iHeartMedia announced last week that it will buy Triton Digital from The E. W. Scripps Company for $230 million. Triton Digital provides technology that powers podcasts, supports streaming and monetization strategies, and measures audience reach and results for clients of all sizes. This acquisition will allow iHeartMedia to provide audio content to podcast producers and advertisers along with full-service ad capabilities.
According to Podtrac, in January 2021, iHeartRadio was the top podcast publisher globally with a U.S. unique monthly audience of 29,091,000. The podcast publisher had 253 million global downloads and streams and 539 active shows. iHeartMedia estimates they reach 9 out of 10 Americans every month with podcasts featuring Bobbi Brown, Will Ferrell, Charlamagne, Esther Choi, Chelsea Handler, Questlove, Shonda Rhimes and others. In addition to its podcasts, iHeartMedia owns 848 live broadcast stations and offers its audio services on more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices. iHeartRadio has 144 million registered users.
“Total advertising technology and data solution”
“Adding Triton Digital and its industry leading services to the iHeartMedia audio ecosystem establishes iHeartMedia as the only company with a total audio advertising technology and data solution,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc., in a February 17, 2021 announcement.
“iHeart, with our strong leadership position in podcasting, digital radio and broadcast, already provides cutting edge audio management, programmatic and data solutions for the broadcast radio, digital audio and podcasting industries, and this acquisition further strengthens our position as the No. 1 audio company in America and provides unique — and critical — solutions for the industry and for advertisers,” Pittman added.
Triton Digital’s technology and measurement tools complement iHeartMedia’s current ad tech services and data and programmatic platforms to further serve the podcast industry, iHeartMedia said. The company also said they will be the first and only company in the audio marketplace that provides four distribution methods for audio (on-demand, broadcast and digital streaming radio, and podcasting) and the ability to service all audio assets programmatically.
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Available in more than 50 countries, Triton Digital provides third-party digital audio and podcast measurement tools to help advertisers make decisions about where to spend their ad dollars. Powered by Webcast Metrics, Triton Digital offers clients a monthly Ranker report with detailed metrics for global podcast performance. The report measures average active sessions, total listening hours, session starts, and average time spent listening.
“We are thrilled to join the iHeartMedia family,” said Neal Schore, CEO of Triton Digital. “We remain deeply committed to providing the world’s broadcasters, podcasters, and online audio publishers with continuously innovated, best-in-class solutions and services for online audio management, advertising, and consumption data, and are well positioned to enhance iHeartMedia’s value proposition to audiences and advertisers.”
Last October, iHeartMedia acquired Voxnest, a podcast marketplace that provides podcast analytics, enterprise publishing tools, programmatic integration and targeted ad serving. Since 2015, iHeartMedia has also acquired Radiojar (2019), Jelli Inc. (2018) and Unified.
The podcast business is booming, and companies like iHeartMedia are clamoring to get to the top. In this case, iHeartMedia is at the top, far above its competitors, according to Podtrac. NPR is in second place with 24 million U.S. unique monthly listeners with 212 million global downloads and streams and 47 shows. The New York Times is third with 11.2 million U.S. monthly listeners with 111.8 million global downloads and streams and 15 shows. iHeartMedia has the technology and reach to stay on top and, with acquisitions like Triton Digital, they are likely to stay there for a while.