Sony Music Entertainment Appoints Yvonne Gerald and Monico Toribio



Sony Music Entertainment (SME) announced of the appointment of Yvonne Gerald as Vice President, Podcast Marketing and Monica Toribio as Vice President, Podcast Finance. They will both be based in New York. Gerald will report to Emily Rasekh, Podcast Business Development and Operations and Toribio will report to Steve Ackerman, EVP and Co-Head, Global Podcasts and Jez Nelson, EVP and Co-Head, Global Podcasts.

In her new role, Gerald will oversee the planning and development of innovative marketing strategies to launch, brand and develop podcasts throughout the product life cycle. She will work closely with platform partners, internal production teams and external partners to build awareness and drive audience expansion for the company’s growing podcast slate. Gerald joins SME from TIME where she focused on developing new touchpoints to enhance consumer engagement and revenue growth. Prior to TIME she led brand strategy and marketing initiatives for NBCUniversal, Viacom and Kraft Foods.

In addition, Toribio will lead the newly expanded Global Podcast Division’s financial operations. She will work with SME leadership to guide strategic initiatives and manage various ongoing operational aspects across all podcast productions. Toribio joins SME from Disney Theatrical Group where she managed the production accounting and analysis team. She’s held several leadership roles after beginning her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in assurance and business advisory.


Blake Thompson Named Executive President of Ramsey Network



After nine years at the helm of Ramsey Network, Brian Mayfield has accepted a new role at Ramsey Solutions, creating the opportunity for broadcast veteran Blake Thompson to step into the role as the network’s executive vice president.

Thompson is no stranger to the industry. He began his career as Dave Ramsey’s first producer in 1996. As EVP, in addition to serving on the Ramsey Solutions Operating Board, Thompson will be responsible for distribution and content development of all programs and platforms for The Ramsey Network. That includes The Ramsey Show, The Dr. Delony Show, The Ken Coleman Show, The Christy Wright Show, The Rachel Cruze Show, EntreLeadership, as well as new feature podcast productions such as The Fine Print, Everyday Millionaires, Ramsey Call of the Day, and Work Matters with Ken Coleman podcasts, and the newly released documentary Borrowed Future.

“I look forward to this new opportunity to serve our listeners and viewers with programming that brings hope,” said Thompson. “Brian has done a stellar job leading the Ramsey Network, and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in his new role.”

As EVP of Strategic Alliances under Ramsey’s newest brand, Ramsey Trusted, Mayfield will continue to serve on the Ramsey Solutions Operating Board. He will also lead the team responsible for overseeing the more than 5,000 relationships comprised of national advertisers and the endorsed local provider network.

“It’s been an absolute honor serving as EVP of Ramsey Network,” said Mayfield. “I have been blessed to make a lot of friends in the industry as well as experience the development and tremendous growth into what Ramsey Network is today. I can’t wait to see where Blake takes it with his expertise in content development. I’m equally excited to continue my journey with Ramsey Solutions as part of the development of this new brand within our organization.”


PRX Builds Two New Podcast Content Roles



Public media organization PRX announced that Julie Shapiro and Audrey Mardavich will serve in newly-created strategic roles on the company’s content team. Shapiro will serve as Vice President of Editorial at PRX and Radiotopia and will also continue as Executive Producer of the acclaimed podcast Ear Hustle. Mardavich will serve as Senior Director of Content of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX.

Shapiro and Mardavich will help to guide, develop, and envision new partnerships and original content, support vital ongoing programming, and collaborate with creators across the PRX and Radiotopia podcast portfolios. Shapiro and Mardavich report to Jason Saldanha, Chief of Business Development and Content at PRX.

“As the podcast industry accelerates, Julie will now bring her incredible experience, creativity, and creator-conscious mindset to podcasts and strategic partnerships across PRX’s growing portfolio, and will continue to guide Radiotopia as the network evolves,” said Saldanha. “In addition, since the network’s inception, Audrey’s dedication to Radiotopia’s mission, content, and creators have been without comparison. We’re excited to drive a path forward in audio together that champions independent creators and their work.”

As Vice President of Editorial at PRX and Radiotopia, Shapiro will continue to steer the creative direction and growth of Radiotopia, a podcast network of extraordinary, artist-owned podcasts. In addition, Shapiro will now also help to shepherd large-scale content partnerships throughout PRX. Further, Shapiro will continue to work hand-in-hand with the Ear Hustle team as Executive Producer. Shapiro was named Executive Producer of Radiotopia in 2015 following the launch of the network. Created in 2017 and part of Radiotopia, Ear Hustle is made inside and outside of San Quentin State Prison, sharing daily realities of life there. Shapiro and the Ear Hustle team have received recognition from the Peabody Awards, the duPont-Columbia Awards, and the Pulitzer Prizes, while the podcast has been downloaded more than 55.5 million times. For more than a decade, Shapiro served as Artistic Director of the Third Coast International Audio Festival. She has also served as Executive Producer at ABC Radio National in Australia.

