The U.S. Podcast Industry Eyes $1bn in Ads for 2020 With News in the Lead and Deals on the Rise

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

The takeaways

  • The new Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual report has revised U.S. podcasting revenues growth to 14.7% yet still on track to hit $1 billion this year.
  • At 22%, news was the highest generator of ad-based content revenue.
  • Deal-making is on the rise with SiriusXM’s purchase of Stitcher, Spotify’s $100 million exclusive acquisition of the Joe Rogan Experience and Omnicon’s $20 million purchase of Spotify podcast ads.

What happened?

Yesterday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s fourth annual Advertising Revenue Report stated that U.S. podcasting revenues are nearing $1 billion this year. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, projected ad revenues for 2020 will increase by 14.7%, revised from 29.6%. At 22% of ad revenues, news was the leading content genre.

Also announced yesterday was the E.W. Scripps Company’s sale of its podcast company, Stitcher, to satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM for $325 million. Scripps described the sale as over double its 5-year investment in the podcasting industry. Stitcher’s annual revenue growth alone was 52% from 2016 – 2019.

With podcasting now a firmly mainstream industry, Stitcher’s acquisition exemplifies its commercial desirability, as described in the IAB’s report. SiriusXM’s other podcast investments include Pandora, through which it acquired AdsWizz, and most recently, Simplecast.


Via the Interactive Advertising Bureau

Podcasts – the fastest growing advertising medium

U.S. podcasting generated an estimated $708.1 million in 2019, 48% up from 2018’s $479.1m. Now podcast ads form a core part of content marketing and annual planning for brands and agencies, rather than purchasing inventory closer to air dates.

Ads are also growing alongside audiences. According to Scripps CFO and executive vice president Lisa Knutson, 15% of Americans listened to at least one podcast monthly in 2015. Since then, Edison’s latest Infinite Dial podcast reports an increase to 104m, over two-thirds of Americans.

While businesses can take comfort in the IAB’s numbers, Stitcher’s purchase and Joe Rogan’s $100m Spotify-exclusive deal show growing ambitions in the podcasting market. Podcasts are now demonstrably the fastest-growing advertising medium. The growth in ad spending and investments looks set to continue podcasting’s evolution as a fast-developing industry.

Download the IAB’s annual report here.

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