Podbridge solves riddle of Podcast advertising

This week the NBA became the latest sports entity to become involved in
the world of Podcasting, signing a deal with iTunes that will let
iTunes video iPod users download condensed playoff games (and even
complete games) to their computers and iPods.

But for all of the buzz around Podcasting a fundamental problem still remains: how can a content owner best monetize the offering without asking users to pony up bucks? Simply put, how can Podcasting develop into a solid advertising medium?

Podbridge, a Mountain View, Calif. company founded by CEO Murgesh Navar, is looking to bring advertising intelligence to Podcasting, letting advertisers have commercials dynamically inserted into a Podcast. The result? Happier advertisers, Podcast users who get a more personalized advertising message, and distributors who can charge higher Podcasting advertising rates.

There is no infrastructure needed for the advertising, says Navar. Our system is basically a plug-in that is installed when the user clicks on a Podcast. The advantage is it then collects information like age, gender, and location so that whenever it serves up future Podcasts [to that IP address] it knows whether the viewer is male or female, how old they are and where they live.
Advertising resides on a Podbridge ad server with each spot tied to a specific demographic. When the viewer downloads the podcast through the Podbridge system the server then places the proper ad related to the viewer’s demographic into the ad break. The ad is guaranteed to be current, says Navar.

Current customers include Clear Channel, BBC, Sportsbyline.com, Military.com and Wrestling Observer Live (found at www.wrestlingobserver.com). When listeners click onto the Podcasts at the site they first need to fill out the Podbridge questionnaire. Targeted ads on Podbridge ad servers are then inserted into the content.

The distributor can decide where they want ads to be placed, the maximum length of the ads, whether it should fade in or fade out, and even an RSS extension, says Navar. Ads can be targeted to regions, markets and even zipcode.
Most importantly, it gives distributors more control of the relationship. Podcasts don t let the distributor know what the audience is doing but with this they get feedback for each episode and learn how to maximize listening.

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