As Senior Director of Content for Radiotopia, Mardavich will oversee the strategic planning, operations, and management of the network, including new launches and ongoing series. Mardavich will work closely with producers and across teams at PRX to achieve production, audience, and revenue goals. Mardavich has held multiple roles at Radiotopia and PRX since 2011, ranging from Director of Special Projects to Radiotopia’s Network Director, helping to drive projects such as the opening of the PRX Podcast Garage in Boston in 2016 and Radiotopia’s live tours on the east and west coasts. Mardavich has also served as a Boston storySLAM producer for “The Moth” and at the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas.

Both Shapiro and Mardavich will continue to serve as executive producers for Radiotopia Presents, a podcast feed and home for new limited series from independent creators in which producers retain 100% ownership and creative control of their intellectual property while receiving financial, production, distribution, and marketing support. The debut series from Radiotopia Presents, Blind Guy Travels, premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Festival in New York.

“I’m looking forward to supporting PRX’s expanding content ambitions, to identifying new partners and projects, and to breaking new ground creatively by paving the way for more impactful and transformative storytelling,” said Julie Shapiro, Vice President of Editorial at PRX and Radiotopia. “It’s an honor and pleasure to build on the work I’ve done with PRX through Radiotopia and Ear Hustle, and to continue onward working alongside the network and the show, too. Both have big plans in store.”

“It’s a joy to work closely with Radiotopia’s hosts and producers, and to provide a space where creators are valued and their dream projects can thrive,” said Audrey Mardavich, Senior Director of Content of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX. “As a fierce advocate for independent producers, I look forward to helping lead Radiotopia forward in an ever-changing podcast landscape.”


LiveOne’s PodcastOne and Jordan Harbinger Strike Seven-Figure Renewal Deal



PodcastOne, a leading podcast platform and a subsidiary of LiveOne, announced today that it has signed a high seven figure renewal deal with podcast host and former Wall Street attorney Jordan Harbinger that keeps him and his top rated The Jordan Harbinger Show with the network for the foreseeable future. The Jordan Harbinger Show launched with the network in 2018 and is available on PodcastOne, Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Facebook and wherever podcasts are heard.

With download numbers nearing 11 million monthly and over 300 million all-time, The Jordan Harbinger Show is a leading interview podcast featuring in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game from business leaders, entertainers, scientists and athletes to an eclectic array of fascinating minds, from art forgers and arms traffickers to global spies and psychologists. Previous guests have included AirBnB’s entrepreneur Mark Cuban, television journalist Anderson Cooper, Academy Award winning author Matthew McConaughey, musician Moby, hip-hop artist T-Pain, rapper Rick Ross, scientists Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye, and athletes like Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman and Tony Hawk.

“Jordan embodies what podcasting is all about. His impeccable interviewing skills, his unmatched rapport with guests, his integrity and his knowledge of marketing and the business of podcasting are keystones in the growth of The Jordan Harbinger Show and his audience is ever expanding. Not only is Jordan a dream partner in podcasting, he’s also a dear friend and we are looking forward to, and anticipating, even bigger things in 2022 and beyond,” said Kit Gray, President of PodcastOne.

The Jordan Harbinger Show has been named one of the “Best Of” and “Most Downloaded Shows” by Apple and has been on the iTunes Top 50 Chart in the U.S., Canada, UK and Australia. The show has been nominated for AdWeek’s Podcast of the Year Awards, Digital Hollywood Award, Discover Pods Awards.


StreamGuys Upgrades Multimedia Player with Full-Page Experience



Pioneering streaming and podcast solutions provider StreamGuys has unveiled a major upgrade to its HTML-5-based SGplayer multimedia player. Complementing SGplayer’s existing embeddable configuration, version 3.2 offers a new full-page layout mode that provides additional ways for radio broadcasters and content producers to connect with their audiences and monetize their live streams and podcasts.

Hosted and managed by StreamGuys, SGplayer offers content providers a full-featured, multi-format media player that they can easily incorporate into their websites to present live streams and on-demand content. SGplayer 3.2’s newly-redesigned, responsive user interface delivers attractive, customizable listening experiences on desktop and mobile devices while making it even easier for consumers to find and access relevant content. Tight integration with StreamGuys’ SGrewind time-shifting technology allows listeners to pause, resume, and rewind live streams or jump back to the beginning of a recently-streamed show through a scrollable and searchable program guide.

