The sun has set, figuratively, and literally (upon the Western horizon’s mountainous Front Range), on Podcast Movement Denver, and what an exhilarating few days it was! As Sounder’s Marketing Manager, I had the privilege of representing our company at this year's event. My first-ever Podcast Movement experience did not disappoint between insightful sessions, electrifying discussions, and numerous invaluable connections. Below are some key takeaways that left a lasting impression on me and our team.
Video (read: YouTube) Killed the Audio Star?
Excuse the embellishment for punchy headline’s sake, but video was handily one of the biggest topics of discussion at last week’s gathering (along with monetization and AI… but more on those later!). This felt particularly timely following Sounder’s recent announcement of our strategic integration with IRIS.TV, which marked our noteworthy expansion into the connected TV space. Thursday’s keynote from Amplifi Media’s Steven Goldstein and Coleman Insights’ Jay Nachlis really drove this point home with the presentation of their study on “The New Rules of YouTube.” Goldstein ultimately concluded that “YouTube is not for every podcaster, and four out of 10 consumers still prefer to listen to their favorite podcast in an audio-only format. But these findings show a robust and engaged YouTube audience that represents a significant podcast audience development opportunity."
Monetization, Monetization, Monetization
Monetization remained a hot topic at the event, and for good reason. Creators are increasingly seeking sustainable revenue streams to scale income in support of their podcasting ventures, and Sounder is actively supporting these revenue streams through our partnerships with Audiohook, DAX, and more TBA in the weeks ahead. There were countless panels targeting creators detailing how to be more effective at monetizing their podcasts. The overarching theme that we ran into across many panels here is that podcasters cannot afford to leave any revenue on the table (and frankly, they shouldn’t have to). With programmatic and automated ad buying, creators are able to ensure maximum returns and ultimately reveal and monetize new audiences. Sounder’s various partnerships in this space aim to revolutionize podcast monetization, ensuring creators can maximize their earnings while delivering targeted, brand-safe, and relevant ads to listeners.
AI and Fostering Innovation
This one was no surprise to us here on team Sounder but bears special mention (what, did you think we rebranded ourselves from Sounder.fm to Sounder.ai last week just for the heck of it?). Innovation was at the heart of every discussion and AI messaging was unavoidable, from company booths to panel conversations. The event showcased the latest advancements in podcasting technology, reminding us that the industry is in a constant state of evolution. Sounder is committed to being at the forefront of this innovation, providing brands, agencies, publishers, and marketplaces with user-friendly tools that leverage AI and data analytics to improve discoverability, engagement, and monetization. Sure, I may be biased, but I genuinely believe that there has never been a more exciting time to be at the intersection of AI and podcasting.
Diversity and Inclusion
Notably (and understandably), diversity and inclusion took center stage in many discussions. The importance of the ongoing work Sounder and our industry are doing to drive equity for marginalized creators is not lost on me. Only a few weeks ago, my colleague Brittany Kandybowicz wrote an incredibly valuable blog post highlighting our study partnership with Urban One and what findings our joint research surfaced – I highly implore you to give it a read, and stay tuned for more from us on this topic. I am quite proud to be a part of a team that is passionate about facilitating an open dialogue around equity and breaking down long-held misconceptions that uncomfortable conversations are uniformly unsafe or that Black creator content is too risky. It was emboldening to witness the industry's dedication to amplifying underrepresented voices and creating content that resonates with diverse audiences. The emphasis on telling authentic stories and ensuring that every voice is heard resonated deeply with Sounder's commitment to providing an offering that serves to support diverse creators.
While there were numerous takeaways from this event, podcasting's success is driven largely by the power of its community and the intimacy of the medium. As we bid farewell to Podcast Movement Denver, I am left feeling invigorated by the energy, enthusiasm, and determination we encountered. We're more dedicated than ever to advancing podcasting through innovation, collaboration, and unwavering support on behalf of the incredible creators who bring powerful and interesting stories to life every day.
Thank you, Podcast Movement, for an unforgettable experience at the crossroads of technology and creativity. I’m already looking forward to being back for Podcast Movement Evolutions in LA next March.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates from Sounder as we continue to push the boundaries of the comprehensive audio data experience.