The Podfront series, launched in January 2019 to showcase podcast content to advertisers and agency buyers, is in the Bay Area using the San Francisco Museum of Art as the venue to put the latest podcast creations on display. Nine show producers—including Authentic, Cadence13, ESPN, iHeartRadio, NPR, PRX, Stitcher, WNYC Studios and Wondery—are giving the ad community a first look at the new programming they have slated through the end of 2019.
David Raphael, CEO of sponsor Podcast Media Marketing, says interest for Podfront events has been “intense” and it’s still growing. “The San Francisco event has hit capacity for the venue so we're thrilled to see that advertisers and agencies are interested in the podcast space and appreciative that we're bringing the show to them,” he says.
Podfront earlier this year held events in Los Angeles in January and Detroit in July. Raphael says the city-based events help expose podcasting to ad buyers who aren’t familiar with the medium or simply can’t make it to other big events. “Podfront brings the podcasting companies to the advertisers and allows for conversations that haven't taken place elsewhere,” he explains. “Many of these conversations are with advertisers and agencies that are looking at podcast sponsorship for the very first time.” It may be difficult to directly peg a dollar figure in terms of the amount of advertising booked from attendees, but Raphael says Podcast Media Marketing has had new conversations and campaigns contracted from meetings that took place at Podfront events.
So what can advertisers expect to hear today? Here’s a peek at some of what each of the companies are talking up:
Authentic CEO Mark McCrery will have a conversation with Leo Laporte, Founder and Host of the TWiT Podcast Network, about the effectiveness of brand and direct response ads, the power of host read ads, and ways brands can maximize ad performance. Authentic represents podcasts including This American Life, Serial, This Week in Tech, Mueller She Wrote, Girls Gotta Eat and Motley Fool.
Cadence13, which is now wholly-owned by Entercom, is presenting its fall slate. C13’s Chief Revenue Officer Nick Freeman will share details of the company’s newest docuseries following up on its previous hits Root of Evil and Gangster Capital. Freeman will also showcase shows on C13’s Ramble network, including Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg’s Pushkin Industries, including Gladwell’s music podcast “Broken Record” and “The Happiness Lab,” hosted by Yale professor Laurie Santos. Also, Tenderfoot TV co-founders Donald Albright and Payne Lindsey will join Freeman to unveil a new anthology series of bizarre, scary, untold stories debuting later this year.
ESPN will review their focus on the podcast space through new talent, new shows, and a new networks of verticals. Their segment will be headlined by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight and Andy Tennant, Executive Producer of the ESPN Daily podcast. Silver will discuss FiveThirtyEight’s coverage plans for the 2020 election and the key events that will drive up listenership, like primary election days, debates and conventions. Tennant will take a deeper look at the ESPN Daily podcast that is set to debut in October.
iHeartRadio will discuss the latest podcast trends and programming and its ability to provide scale through its broadcast radio stations to introduce podcasts to the vast majority of Americans. Podfront organizers say the iHeartPodcast Network plans to give a sneak preview of its upcoming fall and winter line up. The Ron Burgundy Podcast star Will Ferrell, Digraceland host Jake Brennan, and star producer Aaron Mahnke will all be on hand.
NPR podcast Hosts Shereen Marisol Meraji of Code Switch, Allison Aubrey of Life Kit and Kelly McEvers of Embedded are scheduled to offer an exclusive preview of what’s coming up on each of their programs this fall. Johanna Weber, Vice President of NPR Sponsorship Marketing at National Public Media, will also present insights into spoken word listening habits and changing consumer patterns in audio.
PRX will announce three new shows coming to Radiotopia: Adult ISH, Passenger List and Over the Road. And Roman Mars, host of 99% Invisible and co-founder of Radiotopia, will moderate PRX’s panel featuring some of the most creative and strategic minds in podcasting. That list includes Kerri Hoffman, CEO of PRX, Nate DeMeo, Creator and Host of The Memory Palace, Drew Ackerman, Creator and Host of Sleep with Me and Al Letson, Host of Reveal with added perspective from Jim Lally, Chief Podcast Sales Officer at Market Enginuity.
Stitcher and its advertising arm, Midroll, will be represented by Chief Revenue Officer Sarah van Mosel and Chief Content Officer Chris Bannon. They’ll share insights from listener and brand lift studies; and offer previews of upcoming shows. Featured launches include a new show from the Vox network and second seasons for The Dream, the hit series exposing multilevel marketing, and Conan O’Brien’s quest for companionship, Conan Needs a Friend.
WNYC Studios is also releasing research. Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Baird will reveal the results of a brand lift study conducted on Radiolab’s “G” series, give a sneak preview of upcoming podcasts from Dolly Parton’s America, Scattered with Chris Garcia, The Other Latif from the team behind Radiolab, and the next season of Trump, Inc.. WNYC Studios’ Chief Content Officer Andrew Golis will also moderate a panel with Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money; Glynn Washington, host of Snap Judgment; and Tobin Low, co-host of Nancy.
Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez will be delivering the keynote speech, “Your Brain on Podcasts.” He will also reveal new neuroscience research on the effectiveness of audio advertising, as uncovered in a study produced in partnership with Mindshare. The Moment host Ingrid Hass, and Business Wars host David Brown will also join Hernan as he makes some announcements about Wondery’s upcoming slate.
In addition to the company presentations, Podfront will feature presentations by This American Life host and Executive Producer Ira Glass and Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster.
The next event will be held in February in Los Angeles.