Two Dallas-based podcast ad sales pros have left their positions at Himalaya Media and turned their attention to their own podcast sales representation firm, Podcast Ad Reps. It teams up Rick Selah, who most recently was VP of Strategic Sales for Himalaya and Chief Revenue Officer for its Hi Studios, and Anthony Savelli, who most recently was Senior Manager of Strategic Sales at Himalaya.
Podcast Ad Reps or PAR was launched last December with a goal to hyper-serve independent podcast creators with sales and marketing solutions. The business quickly took off with its roster of clients now including podcast networks including Starburns Audio, Studio 71, Voice America, Compass Media Networks as well as independent podcasts like Afford Anything, Almost 30, and Total Soccer Show.
“Many of these relationships dated back to our work with these studios and shows when Anthony and I were at CastPlus,” said Selah. “When the Israeli investors decided to not fund that company for 2019, we created PAR and assumed sales representation of the best most-proven 30 or so shows from that catalog.”
PAR added its 50th show on Aug. 1 and the company says its catalog of shows receives more than three million unique impressions per week. But Selah tells Podcast News Daily it wasn’t that growth that led to their decision to leave Himalaya. “They wanted us to bring our PAR shows under Himalaya and offered equity to do so, but knowing what we knew after eight months saw that as nothing more than a bag of magic beans,” Selah said. “We saw significantly greater potential building our own show catalog and company—leaving content creation and show development to the production experts—focusing 100% of our efforts on sales and helping our shows monetize their creative efforts.”
Since leaving Himalaya the end of July, Selah said PAR has added nearly two dozen new shows to its portfolio, including several through partner referrals. He expects PAR will have representation of more than 75 podcasts by the end of third quarter. PAR specializes in shows that have a minimum of 15,000 to 20,000 listeners per episodes and have a strategy for building their audience along with the medium.
The podcast ad market is “booming,” according to Selah. “The biggest challenge we see is with podcasters who treat ad campaigns like a ‘necessary evil’ and/or place unrealistic values on their ad inventory,” he said. “With more than 700,000 podcasts publishing, brands and their ad agencies have unlimited choices testing unproven shows, and the buying community is quite savvy in their assessment of ad-friendly shows—so any negative pushback from talent only gives brands a reason to cull a potential show.”