With Second ‘Podcast Upfront,’ IAB Hopes Brands Will Buy Into Audio Advertising

NPR, ESPN and others will pitch original shows

Buoyed by the success of popular podcasts like Serial and This American Life, the Interactive Advertising Bureau is hosting its second annual Podcast Upfront this fall to bring together publishers, advertisers and agencies.

Twelve media and podcast companies (up from eight last year) will pitch new content to media buyers during 20-minute presentations on Sept. 7 at Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Auditorium in downtown Manhattan. In addition to presenting new podcast shows, publishers will talk to media buyers about how advertising can be integrated into content.

"Podcasting is a huge area, and it covers a lot of different interest groups, so we want to have diversity in terms of voices and the point of view on the subject," said Anna Bager, svp and general manager of mobile and video at the IAB. "We're going to have science, sports, news, history, opinion [and] music." 

Here's the full list of this year's presenters:

  • NPR
  • ESPN
  • HowStuffWorks
  • Time Inc.
  • WNYC Studios
  • AdLarge
  • CBS Radio's Play.it
  • Authentic
  • Midroll
  • Panoply
  • PodcastOne
  • Wondery

"After Serial and the success of that, the quality of podcasting and the investment that publishers make in that has been growing, and there's a lot of really great content to listen to," Bager said.

That said, podcasts still reach a relatively small audience, and it's unclear how much marketers are willing to pour into audio-based storytelling. According to Pew Research Center, 36 percent of Americans had ever listened to a podcast in 2015, up from 23 percent in 2010.

Other challenges are audience measurement and ad skipping, when consumers fast-forward through advertisements and commercial breaks in programs. Therefore, keeping creative short and integrated is important, said Bager.

"Really well done podcasting [advertising] is either very short or it's weaved into the content in such a way that you want to listen to it," she said. "The content providers are working very closely with the advertisers to develop the messaging and make sure that it fits within the overall stream of content."