Tag Archives: Acast

Acast Launches “First Words” Campaign to Inspire Creators to Start their Podcast

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast platform, has announced a new campaign looking back at the first words uttered on some of the biggest podcasts from its network of more than 35,000 shows. Acast’s “First Words” campaign features the opening lines of the very first episodes of well-known podcasts from around the world, and aims to inspire creators to start shows of their own.

Developed with agency partner Weirdo – and running across paid social and Acast’s own inventory of 300 million monthly podcast listens – the campaign features the first words from across Acast’s portfolio of podcasts globally, including Off Menu, The Adam Buxton Podcast, Forever35, Dope Black Mums, The Little Dum Dum Club, and many more.

The campaign will also feature amusing videos with top podcasters being challenged to try and remember their own first words – as well as sharing insight into how they themselves took their first steps.

The launch of “First Words” follows research by Acast suggesting that more than 1 in 10 people in the UK plan to start their own podcast this year.

Lizzy Pollott, SVP Marketing Communications and Brand at Acast, said: “Even the longest podcasting journeys start with just one step. Every podcaster – from Adam Buxton to your friend down the road – has had to start somewhere, and take that leap. Our new campaign hopes to inspire you to get started with their show and find their voice and audience.

“By rewinding hundreds of Acast podcast we’ve found the humble first words of shows that have ended up being listened to millions of times around the world. Some are funny, some shocking, some a little bit silly, but they all prove that – however, you want to start telling your story – Acast will help get it heard.”

Acast Appoints Patrick Butkus as VP Marketing

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, has announced the appointment of Patrick Butkus as Vice President, Marketing. The newly created role will see Butkus spearheading global marketing efforts from the company’s office in New York City, and underlines Acast’s ambitious growth strategy for 2022 in the US and beyond.

Butkus, most recently the Director of Acquisition Marketing at Discovery streaming products discovery+ and GOLFTV, will be responsible for building and enhancing recognition of the Acast brand, products and services globally.

With previous experience including various marketing roles at ESPN and Nestlé, Butkus is another senior hire for Acast based in the US – following recently announced appointments of Veronika Taylor as SVP of Acast’s Creator Network and Georgina Holt as Managing Director for the Americas – as the company becomes more internationally focused.

Lizzy Pollot, Acast’s SVP Marketing Communications and Brand, said: “Pat is a really important addition to our growing global marketing team, and will allow us to get the Acast brand in front of thousands more creators, listeners and brands, all around the world.

“It’s testament to our strong growth in the US that we’re able to attract people as talented as Pat, and his years of experience with top media and entertainment brands will be hugely valuable for the whole team – helping us supercharge our efforts in 2022 and beyond.”

Butkus added: “The name ‘Acast’ is one I’ve heard more and more over the past couple of years, and it’s easy to see why its become such a high-profile player in the creator economy – this is an innovative, ambitious podcast company with the leadership and vision in place to become the world leader. I’m looking forward to playing my part in making that happen.”

Acast Appoints Georgina Holt as Managing Director for the Americas

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, has announced the appointment of Georgina Holt as Managing Director for the Americas. In a move that underlines Acast’s ambition to significantly grow market share in the US and surrounding regions, Holt – who currently fulfill the same role for the UK and Ireland – will oversee both commercial sales and podcast acquisition and retention.

Since joining Acast in early 2020, Holt has spearheaded phenomenal growth for the business in the UK, as well as leading its UK-based team through the challenges of a global pandemic. Her relocation to the US, where she’ll be based in New York City, is a strategic move as Acast seeks to build on its growing success in the region – following net sales growth of 111% in Q3 of 2021, versus the same period in 2020.

Holt will also be responsible for the welfare of close to 100 Acast employees based in the US, Mexico, and Canada. Her move to the Americas role follows Veronika Taylor’s recent promotion to Senior Vice President of the Acast Creator Network.

In more than two decades in media publishing, Holt has led and delivered successful strategic and commercial transformation for the likes of Stylist and Cosmopolitan, and was most recently Executive Director of Stylist Studios before making the move into podcasting.

