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Survey: Most Podcast CEOs Are Seeing Business Improve In 2024.

The bumps in the road that the podcasting business experienced last year are increasingly in the rearview mirror, and a new survey of more than 50 chief executives across the industry finds most of their companies are having a stronger year. Dwnload Media says 72.5% of the CEOs it surveyed said 2024 revenue is outpacing what they had a year ago. Another quarter said it is on par with the prior year’s results, with just 2.5% reporting their revenue is lagging.

Growing sales is a continual focus, and nearly a third (31%) told Dwnload Media that increasing revenue is where they are most focused this year. But as big companies like Spotify and Acast have publicly stated that their priority is to move into profitability in 2024, the survey shows others are in the same mindset. It shows 31% of podcast executives surveyed say increasing profitably is their number one priority. Dwnload Media says diversifying revenue streams and increasing downloads were two other areas of focus, each with 19% of those surveyed saying that is where they are most focused this year.

The survey results parallel what the CEOs running public podcast companies have been saying on their quarterly earnings calls. “The sentiment among advertisers has been better during quarter,” Acast CEO Ross Adams told his investors earlier this month.

And Audioboom CEO Stuart Last said the ad market has become more stable than during the past year, noting Audioboom has more than $55 million of revenue for 2024 from advance advertising bookings already sold. “We have a new normal in the advertising market,” Last said on his company’s earning call.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau last week released projections showing total industry ad revenue will increase 12% in 2024, with total revenue on track to surpass $2.1 billion. And the IAB says podcasting is on a course to have $2.6 billion in total ad revenue by 2026. But those estimates may be too small based on what podcast executives say.

Dwnload Media’s survey finds more than a quarter (27%) of podcast executives think the industry’s revenue will exceed $11 billion a year by 2030. And half think it will fall in the $8 to $11 billion range. Less than one percent of those surveyed predicted industry revenue will be less than $6 billion by 2030.

Dwnload Media’s Chris Peterson says their survey, which quizzed CEOs from across the podcast space, ranging from ad networks to studios, also had some fascinating results when it came to which platform they think will be the most important in five years. Half said Spotify, and nearly the other half (48%) said YouTube, with the remaining two percent saying Apple Podcasts will be the most important.

The consensus among these industry leaders was clear: Spotify and YouTube are the future of podcast platforms. “Their overwhelming endorsement of these platforms is hard to dispute,” Peterson says. He writes in a blog post that it should be a wake-up call to Apple HQ that its strategy of not expanding Apple Podcasts beyond iOS is limiting its role in the industry. “If they expanded to Android, their subscription offering alone could make them more important around the globe — but for now, this group of CEOs doesn’t see them as the industry leader moving forward,” he says. Peterson also points out Apple TV is available on Android products.

Dwnload Media’s survey also asked executives if their company is currently using artificial intelligence. Half said they are already using AI, while another 38% plan to but haven’t started yet. The remaining 13% have no plans for AI in their business.

Peterson formed Dwnload Media last May, backed by investors including Red Seat Ventures. Their plans are to buy a controlling position in podcast content companies, turn them profitable, reinvest those profits into IP, and create new business opportunities and revenue off the back of great audio.

Its new survey finds six percent of executives say their company is “actively looking” to being acquired, while another 62% said their companies are open to being acquired, but selling is not a current focus. Rather than selling, 13% of those surveyed said they are focused on raising money.

Peterson expects podcast company valuations to continue to climb, as more brand advertising dollars come to podcasting and subscription revenue grows. He also thinks that the moves companies have made to “right-size” to achieve profitability will help too. “Despite headlines over the last year, the podcast industry continues to grow in audience and revenue,” he says.

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