Podcast Industry Notches Another Acquisition With The iHeartMedia-Triton Digital Deal

Triton Digital iHeart Podcast

With iHeartMedia recently agreeing to purchase Triton Digital from E.W. Scripps for $230 million, it’s one more sign that there is no slowing down the thriving podcast industry.

iHeartMedia, the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster, now has digital audio measurement capabilities, as well as a new content delivery system that dynamically inserts ads into digital audio streams and podcasts – where Triton Digital hangs its hat.

Full disclosure: Although there are many podcast “tracking” tools that utilize the 1×1 image pixel or redirect tracking methods, LeadsRx is recommended by Triton Digital when its podcasting clients are looking for true multi-touch attribution for podcasts. Because LeadsRx is the podcast attribution solution that includes podcasting alongside other marketing campaigns such as Google and Facebook, marketers receive a complete view of their podcast marketing performance.

Here’s one take on the deal from MarketingDive: “IHeartMedia’s acquisition of Triton Digital is another sign of how media and technology companies aim to help marketers reach the growing audience for podcasts, whose key advantages for consumers are portability and flexibility.”

The continued upward trend of podcasts was 1 of 9 performance marketing trends we said to watch for in 2021. Here’s the excerpt from that blog post:


4. METEORIC GROWTH OF PODCASTS AND OTT WON’T SLOW DOWN

The rocketing growth of podcasts and over-the-top (OTT) channels will continue in 2021, meaning marketers will need to meet consumers where they are and measure the impacts of advertising on those channels. OTT and podcast providers are seeing their ad inventories being gobbled up as the demand for their programming continues to increase.

Spotify bought Megaphone for a reason – Spotify was out of ad space; Megaphone, the podcast-hosting company that also inserts and sells dynamic adds for podcasts, has ad capacity. Already a power player in the streaming of podcast content, Spotify is setting itself up to rule podcast advertising, becoming the main ad seller for podcast content inside and outside its network. This will not only upset the teacart of who advertises where, when and how, but Spotify will have access to listener data – again inside and outside its own platform.

Old-style static podcast ads that sat inside podcast programming on a loop are being replaced by dynamic advertising that can be updated and switched out based on listener habits. But to have the right listeners hearing the right ads at the right time takes mindful and unbiased use of listener data. Hosting services could tell advertisers where their audience was listening, from which device, and on what app. It’s not enough.

Spotify changes the game with access to names, billing information, location, age, programming preferences, devices used, and more.

Is it Google- or Facebook-level data? Not yet. But Spotify can take its 2020-launched capability to insert ads based on listenership on its platform and implement that technology outside of its own network (hence the Megaphone deal).

Spotify stands to gain a lot as advertisers seek to reach its 320 million monthly listeners. Now, Spotify owns the distribution rights to Megaphone and all of its programming, so advertisers can either contact their Spotify ad sales rep to reach its audience or choose to host a podcast on Megaphone so it can insert streaming ads on its programming.

Regardless, competition for advertising space means ad pricing will continue to go up – just look at Facebook and Google’s rising ad pricing. Measuring the effectiveness of podcast and OTT advertising is more critical than ever, and MarTech vendors specializing in multi-touch attribution are at the ready to provide data to advertisers now opting for these offline channels. The days of digital-only advertising aren’t over, but watch for a wave of ad dollars shifting to these non-digital offerings. Advertisers will demand proof of performance on these channels.


We could probably write a blog a week or more about the podcast industry and related trends, mergers and other topics tied to it. No doubt, accurately measuring your advertising performance on the many podcast marketing channels is more important than ever. Here are recent related blog posts around the podcast industry, particularly measuring performance:

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