NPR: Podcast sponsorship revenue will exceed broadcast sponsorships in 2020

“A huge return on investment for us and a major growth engine for our business.” –Deborah Cowan, Chief Financial Officer, NPR

NPR has long been a leader in podcasting, and now the organization is forecasting breakthrough financial returns on the audio format. Deborah Cowan, chief financial officer at NPR, said that the network has projected that corporate sponsorship revenue from podcasts will reach $55 million in the 2020 fiscal year. She added that the public media group is expecting about $50 million in podcast advertising by the end of 2019. This puts podcast revenue on track to exceed revenue from broadcast sources.

Cowan shared the latest figures during the public media group’s membership meeting on September 5. She noted that podcasts have been a “huge return on investment for us and a major growth engine for our business.”

NPR is anticipating that 2020 will see total sponsorship revenue of $114.5 million. Podcasts are part of the group’s digital projects, which are expected to provide $61.8 million, or 54%, of the total. Broadcast and event sponsorships are expected to make up the remaining share.

“The bulk of the revenue from podcasts is plowed back into the news department and the news magazines,” said Jarl Mohn, outgoing CEO for NPR. “You could argue that more money should be pushed back … into the podcasting.”

NPR’s total revenue projection for 2020 is $267-million, which includes sponsorship and other line items in NPR’s finances such as donation, government support, and grants. The revenue projection was not broken out into its components in coverage of the board meeting.

Anna Washenko