A bold statement to the world: podcasting is here to stay
By Johan Billgren, co-founder
Today was a proud moment for me personally, but also for Acast and everyone who’s been involved in our journey so far, as we rang the Nasdaq bell and became a listed company on the First North Premier Growth Market.
It’s difficult to put into words the sense of achievement I felt. More than anything, though, I think our listing was a bold statement to the world: podcasting, and Acast, is here to stay.
Just this week, from Kantar’s latest 2021:1 report, we can see that in Sweden, weekly and monthly podcasting reach with 16–44-year-olds is now higher than that of commercial radio. And trends we see in Sweden tend to follow in other markets as they mature.
Podcasting is so special because it relies on the one thing that’s helped humans tell stories since we first invented language: the spoken word. It’s perhaps why we find, when people discover podcasts for the first time, they continue to listen to them forever.
But the familiarity the world has with podcasting today has not always been the case, and we’ve had to work hard to get to this point.
When my two co-founders and I began the Acast journey in October 2013, podcasting was an under-the-radar mass medium, with no functioning revenue model. As a creator, that meant there was little to no chance of being properly compensated for your efforts.
So that’s what we set out to fix. We built a platform connecting creators, listeners and advertisers in one end-to-end system — one with a scalable revenue model that made sure podcasters were paid for their work.
It was not a simple task, though, and I maxed out my credit card to make it through the early days. I lost my voice because we were doing so many pitches, mostly to people who’d never even listened to a podcast before.
We had to convey our vision to early investors, creators and advertisers through hard work and by repeating our mantra: Podcasters need fair compensation, listeners are leaned in and susceptible to commercial messages, and advertisers need the targeting and measurement capabilities they’re used to from more mature media formats.
We solved all of this by introducing Dynamic Ad Insertion in podcasting, which today has become the global standard for most companies, and by pushing for the industry to unite behind a transparent and easy-to-understand measurement standard.
Since then, we’ve continued to conceive and deliver world-first innovations, defining what the podcast industry is today — and always leading from the front, with integrity.
Of course, any successful company is 5% the idea, 95% the people. And none of this would have been possible without all the incredible people who have been part of our story.
Today, I’m just one of 300 Acasters worldwide — talented, inquisitive and fun people who love podcasting in all its forms. It’s these Acasters who have allowed us to grow to the stage we’re at today, where we’re a platform empowering creators to make a living from podcasting.
We’ve paid out more than $100 million directly to creators since Acast was founded, which means they can concentrate on making the best possible content for their listeners.
In turn, that means a more engaged audience, which is better for our advertisers, and also means we can launch big new offerings like Acast+, and sign major global partnerships with companies like Patreon, giving our creators even more monetization options and an even tighter bond with their listeners.
It’s a wonderful, sustainable cycle that ensures everyone is fairly compensated, and protects the future of podcasting.
Acast has always been for the stories, and for the creators. It will continue to be so, and we will continue to champion the open ecosystem for the benefit of the creators.
And guess what? We’re just getting started.