iHeartMedia, the largest audio media company in the U.S. and the top podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, today launched new brand safety technology for podcast advertising powered by Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds foundational podcasting technology. iHeartMedia is the first to go live with Sounder’s AI and Machine Learning (ML) technology, giving brands episode-specific safety assurance, a level of precision previously unavailable in podcast inventory, at scale.
With the rapidly growing podcast advertising market expected to surpass $3 billion in 2023, there has never been a greater time to prioritize brand safety. Sounder is the first to help advertisers deem if a podcast episode is brand safe before an ad runs, enabling advertisers to plan and execute campaigns with confidence.
“Audio had been without a truly operative brand safety tool that gave advertisers the ability to run without risk at a national scale. The process was labor intensive, fragmented, and often failed to deliver the level of protection brands truly needed,” said iHeartMedia Chief Data Officer Brian Kaminsky. “This new tool changes the future and opens up endless possibilities. Brands are now able to opt out of content they deem unsafe and inappropriate. Our possibilities. Brands are now able to opt out of content they deem unsafe and inappropriate. Our partnership with Sounder has set a benchmark for transparency in transparency in audio advertising that has been long overdue.”
“At a time when brand-trust is eroding overall, marketers are excited about the power of the podcast advertising to deliver authenticity, impact, and rebuild trust,” said iHeartMedia Chief Marketing Officer Gayle Troberman. “With iHeartMedia’s new brand safety capabilities, marketers can leverage the full power of human connection and contextual relevance that podcasts provide, without the fear and risk of unsafe inventory.”
“Coming out of CES, marketer demand for podcast marketing is at an all-time high,” Troberman continued. “But they’re not willing to accept unnecessary risk to do so. This tool solves this challenge by providing objective, third-party brand safety verification and unlocking access to more content that moves the needle for marketers.”
With the tool, powered by Sounder’s technology, iHeartMedia can perform brand suitability analysis, topic analysis, content summarization, and dynamic segmentation, ahead of an ad flight. Integrated directly into iHeartMedia’s podcast hosting platform Omni and ad-serving platform Triton, the technology interprets context and assesses risk for brands in seconds across the iHeartPodcast Network’s large and growing audience, from the biggest and most divers shows in the network, to brand safety verification at an episodic level for podcast advertisers, effectively unlocking thousands of hours of new, premium audio content for brands.
“Sounder’s brand safety and sustainability solutions are here to ushers in the next stage of growth for podcasting and audio advertising. Our technology provides the transparency needed for confident decision-making and transacting across publishers, agencies, and ad tech partners,” said Sounder CEO and Co-Founder Kal Amin. “As a key partner and strategic investor in Sounder, iHeartMedia has recognized the need for new brand safety tools and standards across audio.”
The iHeartPodcast Network is home to more than 750 iHeartPodcasts which span every category from business, sports, spirituality, and technology to entertainment, family, comedy, and true crime including leading podcasts such as The Ron Burgundy Podcast, Paper Ghosts, Fake Doctors, Real Friends, Atlanta Monster, You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton, The Laverne Cox Show, Las Culturistas, and Noble Blood, as well as over a hundred shows from iHeartMedia’s on-air talent – like the popular Bobbycast from its nationally-syndicated host Bobby Bones and The Breakfast Club radio show podcast. With this roster of hits, iHeartMedia has more top 10 shows on Podtrac than the next three podcast networks combined and twice as many podcasts with 1 million monthly downloads than the next largest podcast publisher.