iHeartMedia launches AI-powered brand safety tool

New capabilities will be integrated into Omny and Triton platforms

US-based podcast and radio organisation iHeartMedia has unveiled a new brand safety tool offering advertisers episode-level assurances, powered by data insight firm Sounder’s AI technology.

The tool is designed to allow advertisers to automatically verify that specific podcast episodes are ‘brand-safe’ for their advertising - meaning that the tone and content won’t conflict with their desired messaging - before their advert runs. The tool will be integrated into the company’s hosting platform Omny and ad-serving platform Triton. 

“At a time when brand-trust is eroding overall, marketers are excited about the power of podcast advertising to deliver authenticity, impact, and rebuild trust,” said iHeartMedia chief marketing officer Gayle Troberman. “With iHeartMedia’s new brand safety capabilities, marketers can leverage the full power of human connection and contextual relevance that podcasts provide, without the fear and risk of unsafe inventory.”

“Coming out of CES, marketer demand for podcast marketing is at an all-time high, but they’re not willing to accept unnecessary risk to do so. This tool solves this challenge by providing objective, third-party brand safety verification and unlocking access to more content that moves the needle for marketers.”

The system uses machine learning technology to analyse, segment and summarise individual episodes, identifying potential risk factors that could impact brand suitability, mirroring an increasingly common use case for AI within podcasting.

“Audio had been without a truly operative brand safety tool that gave advertisers the ability to run without risk at a national scale,” said iHeartMedia chief data officer Brian Kaminsky. “The process was labour intensive, fragmented, and often failed to deliver the level of protection brands truly needed. This new tool changes the future and opens up endless possibilities. Brands are now able to opt out of content they deem unsafe and inappropriate. Our partnership with Sounder has set a new benchmark for transparency in audio advertising that has been long overdue.”

Other platforms have been exploring this concept as well; Spreaker unveiled its own AI-based brand safety offering last year, and Acast has been investing heavily into keyword-based targeting and contextual analysis in order to improve advertiser confidence in this area.