iHeartMedia Makes Strategic Investment in Fast-Growing Audio Intelligence Platform; Will Also Unlock New Discovery Tools for Listeners and Advanced Targeting Capabilities for Brands
(NEW YORK - Feb 16, 2022) iHeartMedia, the largest audio media company in the U.S. and the top podcast publisher globally according to Podtrac, announced a partnership today with Sounder, an audio intelligence platform that builds foundational podcasting technology to drive monetization, brand safety and discoverability for audio content. iHeartMedia will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud to provide both established and emerging podcast creators the best AI and Machine Learning (ML) tools to help them gain critical, real-time insights to accelerate growth and improve monetization. With more than 750 iHeartRadio Original podcasts -- including some of the biggest podcasts and creators in the world -- now using this technology, these new capabilities will rapidly become the industry standard.
iHeartMedia will leverage Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud’s automated best-in-class AI and ML brand safety solution to ensure advertisers can confidently invest in the iHeartPodcast Network’s expansive and rapidly growing line-up of diverse content with more than 392 million downloads and streams a month (more downloads than the next three podcast publishers combined). The brand safety solution enables iHeartMedia’s marketing partners to buy across a wide array of creators with the assurance that the content adheres to industry safety standards. The technology will quickly expand to also allow advertisers to customize their brand safety guidelines, unlocking new and more diverse publishers to provide even more effective ad placements.
“As the leader in podcasting, the iHeartPodcast Network hosts the most diverse group of high-quality creators in the world and produces the most podcasts that generate over one million plus downloads. It’s critical that we learn from the challenges advertisers have had with video and social media to deliver safety tools and controls that allow brands to customize their campaigns and ensure that their ads will be delivered at scale in a brand safe environment,” said iHeartMedia Chief Data Officer Brian Kaminsky. “Our partnership with Sounder underscores our commitment to innovation in audio advertising and our goal of creating more meaningful connections between advertisers and listeners. In addition to simple brand safety, this partnership will also unlock brand suitability tools that will dynamically align brands with content and creator-sentiments that supports their goals and objectives.”
Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud enables large publishers the ability to perform brand suitability analysis, topic analysis, content summarization, and dynamic segmentation. These solutions help accelerate the size and engagement of the iHeartPodcast Network’s large and growing audience from the biggest and most diverse shows in the network, to the rapidly growing number of up-and-coming creators. Audio Data Cloud leverages Sounder’s proprietary automated speech recognition technology and powerful AI/ML models. In doing so, it unlocks uncaptured value for all enterprise audio content.
In addition to this commercial partnership, iHeartMedia has also announced a strategic investment in Sounder, as lead investor in the company’s Series A round.
“The audio advertising industry is set for continued explosive growth, but requires the rigor and capabilities of other media,” said Joe Robinson, iHeartMedia’s President of Corporate Development and Ventures. “Sounder has cracked the code on enabling contextual targeting for audio, ensuring brand safety, and promoting discoverability.”
“We’re excited to have iHeartMedia as a commercial partner and strategic investor. We are eager to help iHeartMedia, the world's leading audio publisher, realize the true value of audio,” Sounder CEO and Co-founder Kal Amin said. “With Sounder’s Audio Data Cloud, we’re integrating a layer of data that is absolutely crucial for advertisers to take advantage of the world’s high level of engagement with podcasts. While podcast advertising is growing fast, it’s still a nascent business when compared to traditional radio advertising. Audio Data Cloud will accelerate podcast advertising growth, bringing new advertisers, higher ad spends, and more effective campaigns to the medium. This is a gamechanger on all fronts.”
The iHeartPodcast Network is home to more than 750 iHeartRadio Original Podcasts 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 iHeart’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, iHeart 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.
Sounder is the end-to-end podcast management platform that brings Audio Intelligence to creators and enterprises. Founded in 2019 by former Google and Spotify executives, Sounder connects creators and enterprises to the Audio Intelligence solutions they need to accelerate their content’s discovery, engagement, and monetization potential. Through the Audio Data Cloud, Sounder gives enterprises access to insights that inform strategy and improve monetization. Learn more and join Sounder’s community of creators at sounder.fm.