Borrowing the model of Upfronts from the television industry, where new shows are introduced to advertisers and agencies, iHeartMedia hosted its first Soundfront to preview new on-demand audio programs.
Gayle Troberman, iHeart’s CMO, evangelized for audio and podcasting. “In the age of visual distraction and shorter attention spans audio has the ability to break through and get heard better than any other advertising. We are seeing increased engagement in audio programming both on air and via podcast, and original audio forces us to get back to the basics of telling stories simply and honestly, which consumers love.”
Troberman believes that advertisers under-index in audio buying. “We believe most marketers are massively under invested in the power of sound and the iHeartMedia Soundfront is our opportunity to challenge the industry to explore the creative potential of sound to tell and sell better.”
iHeartMedia introduced three wholly original podcasts. Skybound Rundown is about indie gaming. Who Is Marty Hirsch is promoted as a “mockumentary” (inspired by the famous Christopher Guest movie This Is Spinal Tap) which builds the history of a legendary (fictional) music icon.
In addition, iHeartMedia is partnering with Trium Entertainment to create and launch five new audio podcasts and four new video programs. One of the podcasts, Get Mic’d, is a talent search for a new iHeartMedia DJ from among social media stars. Another is Science of Success, which examines what factors contribute to making a hit, in music and other fields.
iHeartMedia’s Soundfront, which took place Wednesday night, represents the latest networking venture to organize and monetize the growing on-demand audio category. As awareness of podcasting grows, and listening grows in the overall audio share of ear, advertisers interest naturally focuses on the marketing opportunity. Most recently-launched podcast networks engage sales resources to develop advertiser campaigns across program audiences. The Soundfront is the first we’ve heard of which borrows from the TV industry to excite interest in new programs.
The shows previewed in iHeart’s Soundfront will be heard in their long forms on iHeartRadio, while shorter versions will be distributed in iHeart’s national radio network.