Oskar Serrander, Chief Operating Officer at Acast, said: “Georgie embodies Acast’s leadership philosophy, and our desire to operate as a distributed, global business, without losing grip of our most powerful asset – our culture. And, in a relatively short span of time, she’s had a transformative impact on our UK and Ireland operations – no small task given she came aboard at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and couldn’t meet colleagues in person for months.

“Our mission to become the app-independent marketplace of choice for podcast creators is accelerating in 2022 and, while we will be expanding into many new markets, the US remains an important focus. I’m confident we have the leadership in place to take us to the next level.”

Holt added: “Moving to the US to lead Acast in the Americas is a dream-come-true opportunity, as the team continues its incredible growth journey in this region. Leaving the amazing UK and Ireland team, especially after its most successful year, feels like a fitting moment to pass the baton.”

Acast and Nielsen: US Podcast Fans Are Spending Even More Time Listening

Acast, the global power source for podcasting, unveiled the results of new podcast listener research conducted in partnership with Nielsen. The study of 2,000 US adults who consume podcasts at least monthly found that 52% increased the amount of time they spent listening over the past six months.

According to the findings, in the past six months consumption of podcasts has increased more so than most other media – especially when compared to other audio-based media. Versus the 52% of listeners who said they increased podcast consumption, the figures for online radio (36%), AM/FM radio (36%) and audio books (33%) were less encouraging.

With consumption on the rise, the podcast landscape is rich with opportunities for brands and podcasters to reach new audiences. Nearly half (45%) of respondents said they started listening to podcasts in the past year, with listeners in the 18-34 range the most likely to have discovered podcasts during that time. That same age group is proving to be a loyal audience, with 79% saying they now listen to podcasts multiple times a week.

The research also shows that podcasting is an undersaturated market, and that consumers desire more content than is being produced. For example, three quarters of respondents say they listen to podcasts weekly – but just 43% of podcasts currently publish in a weekly cadence.

The study went on to explore listener attitudes toward podcast advertising, revealing that there are low levels of advertising fatigue compared to other types of media. Just 25% of listeners say there are too many ads on podcasts, compared to 50% who say there are too many commercials on cable TV. And, according to the study, 76% listen to ads – while 73% say they take action after hearing an ad.

Half of all respondents said advertising on a podcast is the best way for a brand to reach them, and 55% say they developed a more positive opinion towards brands that advertised on their favorite podcasts – showing that podcast ads are a key tool for influencing brand favorability.

Additional key findings reveal:

Listeners enjoy various aspects of podcasts:

70% of listeners say they enjoy listening to guest interviews
58% of listeners say they enjoy listening to panel discussions
55% of listeners say they enjoy listening to host banter

News, music, and comedy content are most frequently consumed, with nearly two thirds (64%) of podcast listeners listening to news shows every week.

For episodes of an hour or longer, 62% of listeners say they listen to more than half – confirming that pre-roll and mid-roll ad placements are great ways to reach listeners.

More than half of listeners (57%) will listen to a podcast episode multiple times.

Listeners are attentive when consuming podcasts – 65% are focused when listening to podcasts, more so than any other tested medium.

Podcast listeners are actively listening to ads to support their favorite podcasters – 57% agree that listening to ads is important to support their favorite podcast hosts.
Podcast listeners are five times more likely to like than dislike brand-sponsored content in podcasts.

Podcast listeners are almost four times more likely to like than dislike brand-owned podcasts.

“Podcasts are undoubtedly an increasingly important part of the lives of listeners in the US. We think of our favorite podcasters like our friends, and trust them to entertain and inform us just as much as we trust them to recommend brands and products we will enjoy,” said Nick Southwell-Keely, US Director of Sales and Brand Partnerships at Acast. “Changing consumer attitudes and interests have seen podcasting become an integral part of thousands of brands’ marketing strategies, and our research supports the increasingly valuable role podcasts can play.”

