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Nearly one of every five dollars spent on podcast advertising last year went to shows in the news, politics and current events category. The Podcast Advertising Revenue Study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers shows the category’s share of ad dollars rose 38% last year compared to 2017. That trend is expected to continue into the coming year as the 2020 presidential election cycle leads to new show launches and increased listening to current events-driven podcasts.

The flipside of news—comedy podcasts—was the second-biggest recipient of advertising dollars. The tally shows advertisers spent 14% of their podcast ad dollars on comedy shows last year, a 31% year-to-year increase. The rest of the top five ad categories were business podcasts (13%), education (11%) and arts and entertainment (10%). The IAB/PwC report shows 65.7% of all ad dollars spent on podcasting went to those show genres.

“Digital audio is now a significant piece of the pie,” said Sue Hogan, Senior VP of Research and Measurement at the IAB. “Part of that is due to podcasts. It is not the only reason for growth in audio, but it is a significant reason.” During a webinar last month, Hogan said the IAB estimates two-thirds of Americans aged 12 and older listened to online audio in 2018. And podcasts reached 73 million people last year, a 7% increase from the prior year. “We are expecting to see podcasts take off in a very big way in the very near future,” she said.

David Silverman, a partner at PwC U.S., said digital audio remains in its “nascent” phase compared to other digital media, but he thinks increasing smart speaker use and improving digital connectivity in vehicles will help spur digital audio use. “We see growth potential in that area with smart speakers and as people being to increase their actions with devices through audio means as opposed to a keyboard,” Silverman said.

Download the full IAB/PwC Podcast Advertising Revenue Study HERE.