Podcast Network Panoply Introduces New Ad Platform

Megaphone Is Supposed to Make Advertising on Podcasts Easier

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The Megaphone platform includes dynamic ad asertion capabilities to let podcast publishers insert new ads into old episodes.
The Megaphone platform includes dynamic ad asertion capabilities to let podcast publishers insert new ads into old episodes. Credit: Courtesy Panoply
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Podcasters, like TV networks and digital media companies, have their own unique advertising challenges. For one, ads that were inserted into a podcast when it first aired a year or two ago won't often be relevant when someone discovers the episode today.

Panoply, the Slate Group's podcasting arm, saw something that could help with that in Audiometric, a podcasting content management system and ad insertion technology that it purchased from two Australian brothers last summer.

After tweaking and adapting the technology, Panoply is now reintroducing it as Megaphone.

It allows for one-click insertion of ads into podcasts, geo-targeting of ads to specific podcast consumers, and A/B testing to see what's working best. Its dynamic ad insertion capabilities also let podcast publishers place new ads in back episodes, an potentially remunerative capability for podcast publishers that have extensive archives.

"This technology ensures that people will get the latest and most appropriate ad for them," Panoply Chief Content Officer Andy Bowers said.

The platform will be available to all of Panoply's partners, which include publishers such as New York magazine and The Huffington Post. The Wall Street Journal has already launched 13 podcasts using the Megaphone system.

Panoply has also inked New York-based Gimlet Media and its six podcasts as a customer. In the future, Megaphone could be made more widely available to aspiring podcasters who are looking to make a buck off their craft.

Mr. Bowers said Panoply is in discussion with other podcast networks about licensing Megaphone, but the company hasn't yet worked up a business plan for smaller podcast operators.

Panoply is hoping that Megaphone will give podcasters and advertisers more data to work with. At present, podcast download totals are the primary engagement metric used across the industry.

"I think most people involved with podcasts ... would agree that podcast metrics are not where we want them to be," Mr. Bowers said.

"We will be able to bundle like podcasts with like audiences to go scale against those like audiences," said Matt Turck, chief revenue officer at Panoply. "At some point we'll be able to project out demographics and target out those podcasts against specific demographics."

Panoply's director of product, Joel Withrow, said the company is working to give advertisers live access to a progress report on their podcast campaigns. That capability could be offered starting in the second quarter, he said.

Panoply now counts more than 100 advertising partners, said Mr. Turck, who formerly served as Slate's publisher.

"Business is good," he said, "not only across the Panoply network but across other podcasting networks."