Australia radio network mulls raising podcast rates above radio rates

Southern Cross Austereo, one of the largest radio and media groups in Australia, has signalled that it might raise its podcast advertising rates a bove its radio ad rates. The message came from CEO Grant Blackley, along with a financial release for fiscal 2017 that showed a 41% profit increase on 7.5% revenue gain. The year-over-year success was attributed to ad revenue growth.

“Certainly, through our association with PodcastOne in the US, [podcasting] is becoming a maturing business,” Blackley said. “It has moved effectively from zero dollars to what is forecast to be a $550m market.”

The chief executive was referring to an alliance with PodcastOne which created PodcastOne Australia and co-promotion. The potentially equal or higher rates than radio are measured on a CPM basis. “The time will come where we can achieve not only comparable, but potentially premium CPM for that, because of the unique nature of that asset,” Blackley said. He noted that SCA would “spearhead” podcast content development, especially local stories.

Blackley also observed that podcasting has accelerated and matured in the U.S., and he expects the trend to repeat in Australia, leading to what he called “premium” CPMs — the cost advertisers pay per thousand plays of an advertisement. In RAIN’s conversations with American network heads, off-the-record CPM quotes range from $20 to $80 — a wide breadth, indicative of both variability and the high value some advertisers place on podcasting’s unique values.

“Fundamentally, advertisers can choose the style of environment they wish to be in and it’s a very safe environment, and that’s important in today’s market,” Blackley said.

Brad Hill