Founded out of Stockholm in 2014, Acast is a prominent brand in the podcast technology space, serving as a host and distribution platform that allows outlets including The Guardian and The Economist to publish their podcasts to pretty much any app, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Acast also allows podcasters to dynamically insert advertisements into their shows.
Podchaser, for its part, was founded out of Oklahoma in 2016, and closed a $4 million series A round of funding last year. Podchaser is like an IMDb for podcasts, allowing users to search for everything and anything to do with podcasts, including reading and posting reviews and filtering by category.
Podcasting is set to become a $4 billion industry by 2024 in the U.S. alone, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, representing almost a threefold increase on the advertising revenue generated last year. These numbers are important when assessing why Acast is buying Podchaser.
While Podchaser will continue as a separate brand and business once the acquisition closes, Acast said that it plans a “deep integration” of Podchaser's data, giving its customers “authoritative, structured metadata.” Indeed, while Podchaser is a consumer-focused platform in terms of how it aids discoverability, it's also a utility for advertisers and marketers, as it allows them to find the most suitable podcasts to sell their wares to. Targeted advertising will play an important part of the fast-growing podcasting industry, and it's why Acast is bringing Podchaser under its wing.
Acast is also quick to position itself as a champion of open podcasting, in contrast to some of the other giants of the podcasting world such as Spotify — a company that is continuing to invest heavily in the podcasting medium. While Spotify and its ilk are creating what many argue are walled podcasting gardens replete with exclusive shows and minimal data insights, Acast touts its platform-agnostic ethos — one that gives advertisers deep insights into activities across the podcasting spectrum.
“Together we will unlock the vast opportunity that we know exists for open podcasting to not just have parity with the data held by closed, paywalled platforms, but to leap forward and surpass them,” Acast CEO Ross Adams said in a press release.