Media Media Planning and Buying Ad Spend

Global acquires podcast hosting and monetization platform Captivate

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By Chris Sutcliffe | Senior reporter

December 20, 2021 | 5 min read

The collision between the radio and podcasting worlds continues as Global announces it has acquired the podcast hosting and monetization platform Captivate.

The acquisition sees Global take control of the Sheffield-based podcasting company, which currently boasts 14,000 podcasts as part of its network. Most importantly for Global, the company has developed a range of features that aid with some of the biggest obstacles to monetizing podcasts, from distribution to first-party attribution and promotion.

Stephen Miron, group CEO at Global, said: “We’re delighted to be acquiring Captivate, a best in class self-serve platform for podcast creators, with access to market leading analytics and monetization. This acquisition will enable us to support all talent in the podcast community from the very largest to emerging new talent. We believe that this platform, combined with the massive scale and reach of Global Player and Dax (digital ad exchange), will give all our podcast partners an unrivaled advantage.”

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The acquisition allows Global new monetization options and a wider audio portfolio

It follows Global’s purchase of digital audio content and technology startup Remixd in October of this year. That company’s technology allows digital publishers to convert online written articles into audio content with targeted adverts inserted. As Global continues its focus on scaling digital audio, both acquisitions allow it to produce and monetize increasing amounts of audio content.

In the first five months of 2021, podcast ad spend in the US alone rose 24%, with 3,500 brands spending over $220m to reach addressable audiences on those platforms. At the same time, however, there is considerable headroom for growth in the podcast audio space: in September, Warc found that while 31% of the average consumer’s media consumption is now audio, only 8.8% of the average media budget is allocated to audio.

Obstacles to growth

Fully 25% of advertisers do not invest in audio at all, frequently citing the perceived immaturity of the audio space and a lack of addressable metrics and flexible advertising opportunities.

Captivate co-founder Mark Asquith (who will remain with the company as it integrates into Global) said: “Our vision for Captivate has always been clear: to proactively help independent podcast creators build their audio brand and to deliver a diverse range of monetization options for them. Joining Global allows us to continue to fulfill that vision by bringing Da and Global Player to Captivate podcasters, while also providing more opportunities for the platform to positively contribute to the future of the industry.”

Global joins a number of companies investing in solving the issues around podcast monetization. After years of sleeping on the vast amount of podcasting content that takes place on its platform, YouTube recently announced it was creating an executive role solely focused on podcasting. The New York Times too has launched a dedicated audio app that brings all of its audio – from narrated articles to dedicated podcast series – into one place in an attempt to wrest control of the medium back from platforms like Spotify.

With the acquisition of Captivate, Global is bulking up its stock of audio content and the ability to court advertisers. With a tremendous amount of headroom for the audio and podcasting space over the next few years, acquisitions that reduce its dependence on platforms like Spotify put Global in a strong position to take advantage of the demand for podcasts.

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