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PRX rolls out an update to its podcast monetization platform

PRX Dovetail, the nonprofit public media company’s podcast publishing and monetization platform, now includes an ad inventory forecasting tool.
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PRX

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Picture an entirely full Google Sheet. Every available cell is occupied. Are you shuddering?

Until recently, that nightmare was a reality for the ad operations team at PRX, a nonprofit public media company and the podcast publisher behind networks Radiotopia and TRAX.

PRX’s ad ops and sales teams rely on its Dovetail podcast publishing and monetization platform—which is also used by the likes of TED, the Boston Globe, and the Smithsonian in partnership with PRX’s sponsorship team—to manage ad campaigns. The platform allowed for dynamic ad insertion and targeting, but until recently, PRX had to manually predict inventory availability, CTO Andrew Kuklewicz told Marketing Brew.

Big picture: Now, an updated version of the platform includes a forecasting tool that seeks to address that issue, one of many indications across the industry that podcast advertising is becoming more modern and technologically advanced as ad revenue continues to rise.

Dovetail’s campaign and inventory management tools are also now opening up for publishers to use on a self-serve basis, as opposed to working with the PRX sponsorship team to monetize their podcasts, Kuklewicz said.

The problem: Every week—or even day—the ad teams at PRX would estimate how many listens each episode of a show might get to determine how long a campaign would need to run to reach its goals, keeping track of that information in “massive” spreadsheets, said director of product management Brandon Hunt.

  • Oftentimes, those estimates were “very conservative” because salespeople didn’t want to oversell ad slots and potentially run out of inventory. But if ads hit their goals more quickly than anticipated, the network could be left with unsold ad slots, which PRX wanted to avoid.
  • Knowing more precisely how much inventory is available “can be the difference between saying yes to a campaign or no to it,” Hunt explained.

The solution: PRX rolled out an updated version of Dovetail that includes a “more statistically based” forecasting tool that relies on “historical information, trend analysis, and the production calendar” of podcasts to more accurately predict ad slot availability as inventory orders are being logged, according to Kuklewicz.

The improved version of Dovetail—with the self-serve option—is open for broader use by public media organizations today.—AM

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