Ads for Podcasts

Podbridge and Ingenio announced a partnership to include pay-per-call ads in podcasts. The Podbridge ad serving system is set up to bookend audio content with ads before and after content is played on the device. Historically, this advertising model has led to many successful and profitable ventures. One colorful example was an attempt by a band called Sigue Sigue Sputnik to auction advertisements on its album.

The most notable and arguably successful example is the widely recognized Metro Networks. Metro was a pioneer in radio traffic broadcasts. Basically, Metro provides real-time traffic content to radio stations — helicopters and all — then sells a "donut ad" around the traffic content. This means that the advertiser is mentioned before and after the traffic update. Metro was acquired by Westwood One along with competitor Shadow Traffic.

Podcasts do not have the combination of radio's frequency and reach, but the market is growing rapidly as traditional media outlets ad content. According to Elizabeth Ames, marketing consultant for Podbridge: "We support hundreds of podcasts currently in our network. Last count was between 500 and 600, including large mainstream content providers such as the BBC and Clear Channel."

Given the fragmenting media market and advertisers’ desire to reach key demographics, this type of targeting will grow in importance. On the publisher side, Podbridge gives flexibility to the content owner for ad placement. By default, ads are placed at the beginning and end of the podcast, but content owners can control ad placement by modifying the RSS.

Today's announcement leads to another topic worth considering. There has been a lot of talk about companies (Google, MSN, Yahoo!, Spot Runner, dMarc, etc.) building cross media ad platforms. Google's Investor Day 2006 presentation highlights the enormous opportunity and its plans to bring a performance ad measurement system to traditional media.

We have been watching many of these tests and the companies building platforms to service these markets. The following graphic was pulled from an Ingenio presentation. The slide titled "Future: Creating Efficiency and Transparency Across all Media with a Variety of Pricing Models" is worth considering in this context. Ingenio either has existing partnerships or is working on partnerships across all these media with the same simple billing mechanism.

source: Ingenio 2006

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