Acast Appoints Veronika Taylor as SVP of its Creator Network

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, announced the appointment of Veronika Taylor as Senior Vice President of its Creator Network, leading its podcast team globally. Perviously Managing Director for the Americas, and before that Content Director for the US – during which time she brought a long list of high-profile talent to Acast, including the EARIOS network and Danny Pellegrino – Taylor will now direct the company’s strategy for attracting the biggest and best podcasts all around the world.

In three years at Acast, Taylor has overseen the growth of its US podcasts team to 15 people, during which time the business also launched on-the-ground operations in Canada and Mexico. Throughout that period of influx of top US creators have joined the Acast Creator Network, including Fat Mascara, Forever35, Giggly Squad, and Reality Gays, and premium and media companies like Discovery, A+E, VICE, PBS NewsHour, The Daily Beast, and CBC.

Under Taylor’s data-driven approach to growing Acast’s Creator Network in the US, the company also nurtured podcast verticals where there was opportunity for further monetization and success — such as women’s lifestyle, and health and wellness.

And those efforts were instrumental in driving record net sales growth of 111% for Acast’s Americas business in the third quarter of 2021, as announced in the company’s most recent financial reporting.
To support further growth in one of the world’s biggest podcast markets, Samantha Skey has also been appointed Director of the Board within Acast’s US entity. Skey is an experienced media and technology executive focused on rapid growth companies, and as CEO of SHE Media works closely with a broad range of diverse talent across the US.

Already a strategic advisor to Acast since June 2021, Skey’s appointment to the Board represents another significant, senior investment in the US market by the company.

Ross Adams, Acast CEO, said: “Veronika has completely transformed our Creator Network in the US, not only attracting big names to Acast but helping a diverse and broad roster of podcasters to find their voice.

“Her new role is a vital part of the Acast senior leadership team, and pivotal in our mission to work with the world’s biggest and best podcasts. But, above all, she’s a stellar Acaster — and someone who has already taught so many of us how to lead with real empathy.

“Bringing Samantha onto the team is another big statement of intent for us. We’ve been working together for a short time already, but her knowledge of both the talent in the market and the ad industry — the two audiences we’re focused on — will help us further grow the Acast business in the US.”

Veronika Taylor, SVP Creator Network at Acast, said: “I want to continue bringing Acast’s creator-centric approach to podcasters and listeners the world over, as the joy of podcasting continues to spread across the globe. Creators worldwide are supportive of our efforts to champion the open ecosystem and, while our growth in the US has been strong in recent years, we look forward to stepping this up further — alongside our efforts internationally.

“One of the things I’ve been most proud of during my time here has been our efforts to bring more women and LGBTQ+ creators to the forefront, and there’s a lot more we want to do to bring more diverse voices into the space and help them scale their audiences and revenue.”

Acast Partners with Belgian Podcast Awards

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, has signed up as an official partner to the inaugural Belgian Podcast awards. The awards have been created to highlight the year’s best podcasts – and voting is open to the public right now.

Acast is the only podcast hosting and distribution company to partner with the event, showing its support for podcasting in Belgium and beyond — and making good on its mission to find and champion the world’s next great podcasters.

According to research by the Reuters Institute, 26% of Belgians listen to podcasts every month — and Acast sees great potential in the region. Its partnership with the Belgian Podcast Awards will continue until June 2022.

Awards categories cover everything from Business to Sports, and the shortlist was announced at the end of October. The winners’ ceremony takes place this Thursday, November 25, and will be live streamed across YouTube and Facebook, directly from the Arendsoog TV studios in Gent.

Megan Davies, Managing Director, International, at Acast, said: “It’s important for Acast to support podcasters of all shapes and sizes, in all our markets around the world — and Belgium is no exception. We see great potential in this region, with a number of fantastic creators already emerging, and can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Maarten Bovee, Belgian Podcast Awards founder, said: “Acast is a global podcasting powerhouse, so it’s a huge boost to have them on board — and, with their support, the first ever Belgian Podcast Awards are sure to be a great success.”

