Dave Zohrob first dabbled in podcasting in 2018 with a tech news show he recorded in his office broom closet. It got nearly 2,000 downloads on its first day.
He now runs Chartable, one of the metrics startups that is helping take podcasting from a throwback to the quirky, peer-to-peer days of the early internet to the future of digital audio.
Zohrob’s short career in podcasting illustrates the industry’s speedy transformation over the past couple of years. Audiences in the US have been growing for a while—to more than 100 million listeners (pdf) this year. But podcasters have been unable to fully cash in because of the medium’s old-school distribution technology, which makes it virtually impossible to collect data on listeners and target them for ads. Now a slew of companies are deploying techy solutions to bring metrics up to speed, helping attract big-brand ad dollars. This year, spending on podcast ads in the US is expected to hit nearly $1 billion (pdf.)