Trade publication Adweek is significantly expanding its investment in podcasting, creating an initial network of 12 ongoing series, including five internally produced new ones and four other existing business-focused podcasts from outside producers.
The creation of Adweek Podcasting Network reflects the growing power of the industry, especially as an advertising platform on which Adweek must report regularly, Juliette Morris, the publication’s recently appointed CEO, said in an exclusive interview.
“We already had (podcasts) that we’re incredibly proud of and (that) had strong listeners,” Morris said. “But we felt it was a really important time for us to dig deeper. One, people are starting to get back in their cars, commuting and getting out and two, people are on-video and zoomed in and so people want the opportunity to learn, to be inspired, to be informed, to grow in every way possible, and this is the perfect way to do that.
Although work on building the network began long before Morris took over as CEO three months ago, she said she was heavily committed to the initiative even during her hiring process. She was previously CEO of audio streaming service TuneIn and was well aware of the audience-building potential of audio content of all kinds.
Along with Adweek, a 47-year-old brand that began as a print-only publication focused on the advertising industry, marketing and related fields, the podcast network represents an important addition to the Adweek “ecosystem”, alongside live events, newsletters and its various product lines, Morris said.
“We believe in it, we’re optimistic,” Morris said. The company plans to spend a lot on marketing to increase awareness and likely other shows in the future, but “the majority of the investment comes from our talent and our brains.”
The network’s programming included thinking about how to better serve a wide range of audience interests in an industry that now includes influencer marketing, the rapidly changing creative agency industry, the challenges facing CMOs and many other things far beyond its traditional borders.
“When we started working on the network, we had four shows in individual silos,” said Al Mannarino, senior producer at Adweek Podcast Network. “They were all offered independently, so (let’s put them) under one umbrella, let’s promote them as a family. Then we started thinking about what we were missing.
The result is five new in-house produced shows that will launch over the next few weeks, Mannarino said, including:
*The speed of cultivationhosted by Suzy CEO Matt Britton, talking with industry leaders about changing consumer trends.
*The most powerful women in sports according to Adweekexamining notable women in sport and related brands, media and marketing
*Influential young peopleprofiling GenZ entrepreneurs and leaders
*Adweek presents…, featuring conversations with celebrities with business holdings, such as Jennifer Lopez, Shonda Rhimes, Alex Rodriguez, Tracee Ellis Ross, Elisabeth Moss and Jennifer Garner.
•Off Madisonfocused on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry.
Among the external agreements, there is one for The great failure an award-winning podcast produced and hosted by Debra Chen (disclosure: I have known Chen, who is based in the Los Angeles area, from the early days of her podcast). The big failure uses a podcasting-inspired sensibilityit is numerous true-crime shows to autopsy notorious business failures such as Enron and Quibi.
The other two externally produced shows added to the network are:
*brave tradefeaturing Rachel Tipograph, CEO of MikMak, and Sarah Hofstetter, President of Profitero, focused on e-commerce trends among the world’s biggest brands.
*Dinner forfeaturing journalist Kate Sullivan in conversation with entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators and others at their favorite restaurants.
Existing Adweek shows that are now part of the network include Yeah, it’s probably an announcement; CMO moves; The marketing business; and Metaverse Marketing.
Adweek partnered with independent podcast company Acast to build the network, a deal that was struck, Mannarino said, because the company “seemed so committed to working with us to launch this network.” Acast, based in Stockholm, hosts around 40,000 podcasts in 12 countries.
A crucial part of the deal is Acast’s work in developing dynamic ad insertion, finding the open spaces in a podcast where a targeted audio ad can be placed in a non-disruptive way.
Given Adweek’s position within the advertising industry, it is important that the company finds ways to maximize its advertising opportunities and technologies. The publication will rely on a joint sales effort between its own team and that of Acast, Morris said. She also plans additional initiatives in the coming months to further expand Adweek’s media footprint.
“This is just one of the many innovations, expansions and evolutions you’re going to see from Adweek over the next six, nine, 12 months,” Morris said. “I think we have an incredible base and platform to expand our reach and openness, and we can continue to drive this ecosystem, which is very different from what it was before.”