John, Vice President of the IAB’s Media Center, thinks the two are a natural fit. “Online video and podcasting are similar in ways that they are both rich storytelling environments,” he says. John credits the growing use of dynamically inserted ads in podcasting, with two-thirds of revenue coming from those ads in 2020 compared to about half a year earlier. “Podcast ad technology is definitely maturing and as a result, podcasts are becoming part of the standard media mix in a much larger way, compared to the past,” he says.

Podcast advertising revenue climbed to $842 million in 2020, up from $708 million in the year prior. And the IAB has projected 2021 will be the year that podcast revenue tops the $1 billion threshold for the first time.

“The industry is still tracking to hit that target, topping $1 billion this year for the first time and then more than double, to $2.2 billion, by 2023,” says John. “Podcast advertising will grow as much in the next two years as it did in the past decade,” he points out. There may be no givens in media buying, but it’s a pretty safe bet that any medium that is adding users is well-positioned to grow. On that front, the IAB points to data showing podcasting has been resilient during the pandemic and its listening audience has grown as well. One out of every 2.4 U.S. adults now listen to podcasts every month according to Edison Research.

“It’s no surprise that advertisers are recognizing the opportunity to engage with these audiences,” says John. “We also continue to see significant investments being made in the marketplace.” He points to Amazon’s recent acquisitions of SmartLess and Wondery as well as the eCommerce company’s interest in leveraging audience engagement with podcast content to help advertisers to reach those listeners.

“This is a clear indicator of how dynamically media consumption is changing and how much more aware brands and publishers are of the need to connect with audiences wherever they are,” says John. “Podcasting is now part of people’s everyday life in daily media consumption and as we saw during the pandemic, the ways people are consuming podcast content are expanding as well, including via voice-activated smart speakers. This is a growing medium with a level of audience intimacy and passion that advertisers do not want to miss out on.”

There will be plenty of content to pick from during the IAB’s Fall Podcast Upfront. Among the companies that are scheduled to participate are Acast, Adonde Media, The Atlantic, Blue Wire, Cadence13, NPR, LAist Studios, LWC Studios, Osiris Media, Pineapple Street Studios, Realm, SXM Media, Trans Union, WarnerMedia, and Boston public broadcaster WBUR, among others.

Also part of the IAB Podcast Fall Upfront, the IAB will be collecting information for its first-ever Audio Landscape report. John says it is being developed in chapters, the first of which will be a Podcast Measurement Menu. He says the IAB is currently in the market collecting information and will be capturing feedback during the Podcast Upfront as well. It plans to release the Podcast Measurement Menu in the fall.

See the complete IAB Fall Podcast Upfront schedule HERE.

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