Revenue soared 171% at Audioboom during the first six months of the year as the podcast company reports first half billings of $9.8 million, compared to $3.6 million during the same period a year ago. While the U.K.-based company operates globally, the vast majority (88%) of its revenue still comes from the U.S. market. And while revenue grows, the company says it is also burning through cash at a slower clip. It lost $1.4 million in the first six months of 2019, half as much as during 2018. And it now says the path to profitability is clearer than ever. On top of that, Audioboom says it had a record 135 million individuals listening to at least one of its podcast in June.
“We are delighted with the company’s performance during this period, with strong progress in every area of the business,” said CEO Rob Proctor. “This in turn is driving significant improvements for the company in its journey to profitability. With gross margin tracking to plan and overheads remaining under tight control, we are now starting to see the impact of our improved operational gearing.”
Audioboom is podcasting’s only publicly-traded company and it offers some of the few data points podcasters get each month on which to assess overall trends. To that end, Audioboom said it had a brand advertiser count of 212 at the end of June. That’s more than twice the 130 they had at the end of the first half a year ago. And revenue per 1,000 listens, what it calls eCPM, increased to $29.97 in the U.S. market in June.
“It’s all really encouraging news for Audioboom,” COO Stuart Last said in a blog post. “Revenue is up, EBITDA loss is down and we’re getting closer to break-even.”
One thing that may be helping the company bring in more brands is the Sonic IM platform. It allows brands to secure advertising within any globally available podcast. Since launching last August, Audioboom says 22 brands have used the service, including Article, Sony Music UK, Instacart and Outerknown. “We have also deployed new staff into Sonic IM,” the company told investors.
Also helping the bottom line is a new subscription service tier that was launched in February alongside annual payment options for smaller podcast partners or those who don’t want to use an advertising-supported model.
In addition to several new content partnerships, Audioboom says its effort to expand the Audioboom Originals network took several steps forward during the first half of the year. Its portfolio of in-house productions will grow beyond its current roster of 11 shows during the next several months, starting with the launch of The Keto Guido Show in August. A big reason to invest in developing its own shows is commercials it places on third-party content typically generate gross margins of about 25%. But Audioboom says ads it places on its own shows generate gross margins of 40% or higher.
Audioboom last month received a $4 million cash infusion from Michael Tobin, the company's Chairman, and Candy Ventures, its largest shareholder, which currently holds 24% of the company. The funding will be used to provide minimum advertising revenue guarantees to new content partners as well as offer similar guarantees when existing partners’ contracts come up for renewal. Earlier this month Audioboom also opened an expanded New York recording facility that more than doubled its production capacity.
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2019, Proctor said he’s encouraged by what he sees. “Forward sales for H2 2019 are already at record levels and I anticipate continued strong performance for the second half of this year,” he said. “Content creators and advertisers continue to join our global platform.”