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Urban One is partnering with contextual intelligence platform Sounder to conduct research that will improve podcast ad technology to equalize monetization opportunities for a diverse range of content creators.
With this partnership, Sounder will work closely with Radio One and Reach Media, Urban One’s audio divisions, as well as the Urban One Podcast Network, to analyze a variety of content from its catalog and create a report identifying strengths and challenges facing audio ad technology in classifying diverse media, the companies said in a joint press release on Wednesday.
The companies say the results will be used to further inform and refine Sounder’s brand safety and sustainability solutions driven by artificial intelligence and machine learning models, which will help address challenges and set a new, fairer standard for the audio industry.
“As the leader in urban-formatted content, Urban One’s mission has always been to do our part in educating our partners, ourselves, our clients, and the broader industry on the evolving cultural landscape of Black America,” said Josh Rahmani, the chief revenue officer of Urban One’s audio division “Through this work, we hope to bring awareness of Black culture and its nuances to the industry at large and support an ecosystem of the diverse voices that drive mainstream culture.”
“Sounder was founded on the belief that we could help diverse voices connect with listeners who cared about what they had to say. We also believe that these voices should have the same ability to monetize and fund their content,” said Kal Amin, the co-founder and CEO of Sounder. “Yet suitability and brand safety can’t be optimized until technology catches up to culture and holistically supports a thriving, diverse world of audio content. Our mission to transform audio insights includes redefining the brand safety status quo with contextual intelligence tools to support diverse creators.”
The companies said Black audiences are becoming more engaged with podcasts, which has seen a regular listenership increase that is set to top out at 160 million this year. According to the Black Podcast Listener Report, the audience for on-demand content like this climbed 53% over the course of a single year.
“With the importance and influence of Black creators and consumers rising, research that supports parity is vital for continued growth,” the companies said.