Money continues to flow into the burgeoning podcast category as Bonnier Growth Media, a Swedish investment firm, today announced closing a $5-million capital investment in Acast, and podcast and advertising network, also in Sweden.
European expansion is the strategic purpose of the investment. Acast launched in October, 2013, and claims one-million monthly users listening to 12-million streams. The company plans a U.S. launch event — Acast apps and web listening are fully available now in our U.S. testing.
Acast provides a sign-up hosting platform for podcast creators. The company’s differentiation is partly based on multimedia add-ons — e.g. photos, links, and videos which can be attached to the on-demand audio programs. Acast brand marketing refers to this feature as bling, “fresh, exciting content that upgrades the listening experience and makes good stories great.”
Proprietary ad-insertion technology enables quick monetization for podcasters. Creators can choose insertion points and the platform does the rest. The pitch to advertisers includes audience targeting, statistics, and 3rd-party tracking. The topical nature of many podcasts can make audience segmenting more clear-cut to marketers through first-party data than it is in music.
Because of the multimedia bling technology, advertisers can insert video creative — an interesting enhancement of typical host-spoken, testimonial-style native advertising. (Video ads, and other bling, does not follow the stream into other players, like iTunes, Stitcher, audioBoom, etc..)
“We are convinced that Acast has a very interesting position on a growing podcast market,” said Bonnier Growth Media CEO Ulrika Saxon.