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Podcast Ad Buyers Yet to See Slowdown & 3 other stories

Podcast Ad Buyers Yet to See Slowdown & 3 other stories

The Download

Season 3 • Episode 55

This week: Podcast Ad Spend Isn’t Slowing Down, IAB CEO Airs Beef with Apple, Several podcast companies are hiring, Brands Seek Alternatives Amidst Digital Clutter, and an updated edition of The Podscape is live.

Open Podcasting Positions

Manuela:In light of recent layoffs in the podcasting space, we would like to take a moment at the top of the show to highlight some companies that currently have positions seeking applicants.

JAR Audio is hiring a full-time Audience Growth Specialist

Wondery is currently hiring seventeen full-time positions, 15 in the US and two in their UK office in London.

And Magellan AI is currently hiring for the positions of Account Executive, Measurement Success Manager, and Sales Development Representative.

Podcast ad buyers have yet to see a slowdown 

Shreya: Yesterday, Digiday’s Sara Guaglione published a piece detailing how solidly podcasting has handled the much-debated recession. But to get to the good, we gotta hit the bad. As Guaglione points out, ad spending overall has taken a hit recently. Last week Insider Intelligence writer Arielle Feger reported ad spending in the US fell 12.1% in December, making it the sixth consecutive month ad spend has gone down. Insider Intelligence has cut five billion from their 2023 US digital ad spending forecast, bringing it down to 278.59 billion.

Now for the good news; Guaglione is finding that decline hasn’t sunk into podcasting. Four buyers spoke with Digiday and report their client’s budgets aren’t getting cut, and they see an increase in podcast ad spend. Employees of Horizon Media, Ocean Media, and CMI Media Group report increased spending on podcast ads, often from clients who are backing down on ad spend in other forms of media.

The piece reconciles increase in ad spend with recent industry layoffs, cancellations, and cost-cutting with a proposal from Elli Dimitroulakos, Acast’s global head of ad innovation: production houses are shifting away from multi-million dollar minimum guarantee signings. As headline-grabbing pandemic deals begin to end, small-to-midsize podcast inventory rises to take its place with inviting prices.

“The buyers Digiday spoke with said there is plenty of ad inventory available despite the recent reports that investment in new and existing shows may be decreasing.”

It’s a good day to hear good news in podcasting.

IAB CEO Airs Beef with Apple, Lands Meeting

Manuela: Things have gotten interesting with the IAB and Apple. Last week, during the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, CEO David Cohen took to the stage with a prepared speech titled “It Starts Here.” A speech so vitriolic it prompted a joint response from the ANA and 4A’s to criticize its tone and “polarizing political rhetoric.”

The first segment dedicates multiple paragraphs to proposing the FTC, members of the Biden administration, and politically-opposed members of Congress are funneling ‘dark money’ into a common goal of destroying the advertising industry under the guise of controlling ‘Big Tech.’ Cohen then transitions to Apple. From the speech:

“After years of failing to build a significant market for ads in Apple Music, in Apple TV, and on the iPhone, Apple has decided the next best thing is to stop anyone else from making money in advertising. That’s why they are the Poison Apple.”

The crux of Cohen’s issues stem from App Tracking Transparency and the billions of dollars of ad revenue it has destroyed since Apple deployed the feature. Attention is given to both the damage ATT has done to third-party advertisers and the fact first-party iOS apps aren’t given the same treatment. From Cohen’s quote given to AdAge’s Garett Sloane:

“So, we want to call it out for the hypocrisy that it is, and we want to invite them back to the table.”

In his postmortem interview with Ryan Barwick, Cohen announced that since the Poisoned Apple speech, Apple has reached out to the IAB to schedule a meeting in February. Whether the meeting will be productive or not remains to be seen, as it was spawned by a speech with digs like, and I quote:

“Apple will try to smother the advertising industry just like they did to the recorded music industry. We can’t sit back and watch that happen. “

The fact a meeting has been booked is a step in the right direction, regardless of how it was achieved. Whether or not Apple will have any motivation to re-engage with IAB podcasting groups remains to be seen.

