Acast annual report: Defending and defining the podcast ad market

Global podcasting company Acast has released its 2023 annual report. In the company’s Q4 investor report (RAIN coverage HERE), Acast included a summary report for full-year 2023. The newer annual report offers a glossier presentation, turning numbers from the previous summary into graphs, adding expanded CEO comments, detailing the business from several angles, profiling board members, and more.

Key Points

A “year in brief” section highlights key points:

  • 2023 net sales totaled 1,636M Swedish SEK ($150M USD).
  • Gross margin was 32%
  • Operating loss: 259M SEK ($24M USD).

“Throughout 2023, we at Acast successfully navigated the challenges of balancing strict cost control while driving innovation and growth.” –Ross Adams, CEO, Acast

Markets & Global Reach

Interestingly, the company breaks down net sales timelines for its three largest markets: UK, USA, and Sweden:


Acast’s global reach is represented both in audience metrics and geographic representation. The image below conveys details of both:

The Pitch to Podcasters…

The annual report dives deeply into strategy and business modeling. It describes Platform benefits for podcast creators, and emphasizes that producers at all levels are welcome. An alluring graphic shows a steep payout growth curve over five years:

…and Advertisers

When it comes to illustrating advertiser benefits, Acast compares long-term return on ad spend in podcasting to other media categories:


Acast’s portfolio of ad-available podcasts is enormous. “The podcast world, like other creator-led media, thrives on reach and scale. The big hit podcasts, often helmed by well-known personalities or influencers, attract advertisers and media agencies with their large audiences. Alongside these are many lesser-known podcasts with equally loyal and engaged followings, appealing to advertisers seeking their audience.”

A graphic representation of this, dividing Acast’s inventory into three levels:

Defending and Defining the Podcast Ad Market


“Despite the increase in podcast advertising revenue and its strong appeal, there is still a significant gap between how much podcasts are consumed and the investments made in podcast advertising.” –Acast Annual Report


The oppositional trend above is illustrated in the annual report. Two graphs, when paired, show a rising advertising market (represented as annual growth rate) and the relative under-performance of podcast ad spending:

The Listener Market

What about reach? Acast sources data from Statista showing the global podcast listener market. (The graph below is based on self-declared monthly podcast listeners, from a 2023 study.


This write-up touches on 20 pages of a 94-page document. Topics include a sustainability report, a Board of Directors report, a corporate governance report, and auditor’s report, and a bit of shareholder information. Get the whole thing HERE.

Brad Hill