Podcast Network Asia (PNA), a Philippine podcast company, received $750,000 in its new round of seed funding. The investments are from Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Summit Publishing Co., Inc. (traded as Summit Media), president and chief executive officer; multi-focus venture capital firm Foxmont Capital; Jakarta-based venture capital firm Venturra Discovery; and local live-streaming platform KUMU.
“Podcasting is about to enter its golden age,” said Ron Baetiong, PNA chief executive officer and co-founder.
PNA will use the funds to expand into Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The added capital will also be used to strengthen its production and performance analytics offerings, as well as enhance Podmetrics.co, its artificial intelligence-powered data analytics platform.
“I think podcasting is still in the early stages of growth in the country, and that PNA has put a stake in the ground ahead with a scalable business model,” said Ms. Gokongwei-Cheng in a press statement. “The team knows the industry well and they are quite passionate.” PNA is exploring collaborations with titles under Summit Media, which publishes fashion magazine Preview, showbiz magazine YES!, and K-pop entertainment magazine Sparkling, among others.
“Podcasting is still in its nascent stage in Southeast Asia. When we look at top-charting podcasts, majority of them launched within the past year,” said Venturra Discovery partner Raditya Pramanay. “The industry has strong momentum, as audio streaming platforms are doubling down on this segment. We believe we can empower creators to improve and commercialize their content through data analytics and production support.”
Founded in August 2019, PNA supports the local podcast industry by providing access to production support and monetization opportunities for creators and hosts. There are 415 podcasts on the platform, including Boiling Waters, a podcast about relationships; Eve’s Drop, where “women talk and it gets real”; Kool Pals, a podcast about anything; and Walwal Sesh, a podcast for the brokenhearted. Over the pandemic, 93 new shows were added to the platform.
Integrated performance measurement is also available through the free Podmetrics, which helps understand a show’s overall value and potential. Users will be able to view total podcast analytics; apply for affiliate marketing campaigns; collaborate with brands for episode sponsorships; and view campaign impressions, conversions, and other metrics.
The rise of podcast listening is partly driven by an increase in content consumption since the pandemic. There are 31 million Filipino podcast listeners, with PNA noting that audio provides an escape for the 61% of Gen Zs and millennials in the Philippines who report experiencing screen fatigue. Spotify, in its Culture Next 2020 report, calls this the rise of “screenless moments.”
Globally, podcast advertising has grown exponentially with the increase of podcast shows. From 2015 to 2020, podcast ad revenue in the US grew from $69 million to $659 million, with advertising revenue projected to surpass $1 billion this year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). — Patricia B. Mirasol