Brands Seek Alternatives Amidst Digital Clutter

Shreya: Last Thursday Julian Cannon, writing for Digiday, published a piece covering recent examples of companies recontextualizing print advertisements.

“Last month, General Electric took over The New York Times’ print advertising for a day throughout the news, business and arts sections of the paper amounting to 22 full-page color ads as well as five partial pages.”

Not only was this an impressive buyout, it was the first of its kind for the Times. It’s also the latest in a series of big plays as marketers embrace out-of-home advertising and the freedom from on-screen clutter that can come with digital. Senior partner and co-head of marketing and sales at Prophet Mat Zucker explains the appeal of a full-page newspaper ad in 2023:

“Full-page ads command attention and gravitas for the message. There’s no need to fill the space but the statement says we mean what we’re saying and it owns the space preventing clutter from other marketers or messages which could cloud the message or distract from it.”

Every ad in podcasting is full-page, from the perspective these marketers are aiming for. And many podcasts explore full or single-episode sponsorship opportunities. What General Electric sought in newspaper, podcasting can offer them, along with the fact podcasting has a bit more sex appeal than print.

Podscape 2.0 is here.

Manuela: Before we get into Quick Hits, we have a story to quickly revisit. After some wonderful feedback from the industry the second edition of The 2023 Podscape, a collaboration between Magellan AI and Sounds Profitable, is now available for download. 

The Podscape, a sizable infographic, aims to give a birds-eye view of podcasting that takes inventory of companies, agencies, services, and anything else that could be classified as podcasting. The current edition is available for free download now on Magellans’ Podscape page.

Shreya: Finally, it’s time for our semi-regular roundup of articles we’re calling Quick Hits. These are articles that didn’t quite make the cut for today’s episode, but are still worth including in your weekend reading. This week:

Marketers Predict Programmatic Advertising Spend in Podcasts to Triple by 2027, Acast Study Finds, a press release provided via Podnews. While the future might be interesting, what matters now is we have a new report from a company that prioritizes programmatic in podcasting so it can be valuable for those considering its possibilities.

Understanding podcasts in East and South East Asia by Guang Jin YEO for Podnews. The first publication in a multi-month series covering the region’s podcasting and its opportunities. Country overviews for Japan and South Korea are currently available.

Nielsen to Shop Edison Research Data by the Podcast Business Journal. A brief explanation of the announcement that Nielsen will start marketing Share of Ear and Podcast Metrics to advertising agencies. Two notable contenders in the space working together to lend the industry further credibility.

About three-quarters of people who plan to watch the Super Bowl said they’re excited for the ads, research says by Alyssa Meyers. It’s early February, which means we’re bound by advertising-adjacent tradition to share a story about how much audiences love Super Bowl commercials.

TuneIn Forms Distribution Pact with Amazon’s Audible by the Podcast Business Journal. WIth this new deal TuneIn will begin to distribute Audible Originals podcasts.

For this final entry, instead of focusing on a single post, we want to spotlight a newsletter that covers this industry we love and has been covered several times on The Download. We recommend you check out The Rebooting. It’s a free twice-weekly newsletter written by Brian Morrissey that focuses on the mechanics of building sustainable publishing businesses. Brian brings over twenty years of industry coverage and nearly a decade of building a profitable publishing business to the table. If that sounds your style, check out The Rebooting.

Manuela: And that was The Download, brought to you by Sounds Profitable! Today’s episode was built using Spooler and hosted on ART19. Find out more at and

I know we went through today’s stories fast, so be sure to check out the links to every article mentioned, right in your podcast listening app, or on And thank you for sticking with us as we bring you the top stories you might have missed from the past week. I’m Manuela Bedoya.

Shreya : And I’m Shreya Sharma. Our producers are Bryan Barletta, Gavin Gaddis, and Tom Webster. Our editors are Reece Carman and Ron Tendick. Special thanks to ART19 for hosting The Download. And thanks to you for joining us.