New engagement buttons in SGplayer 3.2’s full-page layout allow radio stations and podcasters to establish ongoing connections with their audiences. Listeners can quickly subscribe to podcasts through RSS feeds or third-party platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts, while a new Share button lets listeners easily propagate player links for their favorite live streams and on-demand content on popular social media networks and community forums. Enhanced search functionality allows consumers to find podcast episodes of interest by matching keywords to descriptions. The new full-page podcast presentation design can also showcase other podcast series from the same producer alongside the current episode list, encouraging listeners to discover and engage with more of the producer’s content.

Two new monetization features in SGplayer 3.2 supplement its existing support for dynamic advertising insertion. Content providers with existing e-commerce destinations can add a “Buy” button or link to the iTunes Store to allow listeners to immediately purchase products such as individual songs or albums. Customizable, clickable links can be added to live stream and podcast descriptions to take listeners to sponsors’ websites, event ticket sales portals, or any other online destination the content provider wishes.

“Broadcasters and podcast publishers are constantly striving to deepen their relationships with their listeners and expand the monetization of their content beyond traditional advertising,” said Eduardo Martinez, director of technology, StreamGuys. “SGplayer 3.2’s new full-page layout is the result of extensive research we conducted with our customers to optimize how we help them achieve those goals. Its new interface design and features enable audio enterprises to deliver differentiated, engaging audience experiences that will keep their listeners coming back for more.”

Radio Free Entertainment Network, Ltd. (RFEN) was one of the beta testers for SGplayer 3.2, and agrees that the new version represents a significant step forward. “The new SGplayer enables scalable new opportunities for our marketing sales consultants and our clients,” said Christavus Dominic, CEO and founder of RFEN. “It will help them increase their productivity and profits through features like customizable text and clickable links for sponsorships and promotional events.”

SGplayer 3.2 is available immediately.


AdLarge Publishes 2021 Podcast Buying Guide



AdLarge has released the highly-anticipated 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0, featuring essential information on the rapid evolution of the marketplace including the latest resources and tools for measurement, analysis, and attribution available today. While similar to the first three guides by remaining simple to follow and understand, the fourth edition goes beyond the basics of buying and delves into the specifics behind content selection, measurement efficacy, and targeted delivery.

“As more buyers continue to experience the unmatched ROI of podcast advertising, we recognized the opportunity to provide guidance and context to the quickly evolving landscape of attribution, measurement, and delivery,” commented Ilwira Marciszek, AdLarge Senior VP, Head of Revenue Operations & Digital Sales. “The unprecedented growth we are witnessing today is a true testament to the power of podcasting.”

Cathy Csukas, AdLarge Co-CEO added, “Working with a broad range of shows and clients has uniquely positioned AdLarge as an authentic resource to buyers. Our spectrum of knowledge has enabled to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which we’ve outlined in this playbook. Our goal is to provide everyone with the tools to make the most informed advertising decisions possible. The substantial increase year-over-year in advertiser spend has proven the audience is attentive, engaged, and ready to take action.”

The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 from AdLarge is divided into four sections:

Evaluating: Evaluating media to form solid content partnerships

Effectiveness: How to build an effective and measurable campaign

Efficiency: Level up with efficiency and scale

Expertise:
Experts answer frequently asked questions

The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 can be downloaded here.


Samsung Launches its First Branded Podcast in Partnership with Acast



Acast has announced its partnership with Samsung Electronic Australia to produce and distribute the company’s first branded podcast within the Australian Market. The Rule Benders podcast will feature conversations with extraordinary Australians who have bent the rules, defied convention, and redefined what is possible.

Rule Benders is a six-week branded podcast campaign, with a new episode dropping each week. Presented by Samsung Galaxy, the podcast forms part of the marketing campaign for Samsung’s latest foldable smartphone range, the Galaxy Z Fold3 and Galaxy Z Flip3. With its revolutionary new folding smartphones challenging the norm by featuring bendable glass, the podcast will also challenge the norm with stories of Australians who are bending rules.

Rule Benders is the largest-scale branded podcast to be launched so far by the Acast Creative team in Australia. Acast Creative is a pillar of the Acast Marketplace, helping brands navigate the rapidly evolving podcast landscape and elevate commercial messaging its greatest potential. The Samsung and Acast partnership was facilitated by Samsung Electronics Australia’s media agency, CHEP Media.

Tom Roach, Creative and Strategy Lead, Acast Australia and New Zealand, said: “The concept of Rule Benders was inspired by Samsung Galaxy and the new Z Series foldable smartphones. We wanted to reflect people who think differently and shake up the status quo, while helping Samsung build cultural connections with new audiences by making the show available throughout the open podcasting ecosystem.

“This is a doubt the biggest, most high-profile branded podcast we’ve launched in Australia, and it’s more proof that brands are starting to realize the power of podcasting and the creative ways that they can tap into huge audiences of highly engaged listeners.”

