The podcast management platform Sounder is taking its next step forward with the launch of a new platform that will offer new tech solution focused on brand safety and suitability, topic analysis, content summarization, and dynamic segmentation. Built on proprietary machine learning and natural language processing capabilities, cofounder and CEO Kal Amin says what they have branded the Audio Data Cloud will offer podcasters new discovery tools while giving advertisers more data and insights on which to ramp up their spending in the medium.
“This is a new way of really operating for podcasters that incorporates the data layer that's truly been missing an audio and has been available in other mediums such as video and text,” said Amin. “And it puts audio on the same playing field to revenue growth as video and text. And that really hasn't existed at scale.”
In an interview, Amin explained Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud is built on four pillars led by enhanced advertising capabilities. Using machine learning and AI technology to identify topic tone and keywords, he says it will enable better discovery and monetization of audio content. Sounder’s acquisition of Podnods last spring has allowed it to accelerate that process and build high-value machine learning artificial intelligence products.
“We can now use the machine learning AI technology to identify keywords, topics, sentiment, entities, people, places, brands, within the audience. We've built a suggestion and recommendation and search API that helps drive listeners to find the right piece of content. We've also built with all the new technology best in class, audio SEO, that supports all this as well. So that, for us, is a big kind of step forward from a discovery perspective,” explained Amin. “As we think about audience engagement, we have the ability to help publishers recommend the right audio content to the right listener at the right time. In the current world, a lot of this is done manually. And now we can bring out autogenerated recommendations that publishers or enterprises or creators can use for things like dynamic segmentation and creating short clips of their content. All that is now powered through our technology.”
When it comes to advertising, Amin said the technology also powers an automated brand safety tool. Not only does it help steer a brand away from the sort of content it wants to avoid, but he said it will also help them identify new places to advertise.
For publishers, there are also new tools like automated content segmentation or chaptering. It dynamically segments audio content into relevant chapters. “Given the challenge in today's world to find really valuable supply, we can create natural breaks in the conversation, which are perfect for new advertising opportunities as well,” said Amin. He says it also creates more of a consumer engagement opportunity for publishers.
Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud also identifies people, places, brands, and products within any piece of audio content. That will unlock new contextual advertising options for advertisers. There are also tools like automatic summarization which generate episode descriptions and titles for audio content, saving valuable time for production teams.
“Our engineering team is focused on helping audio publishers leverage the power of artificial intelligence in a usable, scalable, and secure way,” said CTO Mercan Topkara. “With the Audio Data Cloud, enterprises gain access to the very best machine learning technology that they can use to improve their audio strategies and enhance the monetization of their content,” she said in a statement. Topkara joined Sounder earlier this year after it bought Podnods where she had been a co-founder and CEO.
At a time when ad tech companies are being gobbled up by large podcast platforms in a string of multimillion dollar deals, Sounder has itself expanded via acquisitions. And Amin said finding a buyer is not something they are focused on how.
“Our focus is really to make sure that we bring up the audio data brought to market and it really helps scale this across the industry,” he said. “While some of the larger audio tech companies are building all these solutions for themselves, we think we can build all of these solutions for the entire industry.”