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iHeart Launches Digital Ad Network; Podcast Exec Sarah Van Mosel Hired To Run It.

iHeartMedia is launching a new digital audio ad network and has hired former Stitcher Chief Revenue Officer Sarah van Mosel to run it. The iHeart Audience Network (iAN) will collect advertising inventory from the iHeartRadio database and other premium publishers across streaming and podcasting. With the launch of the new ad network, iHeart says it will allow marketers to attain scale in their digital audio buys and give them the ability to reach addressable audiences across multiple channels, devices, and behaviors to pinpoint the right audience.

“The iHeart Audience Network is the first and only audio marketplace that seamlessly unifies all forms of audio with one common set of audiences, and we’re thrilled Sarah is bringing her expertise, vision and talent to take these unique capabilities to their full potential for advertisers and publishers,” said Conal Byrne, Chief Executive Officer of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group.

In December, van Mosel exited Stitcher after a two-and-a-half-year stint and following the company’s acquisition by SiriusXM last year. No successor has been announced and SiriusXM did not respond to an email seeking comment. Van Mosel joined Stitcher in 2019 from Acast where she was Chief Commercial Officer from 2015 to 2017. Before that, she spent two years as Chief Podcast Sales and Strategy Officer at Market Enginuity where she built the monetization engine for podcasts from PRX, Radiotopia, The Moth and TED Talks Daily while also overseeing content acquisition and business development across 13 public media stations in the top 10 U.S. markets. Earlier, van Mosel spent five years in digital sales management at New York Public Radio. She’s a founding member of the IAB Podcast Working Group.

“My path to iHeart has been a long one, but each step of the way has equipped me with the exact set of skills I need to lock arms with this outstanding team,” said van Mosel. “Anyone who knows me knows I love to build. I love to push the industry forward. The team at iHeart is poised to completely transform the audio industry and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Reporting to Byrne, van Mosel will serve as Executive VP for the iHeart Audience Network, and assist with iAN sales operations, publisher development and podcast slate partnerships for iHeart.

“She’s been at the forefront of innovation in podcasting from the very beginning and her unique perspective on the rapidly growing medium will ensure this venture becomes the premier service for all brands. The team is looking forward to seeing where she takes iAN next,” said Byrne in the announcement.

The iHeart Audience Network is an expansion of the iHeartPodcast Network and the company has been laying the groundwork for the operation over the past several months. In a move to ensure brand safety concerns would be addressed for marketers, iHeart announced in February that it would integrate Sounder’s brand safety rating tools into its sales platform. Called audio intelligence, it uses AI and machine learning to check content against the IAB’s standards for brand safety. The tool leverages the Audio Data Cloud which Sounder debuted in November and allows each advertiser to customize their brand safety guidelines, which iHeart has said will allow for new and more diverse publishers to provide more effective ad placements.

The iHeart Audience Network spans streaming and podcasting, but it also has a traditional media component. The company says the added reach of broadcast radio will also be available to buyers crafting a media plan.

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