A Big Podcast Play for iHeartMedia


In a move that further cements its place as the No. 1 audio content origination and distribution company in the U.S., iHeartMedia is agreeing to acquire the parent company of the podcast hosting firm used by RBR+TVBR for its InFOCUS reports.

For an undisclosed price, iHeart is purchasing Voxnest, formed in January 2018 with the merger of Spreaker and BlogTalkRadio. It’s not entirely surprising: iHeartMedia already has a minority stake in Voxnest.

New York-based Voxnest is led by co-founder and President Francesco Baschieri. He will remain in his role following the deal’s completion.

“With this acquisition, iHeartMedia, through Voxnest, will now be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory at scale by allowing the effective and efficient monetization across an entire range of podcast inventory on this one-of-kind programmatic platform,” iHeart said in a release distributed Friday morning (10/23). “This additional inventory will increase the monetization of iHeartMedia’s full range of podcasts and advance the podcast marketplace for both buyers and sellers. iHeartMedia will also be able to drive greater monetization for creators of podcast content – wherever they currently publish their shows – by connecting Voxnest’s advanced ad technology with multiple publishing platforms across the industry.”

Voxnest’s additional advertising technology capabilities include:

  • Dynamic ad insertion
  • Audience and content targeting to the right listeners based on demographics, territories, devices and interests
  • Programmatic podcast buying across all audio platforms through native support of VAST, the industry standard template for audio and video advertising; OpenRTB, a protocol for enabling integrations that connect to all major audio programmatic exchanges; and a full podcast analytics platform.
Bob Pittman, of iHeartMedia

“This is an important addition to the iHeart digital product ecosystem, which includes our SmartAudio suite of data-driven broadcast radio advertising solutions; our position as the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher with massive distribution and promotion across all our broadcast assets; and the iHeartRadio digital platform,” said iHeart Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman. “The addition of iHeart’s offerings to Voxnest will ensure critical mass for the platform and accelerate its growth.  As we continue to invest in podcasting and lead the industry, we anticipate this acquisition will have an important impact on iHeart’s ability to more fully monetize its podcast inventory, and will also benefit the other podcast publishers that are part of the Voxnest network and the advertisers who are using it.”

— With reports from Podcast Business Journal