Pandora Buys AdsWizz to Move into Podcast Advertising

From Variety:

Pandora is acquiring San Mateo, Calif.-based digital audio ad tech startup Adswizz for $145 million in cash and stock, the company announced Wednesday. After the acquisition, Adswizz will continue to operate independently, but also power Pandora’s digital audio ad sales.

I’ve seen a bunch of coverage on this large tech news sites but I’ve not seen anyone write about the potential impact of this deal has on podcasting.

Adswizz offers a whole bunch of things for Pandora to better sell ads that appear between music tracks, but they also have a Dynamic Ad Insertion platform called ‘Ad Insertion Suite’.

Roger Lynch, Pandora CEO, has talked about pushing into podcasting earlier this year to create a genome project for podcasts and are the ‘exclusive’ streaming partner for Serial (which is why you won’t find Serial on Google Play or Spotify) and now they can offer an ad serving platform to their podcast partners. They can now power midroll podcast ads not just ‘inter-track’ ads. Why does Pandora care about podcasting? The same reason we’re seeing other music streaming services move into podcasting: the content is cheaper and drives longer listening sessions.

This deal can’t just be about podcasting though, as $145M is more than half of the $220M that the IAB projected the podcast ad industry to be worth in 2017. Paying 50% of the entire market value for a company isn’t great, so this would explain it is reported that Adswizz operate independently as a subsidiary of Pandora and continue to work with its existing partners. Adswizz advertises that it works with Spotify, Acast and iHeart so in a fun twist, Pandora could end up collecting revenue from their biggest competitors.