Podcast platform Spreaker is making its service accessible to podcast creators at zero cost, the company has announced, with the launch of a free entry-level podcast hosting plan.
As part of the new ‘Free Speech’ tier, creators will now have free access to features including podcast monetisation through the platform’s programmatic ad marketplace - The Ad Exchange - which uses dynamic insertion technology and contextual targeting.
The free tier also comes with unlimited storage for podcast episodes, customisable RSS feeds, and up to six months of podcast statistics which cover downloads, listening behaviours, and demographics such as geolocation.
Although the new plan offers free access to Spreaker’s hosting capabilities, the company still maintains a number of paid options offering enhanced features, ranging from $8 to $250 per month. The higher-end plans include enterprise-level functionality such as an ad campaign manager, multi-user collaboration features and priority support.
Spreaker CEO and co-founder Francesco Baschieri said that the original intention for Spreaker was to be free, as reported by AdExchanger, with the aim to help creators and share the revenue on advertising sales, instead of charging for the product itself. Rivals Libsyn and Acast both saw strong ad sales growth over 2022, with Acast in particular boasting a 35% year-on-year increase.
“As more and more content platforms require subscription fees, I firmly believe that podcasting should be accessible to all creators,” said Baschieri in a press release. “That’s why we’ve decided to offer professional podcasting features such as monetisation and unlimited storage at no cost, empowering podcasters of all sizes to reach their full potential.”
This new announcement is also part of the platform’s intention to become “the Google AdSense of the podcasting world” - according to AdExchanger - by taking over all ad-revenue responsibilities and creating the perfect targeted matches between the advertiser and podcast content.
Spreaker was acquired by podcast and radio company iHeartMedia in 2020, which has invested heavily in programmatic podcast ad technology. In December 2022, Spreaker announced the launch of automated quality control and brand safety technology on its platform, which assesses miscategorised and uncategorised ads on its marketplace by transcribing them in real-time and placing them in the correct place.
Other podcast companies and platforms to invest in targeted ad technology include independent podcast company Acast which launched a new keyword targeting tool across its ad marketplace which uses advanced speech-to-text transcription technology, artificial intelligence and natural language processing to identify key words and phrases across podcast episodes.
iHeartMedia also recently launched AI-powered brand safety tools for advertisers within some of its other podcast platforms, which use machine learning technology to analyse and identify risk factors within podcast episodes to ensure that the tone and the content won’t conflict with the desired message of the brand.