New PodWave Market Aims to Help Brands Advertise on Podcasts

National Public Media Handling Ad Sales for Marketplace From AdsWizz

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Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz.
Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz. Credit: Courtesy of AdsWizz

Podcasting, like VR, is top of mind these days for publishers that are interested in trying out new formats. But as with VR, there is a need, eventually, to see a return.

With that in mind, AdsWizz, an ad tech company, announced plans Wednesday for a marketplace called PodWave that will allow marketers to advertise on podcasts in a "quasi-programmatic" way.

National Public Media, which sells sponsorships for NPR and PBS, will handle sales for PodWave starting July 15, AdsWizz CEO Alexis van de Wyer said.

PodWave has some competition in the podcast space. Panoply, from The Slate Group, helps publishers introduce and produce podcasts, and in January announced plans for a dynamic ad-insertion technology that will help publishers place ads in old podcast episodes.

National Public Media will carve out a special team to sell PodWave and help marketers tailor their messages. Over 500 shows and publishers will participate, according to Mr. van de Wyer, although he said it was too soon to identify any. "Leading names" are among them, he said.

The marketplace will appeal to publishers "who want a more automated sales platform," said Gina Garrubbo, president-CEO at NPM.

"The idea is: if people want to buy a specific network show, they can go directly to a publisher," she said. "But it's time-consuming, and it's not the way a lot of agencies and brands to want to buy media. ... This is a quasi-programmatic solution, a scalable solution, that makes it easy for brands to target specific genres, specific demographics, across multiple publishers."

Marketers will be able to target their message at podcasts that focus on the sports, entertainment, news, and lifestyle categories.

Ms. Garrubbo said NPM's role in selling PodWave should help convince publishers that the marketers who sign up will be high quality, which in turn will attract more publishers.

NPR podcasts, she said, have less commercial, more subtle advertising pitches ("a more muted message"), which she predicted will appeal to publishers that prefer such an approach.

Podcast advertisements, often read by show hosts, are more seamless than TV ads, and can often blend in with the rest of a program in the same way a high-quality, digital branded content piece can fit into the look and voice of a website.

The companies behind PodWave began discussing the service with brands and agencies this week, Ms. Garrubbo said. PodWave could "absolutely" be a major source of revenue for NPM, she said.

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