Acast’s global expansion: International Managing Director, Megan Davies reflects on 2022 and looks at Italy as the next market to watch

Acast’s global expansion: International Managing Director, Megan Davies reflects on 2022 and looks at Italy as the next market to watch

Written by Megan DaviesManaging Director, International2022.12.07

A year into her role as International Managing Director at Acast, Megan Davies reflects on the past twelve months of leadership, sharing the successes of the International team in 2022 and looking toward Acast’s focus in 2023.  

“What a year it has been – Acast has launched in Spain, Singapore, and The Netherlands. We now operate with native talent on the ground in each location, and top podcasters have joined the network including Cristina Mitre, The Daily Ketchup, and Meer Van Dit. Listening to Acast-hosted content has exceeded 14m monthly listens in our newest markets, and advertiser interest has proven to be abundant as the team has secured over 800 briefs this year alone.

It’s been fascinating to witness the cultural and economic diversity across these markets and the maturity of each. It’s clear that all markets have strong purchasing power, the potential for a solid creator economy, and listener appetite for podcasts. But, they differ too. Singapore, for example, is still in an initial podcast adoption phase with solid growth forecasted, whereas The Netherlands is a highly established market ripe for the adoption of our programmatic offering. 

We should be proud of the work we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time, as we continue to empower podcasters and advertisers, providing world-class products, tools, and services at scale in our new markets. But, as a global entity, with 88,000 podcasts and 430 million listens per month around the world, it’s my role to constantly look forward and see where else demand is coming from. For example, the team is in talks with podcasters in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong and have received briefs from South Africa, Chile, Brazil, India, and Poland, to name a few countries. Podcasting is truly a global phenomenon. 

One market that has really caught Acast’s attention though, is Italy. Earlier this year, we teamed up with Wondery to host, monetise and distribute three shows translated to Italian for the first time: Bunga, Bunga; Business Wars and Dr. Death. 

And it’s not just Wondery who has recognized Italy as a market ready for premium storytelling. We’ve witnessed significant growth in listens in the region – Acast found that year-on-year podcast listening has continued to grow, with Jan-Feb 2022 seeing an increase of listens by 69% vs Jan-Feb 2020. 

It’s also a shifting media market where previously high volumes of television consumption have led to it being the most significant player in advertising spending. However, in recent times, the landscape has started to evolve with another major media type (newspapers) declining and advertising spending in television moving more to online media

Furthermore, we know there is a desire for more, quality content. A recent study conducted in Italy by NielsenIQ for Audible, revealed that 98% of interviewed podcast listeners prefer to listen to podcasts in Italian, followed by English at 20% and Spanish at 5%. And according to the Ipsos Digital Audio Survey 2022, a staggering 36% of Italians listened to podcasts in the last month.  

When we consider all of these factors together, Italy represents an interesting opportunity for Acast. We already have a promising inventory of content that exceeds 2m listens per month in the region, have frequent talks with advertisers, and our pioneering tech - Conversational and Keyword Targeting – is available in Italian. But, we also know that we need to build trust first. And so in early 2023 Acast will be hosting a podcast-specific event, the first of its kind in Italy. “Acast Presents Podcasting in Italy” will encompass free, virtual sessions with Italian podcasting experts and cover a program of content.  For example, an in-depth look at the current status of podcasting, how to make money from podcasting, creating content for a local and global audience, and advertising at scale. More to come on this soon.

The International team has no plans to slow down and so, what’s to come for Acast and Italy in 2023? You’ll have to wait and see.”