Podcasting played a starring role in the Q2 earnings call from Cumulus Media, representing the reporting period ending June 30.
“Podcast listenership growth continues to outpace expectations,” President/CEO Mary Berner stated. Noting the IAB projection that overall podcast revenue will reach $650-million in 2020, Berner is positioning Cumulus’ Westwood One Podcast Network to bite into a $10-million share this year. The growth has been quick: “For the whole of 2016, Westwood One podcast revenue was only a $100,000 and now, 18 months later, our current trajectory has us on track to see $10 million in revenue this year,” Berner said.
She noted that the company is shifting revenue to invest in the business. Mary Berner also disclosed that its podcasts served 35-million downloads in a recent month.
The company owns and operates podcasts by political celebrity pundit Ben Shapiro and other hosts in the Daily Wire cluster, and shows from Dave Rubin (The Rubin Report) and Mark Levin.
Notwithstanding all the attention on digital grown (90% increase of digital revenue in the first half of 2018), the call emphasized cash flow-positive traditional broadcasting, while acknowledging that “local revenue in particular is challenging.” Taking a holistic view, Berner referred to “the broader audio marketplace” that includes podcasting, stream listening, and smart speakers.