Hayley Walton, Head of Brand Marketing, Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “Samsung’s brand purpose is to create new innovations that defy barriers and can help to make our world a better place. The incredible Australians that we feature in Rule Benders epitomize the Samsung Galaxy brand with each individual challenges the status quo and forging new paths that will make our world more inclusive, positive and accessible for more people.

“We believe that using these talent in our first branded podcast series will help engage audience on a deeper level and help them to connect with Samsung in a way we’ve not achieved before. With podcasts becoming exponentially more popular in recent times, our partnership with Acast was a no-brainer and we’re thrilled to see it go to air.”

Acast – the creator-first podcast company that works with some of Australia’s biggest shows – will distribute Rule Benders, making it available across all podcast apps and played such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.


Veritonic Names Kristin Charron Vice President of Marketing



Veritonic, the leading audio analytics platform, announced the appointment of Kristin Charron as Vice President, Marketing. Charron, a ten-year veteran of the global audio technology and services company Triton Digital, will lead Veritonic’s marketing efforts, furthering its growth and position as the industry’s preeminent, end-to-end analytics solution for audio adversing.

“Veritonic’s analytics have become the indispensable barometer for brands and agencies to measure the intelligence and efficacy of audio advertising,” said Charron. “I am excited to be joining this innovative team, and look forward to further elevating the awareness, value and utility of the platform and the insights it provides.”

Charron spent the last ten years at Triton Digital (acquired by iHeartMedia in February), with previous roles at Marvel Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment. Her appointment coincides with Veritonic’s recent hiring of longtime audio and advertising executive Korri Kolesa as its Chief Revenue Officer.

“As audio consumption continues to grow exponentially, the demand for sophisticated, real-time analytics has never been higher,” said Scott Simonelli, CEO and Founder of Veritonic. “Kristin’s experience and expertise will enable us to meaningfully increase awareness of the world-class data and insights that Veritonic provides, ensuring that every brand and agency has the resources they need to effectively and seamlessly harness the power of audio.”


Italy – Ipsos Presents Results of Third Edition of “Ipsos Digital Audio Survey”



The survey was launched by Ipsos in 2019 with the explicit intention of allowing the market to have a solid point of view on users’ models and use logic in a specific territory of the media & entertainment universe such as Digital Audio.

Ipsos Digital Audio Survey continues to embrace all the different varieties of Digital Audio, but again this year the focus remains on podcasts: a format that continues to generate great interest, but which risks being overshadowed by unclear definitions and confused measurements.

The data monitored by the survey, listening to podcasts last month, reaches 31% in 2021 among 16-60 year old (about 9.3 million people), with a slight growth but which consolidates the positive trend recorded. Last year (in 2020 podcast had seen a leap of 4 percentage points, going from 26% to 30%): a proof of the fact that the diffusion of the format is a stable and non-transitory result of the digitization process that took place in the pandemic context.

The format remains remarkably young (44% under 35), but in 2021 the adult, graduated (27%) and professional (13%) targets to grow. Even if their “early adopter” connotation (the first to adopt new technologies, preference for premium products) slightly attenuates with the evolution of the registry, podcast users confirm themselves as more responsible and receptive consumers than the average.

The substantial stability in the penetration of the target seems to indicate that further significant growth processes require an “education” on action on the audience, to socialize the general population to this format and allow the user to foreshadow the many possible ways of access and opportunities for the smartphone is further strengthened as the most used device for listening to podcasts (79%), the computer (43%) remains in second place, but in decline, as well as tablets (26%).

Listening to podcasts takes place while other activities are carried out at the same time (80%), with a trend to be monitored in the future.

One figure that we have begun to monitor is that of the platforms used to listen to podcasts, the Digital Audio Survey in 2021 highlights that Spotify is the most used platform followed by YouTube.

The approach to podcasts remains mainly “pull”, with the user who decides to listen after searching the internet for a topic that interested him (34%). Looking ahead, it is interesting to note that GEN Z (16-25 years old) is more easily pushed to listen to podcasts through social word of mouth (32% vs. 25% of total podcast users) and suggestions from the app they use (25% vs. 16%).

In the trade-off argument vs. speaker as driver of choice is confirmed as the strongest (52%), but the relative weight of speakers continues to grow (30%).

In this third edition of the Digital Audio Survey we investigated the specific role of influencers, who appear to have an influence in promoting listening to podcast for 2 out of 3 listeners, with a particularly strong weight among the youngest (74% of those under 35 vs. 54% of 45+).

The strong level of engagement found in 2021 is confirmed, with 59% of users listening to podcasts for the entire duration, and listening to the entire podcast series continues to grow (41%). Loyalty is a crucial issue, especially for a format driven by pull logics. The offer of podcasts increases, therefore, but users still remain firmly in control of the user experience, choosing / intercepting content that is in most cases able to keep them engaged.