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IAB Is Confident 2021 Will Be Podcasting’s Billion Dollar Year.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is confident 2021 will be the year that the podcast industry crosses the $1 billion revenue threshold. “Video has gotten much of the attention, but digital audio has also grown during the pandemic. In 2021, podcasting will be a $1 billion market,” the IAB said in its annual report released during the weekend.

Had it not been for the pandemic, some podcast executives have said they believe the industry would have hit that mark last year. But even with what the IAB says was a “slight downturn” in overall advertising spending on podcasting last year, its preliminary estimates suggest total podcast revenue grew 14.7% in 2020.

According to the IAB, digital now accounts for 65% of all advertising spending. And IAB CEO David Cohen says that while 2020 was one of the most challenging years, it also brought an opportunity for a “reset” among advertisers and the digital industry. “We are reimagining how advertising — everything from targeting to attribution — will work in a cookie-less world. We are reconsidering how consumer habits are changing, from shopping to media consumption and beyond. And we are recalibrating what consumers and public policymakers are thinking now about privacy and what that means for our digital ecosystem,” he said in the report.

To that end, the IAB Podcast Technical Working Group is working on an update of the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines version 2.0 which were last revised in December 2017. The comment period on version 2.1 closed last week. It includes defining standard metrics for both podcast content and podcast ads. It also provides guidance on some of the technical details such as request filtering, to reduce the discrepancies currently seen across podcast publishers and tech vendors according to IAB Tech Lab.

“Challenges endure in getting a commonly agreed-upon set of metrics in the podcasting space,” the annual report says. “Now, more than ever, it’s time to address the technical standards and business practices necessary to fuel the incredible growth of podcasting, streaming audio, and beyond.”

The annual report also shed some light into the IAB’s own inner workings. According to unaudited financials, IAB finished 2020 with $1.35 million net income versus the originally expected budget loss of $274,000. It called that a “tremendous achievement” after it faced a $10 million loss in revenue from lower member dues and a cancellation of all in-person events. Overall, IAB says its expenses totaled $27.8 million last year, an eight percent cut from 2019. And the report said the group is “well positioned for an ambitious and fiscally sound 2021.

The IAB and IAB Tech Lab plan to host a mix of in-person and online events in 2021. The report also reveals the IAB Podcast Upfront Fall edition has been tentatively set for Sept. 8-9.

Download the full report HERE.

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