Acast Grows Team in Germany Looking to Build On its Success in the Region

Acast, the world’s leading independent podcast company, is further growing its German offering by adding two new positions to its sales team in the region. As Key Account Managers, Andre Schatz and Mario Bruhn will be based on Munich and Hamburg respectively, with a remit to build in Acast’s successes this year, and to continue to drive the company’s growth in Germany.

Both Hamburg and Munic play a central role for Acast, as many of the leading German media and creative agencies – and major brands – are based there. With the two new hires, Acast wants to ensure that it is closer to its current and potential partners, to better cultivate and expand cooperation and relationships.

The goal is also to expand into other German cities in the near future, with additional positions across the region set to be filled in the coming year.

Acast’s positive performance in Germany this year means revenue in the market more than doubled compared to the previous year. Shows that are part of the Acast Creator Network, such as Weltwach and Fette Gedanken are growing steadily – opening up more and more to monetization via various advertising products.

Such growth gives advertisers more choice and more inventory for their messages — and the demand is already there. One of the biggest developments in this area has been Acast’s programmatic advertising offering, which allows for automated podcast media buying. Throughout 2021, numerous agency trading desks have been connected and set up with both Private Marketplace (PMP) and Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) deals.

Acast has become a one-stop shop meeting the various needs of clients in the audio space, not least due to high demand for all the advertising products the Acast Marketplace offers (audio ads, sponsorships, branded content, and so on). While host-read sponsorships are still the most popular ad format among clients, the demand for reach and scalability continues to grow.
Globally, more than 300 million users listen to podcasts hosted on Acast each month, meaning Acast can offer huge opportunities for German creators who are looking to grow — especially as the brand champions the open podcast ecosystem, where shows are made available to listeners everywhere.

Alexander Koberstein, Acast’s Head of Sales, Germany, said: “It can sometimes feel like we’re a little early, but we can see from other markets which trends are going to be big — and we’re using that knowledge to make sure we have the right answers for the German media industry.
“There’s a great need to use podcast audio in more creative ways — but, at the same time, many brands still have little sense of how to translate their values and branding into audio due to the ‘intimacy’ of the medium. That’s where Acast comes in.”

Yann Thebault, Regional Managing Director at Acast, added: “Germany is an important market for Acast, but we still have a lot to do. We’re diversifying our tools for creators with launches like Acast+ — a set of powerful new subscription options — and will continue to adapt them to give podcasters more ways to create new revenue streams for their podcasts. The growth we’ve achieved throughout 2021 is just the beginning, and I’m already looking forward to what next year will look like.”

Acast and BBC Renew International Podcast Deal

Acast, one of the most eminent podcast platforms, has renewed its podcast arrangement with the BBC. The deal means that Acast will continue to monetize BBC podcasts through advertising outside of the UK.

Acast and the BBC first started working together in 2018, when the BBC first opened up advertising space in its podcasts internationally. Since then, Acast and the BBC have worked to increase the number of listeners as well as the revenues for the BBC’s impressive podcast portfolio, which covers news, drama, factual and entertainment. During this period, the BBC has launched over 300 new shows and Acast has helped to position the BBC as one of the world’s leading podcast producers.

The new three-year agreement covers all BBC podcasts available outside of the UK and will see Acast support the broadcaster to further grow its podcast audience and revenue in key markets, including the US.

Jonathan Wall, Controller of BBC Sounds, said: “We know how much people enjoy listening to the BBC’s trusted news, brilliant entertainment podcasts and radio programmes around the world. It’s also vital that we bring revenue back to the BBC on behalf of the license fee payer so we can invest in more valued content for our audience, so its great to be continuing to work with Acast to achieve that.”

“The BBC began producing podcasts in 2004, long before Acast even existed – it truly is the original podcasting powerhouse. It’s been a very strong three years for its podcast business, and for Acast, and we’ve both been at the heart of an industry that has grown exponentially during that time, To renew our partnership for another term is a real endorsement of Acast’s people, our technology and our vision, and we look forward to supporting the BBC as a global podcasting player for many years to come,” said Acast CEO, Ross Adams.

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.