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Expanding its podcasting platform into branded content, Entercom is buying Podcorn, which operates a marketplace that connects advertisers with podcasters to create native advertising and branded content. In a deal that values Podcorn at $22.5 million, Entercom will make an upfront cash payment of $14.6 million and pay a performance-based earnout over the next three years.

Entercom has struck two previous deals focused on podcast content, and its move to acquire Podcorn marks a first aimed at the expanding podcast advertising market. Entercom CEO David Field said the deal expands Entercom’s product offering for advertisers and builds on its position in the fast-growing podcast business and the larger audio space. “By making it easier for brands to collaborate with targeted podcast creators of all sizes, we are addressing an important market opportunity in the fastest growing segment of media,” said Field. 

With a marketplace of nearly 40,000 creators, Podcorn has facilitated thousands of podcast ad campaigns by matching relevant podcasters with advertisers to develop native branded content at scale. Podcorn was founded in 2019 by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski after Google bought their previous company FameBit, which brought together YouTube stars and advertisers to collaborate on branded content. 

Kozera and Kierzkowski will continue to run Podcorn, joining Entercom’s management team.

In an announcement, the Podcorn co-founders said being paired with Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios will help them “accelerate” their work with brands and podcasters. “Entercom shares our vision for improving podcast monetization and driving results for brands with authentic and relevant branded content,” Kozera and Kierzkowski said in a joint statement. “We will be working together to continue to grow Podcorn, build more tools and bring even more value to podcasters, listeners and brands,” they wrote in a letter to users.

After spending $48 million to buy podcast creators Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios in 2019, Entercom says its latest acquisition fills a gap in helping brands of all sizes tap into the micro-influencer community. Beyond offering native advertising and host-read ads, the marketplace connects advertisers to podcast creators through workspaces where they can explore deeper formats including reviews, unboxings, guest interviews, panels and topical discussions. Podcorn offers both a self-serve platform and a full-service option that includes more managed support and consultation.

As podcast creation and consumption continue to grow at a rapid pace, there are now more than 2.5 million podcasts, 60% of which were created in the past two years. “Remarkably, only a fraction of podcasts generate revenue. We want to change that,” said J.D. Crowley, Chief Digital Officer at Entercom. “Bringing together independent creators, chart-topping talent and advertisers under one roof, and providing the tools to streamline collaboration, transparency and efficiency provides greater value for advertisers, creators and listeners alike.”