Advertising revenue in the podcast sector in 2020 — like ad spending in other media — is taking a hit because of the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. podcast advertising revenue is expected to grow 14.7% in 2020, to around $812 million, according to the 4th annual IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Study, which was prepared by PwC. That growth rate is down considerably from the 48% jump IAB’s study found for 2019, when U.S. podcast advertising revenue hit an estimated $708.1 million.
For the report, as in prior years, PwC sent a survey to companies in mid-March to gauge 2019 revenue and forecast 2020-22. The same group was resurveyed in mid-April to recalibrate COVID-19 spread.
In March 2020, podcast ad spending was down 5% compared with prior plan, the study found. It was down 16% in April, 15% in May and 19% in June, per the IAB report.
Podcast spending will rebound slightly in the back half of the year, the report predicts, but will still be down in Q3 (-8% versus prior plan) and Q4 (-4%).
Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, “we saw advertisers blacklist and block news sites and search terms while they pivoted messaging to avoid seeming tone-deaf,” said Sue Hogan, IAB’s SVP of research and analytics.
The biggest categories among podcast advertisers are direct-to-consumer brands (22%) and financial services (16%), with health and wellness and home and appliance the largest DTC subcategories, per the report. News is the leading podcast content genre for U.S. podcast advertisers, capturing 22% of revenue, followed by comedy (17%) and society and culture (13%).
The July 2020 edition of the IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Study is available at this link. The report is sponsored by Spotify, WarnerMedia, ABC Audio, AdsWizz (part of SiriusXM), AudioBoom, Authentic, DAX, Entercom, Market Engenuity, Megaphone, Stitcher’s Midroll Media (which SiriusXM is in the process of acquiring), National Public Media (NPM), Slate, Vox Media, Westwood One and Wondery.
Meanwhile, IAB is hosting a virtual 2020 Podcast Upfront, set to run Sept. 9-11, aimed at advertisers and media buyers to preview upcoming podcast programming.