IAB Podcast Upfront Day 2

The IAB Podcast Upfront continued with Day 2 on Thursday. See our coverage of Day 1 HERE. In this post, we present a running inventory of today’s virtual-event action. Day 2 of the preeminent podcast showcase to advertisers featured nine podcast publishers and networks offering as many different styles of video presentation.


Day 2 hosts were Francesca Ramsey (lead host for the entire three-day event) and co-host Chris Jericho (host of Talk is Jericho). They were an amiable, fun-natured team with plenty of hilarity kept on the rails by Ramsey’s disciplined hosting chops.


ESPN’s Pablo Torre, host of ESPN Daily Podcast, wass live in this session, not prerecorded — perhaps uniquely in this year’s Upfront. Scott Van Pelt (Host, Sports Center) joined him; they talked about the importance of sport as “the great connector.” Every word spoken during the Upfront is targeted to the buy side which is continually evaluating media categories, audience segments, and leading podcast personalities.

Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports took the next segment, and founder Dave Portnoy talked about founding the company as a newspaper. Following his intro was a series of dynamic, quick-cut videos celebrating the network’s shows, and sports generally. But overall, this Upfront segment emphasized the company’s diversification beyond sports. The Chicks in the Office podcast got a promotional segment to illustrate the network’s diversity. On the same line of diversification beyond sports, Call Her Daddy enjoyed a video promo in which host Alex Cooper told the buy-side audience: “Everyone wants to look like us, everyone wants to dress like us.” PlanBri Uncut followed  the same promo tactic.

Those female-hosted shows helped balance the male-dominated sports shows. CEO Erika Nardini offered a segment describing the network’s increasingly diversified audience: “We are growing the next generation of female stars.”


ViacomCBS appeared at the IAB Podcast Upfront for the first time. In a personality montage, Alex Trebec, Tiger Woods, James Corden, Joe Biden, and the Statue of Liberty appeared — not necessarily connected to podcasting but definitely showing the range of the parent network. Two-second movie clips were shown. “Escape With Us” was the tagline, and the point was to emphasize the cross-media reach of CBS.

Uniquely, ViacomCBS did not provide any segment hosts. Trevor Noah, Rita Moreno, and others interstitially appeared in the midst of a cartoon robot voicing promos for custom ad reads and audience size (“1.6-million uniques”). There was linkage between television and on-demand audio: “Podcasts can tag-team with television.” There was a quick recitation of metrics supporting the back-and-forth of audiences between the two platforms.

Vox Media Podcast Network

In Vox’s first participation at the Upfront, Sean Rameswaram (host of Today, Explained) and Marty Moe (President, Vix Media Studios) were key presenters. Rameswaram conducted an interview with his boss, who monted that the company’s podcast effort “is built on top of and connected to a major modern media company.” In talking about its relationship with different types of advertisers, Moe said, “Mattresses and toothbrushes are great. We’re also seeing more and more brand advertisers than ever before. And we’re offering new ways to engage with us.”

The presentation touched on stickiness, and one metric cited was that listeners rank podcasts above social media when it comes  to engagement (no data on that). Featured speakers included Stella Bugbee and Avery Trufelman of The Cut (featured in the latest episode of our Pod Drop podcast).

Also announced: Nilay Patel is taking over the Recode Decode interview show from host and creator Kara Swisher, and rebooting it as a new show called Decoder with Nilay Patel. Patel is Editor in Chief of Vox’s The Verge tech site. The new interview podcast will launch this fall.

American Public Media

American Public Media came on modestly (“some people night not have heard of APM”) but with pride in its storytelling. Nora Mclnerny (host, Terrible, Thanks for Asking) hosted the segment. Promoted shows included The Splendid Table and Marketplace, both of which were founded as radio shows. Julie Andrews briefly appeared in a pre-recorded video to promote APM generally and her kid-oriented reading podcast, Julie’s Library. Molly Wood advocated for Marketplace (she hosts Marketplace Tech and co-hosts Make Me Smart). Francis Lam, host of The Splendid Table, seemed to recognize that APM’s image might be tightly associated with broadcast radio, and said: “APM is changing with the times.”


Acast led of its segment with a stark, gray-and-white presentation that was oddly riveting. the company self-described as “the biggest, most creative, fully brand-safe exchange.” Brian Danzis (Managing Director of the Americas) talked about the global complexity of the podcast industry, and Acast’s reach. Stephanie Lee (Content Partnership Manager) evangelized Acast’s partnership with the BBC. Dylan Haskins (Comissioning Executive, Podcasts, BBC) joined the presentation.


Podcast ad attribution company Podsights hosted eight mini-presentations discussing the effectiveness of podcast advertising generally, best practices for building campaigns, and explanations of attribution. Here’s the list of participants:

  • Dan Benporat, Director of Analytics & Digital Media, Wondery
  • Sam Bloom, CEO, Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media
  • Jay Green, SVP Strategy and Analytics, Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, part of Entercom’s Podcast Network
  • Cassandra LaPrairie, Audio Marketer, TransferWise
  • KC Murphy, Director, Performance Marketing, Barstool Sports
  • Paul Riismandel, Senior Director of Marketing and Insights, Midroll Media
  • Brett Robinson, VP of Ad Operations, NPR
  • Hilary Ross, Vice President of Podcast Media, Veritone One
  • Marshall Williams, CEO & Partner, Ad Results Media

Pushkin Industries

Pushkin Industries, created by Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg. Gladwell succinctly expressed his commitment to distinctive ad reads and described stories of a deep creative relationship with advertisers. According to Gladwell: “People come to Revisionist History for the ads, and stay for the show.” Pushkin announced a new podcast: What Makes a Marriage Work, hosted by married couple  Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue — launch date mid-November.

The New York Times

The day ended with The New York Times, which delivered a straightforward presentation of gleaming numbers associated with The Daily, times-owned Serial, and others. Ira Glass, Julie Snyder, and Sarah Koenig (all with Serial) joined Seb Tomich (Global Head of Advertising and Marketing Solutions) for a panel. Asked about what is different post-acquisition, Ira Glass observed, “We came from public radio. So there was never any money to promote anything. We’ve never had conversations about marketing before.” Glass also noted, “I feel that advertisers haven’t understood podcasting. That a podcast buy can be as big as a TV buy.” Michael Barbaro, host of The Daily, joined the presentation after the Serial panel. One of his remarks: “The audience for The Daily, if you do the numbers, is as big as FOX News.”

Brad Hill