To Expand Programmatically, Triton Digital Acquires Audio Brand Safety Startup

To Expand Programmatically, Triton Digital Acquires Audio Brand Safety Startup

In an attempt to strengthen its programmatic capabilities, iHeartMedia-owned Triton Digital purchased AI brand safety and appropriateness company Sounder on Tuesday.

Triton Refused To Reveal The Purchase Price

Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that the two businesses have a past. About six months ago, Triton first merged with the business it currently controls, sharing podcast data with Sounder’s AI technologies for training.

And in 2022, a year after paying $230 million to acquire Triton, iHeartMedia spearheaded Sounder’s Series A funding round. A podcast brand safety score tool was co-developed by Sounder and iHeartMedia in February of last year.

Remaining Secure

Sounder is a tool that automatically transcribes and indexes podcast episodes using natural language processing and machine learning. Using the IAB content taxonomy categories and guidelines set by the Global Alliance for Responsible Media, it contextually evaluates each piece of content to pinpoint potential brand safety issues.

John Rosso, president and CEO of Triton Digital, stated that the company “is not in a business that Triton has been in historically” when it comes to using AI for contextual targeting and brand safety.

However, advertisers must be assured that their podcasts are airing in secure settings if they hope to draw in more revenue from podcasts.

Triton intends to include Sounder into its podcast and streaming measurement solutions, programmatic audio marketplace, and content management platform, which encompasses its streaming network.

According to Rosso, podcast publishers can use Sounder to examine their content before it goes live by utilizing Triton’s podcast content management platform. Advertisers can utilize Sounder on its audio ad serving platform to target specific sorts of content and to prevent appearing next to harmful content.

Many campaigns in the “massively fragmented” podcast industry span hundreds, or thousands, if acquired programmatically, according to Rosso. Real-time targeting of pertinent content is possible with Sounder’s solutions.

According to Rosso, Sounder’s features “will help us scale the whole programmatic marketplace around podcasting.”

Acquiring The Programmatic

Triton now uses programming to sell fewer than 50% of its inventory overall, while there is a lot of variation—some shows sell 100% of their inventory, while others sell close to nothing.

More comprehensive brand safety capabilities should make more consumers eager to pay programmatically on podcast advertising, it is hoped.

Apart from the connection with Sounder, Triton has also been embracing programmatic in other capacities. For instance, it is collaborating with programmatic radio platform Jelli, which iHeartMedia purchased in 2018 and merged with Triton in 2022, to develop a real-time ad insertion feature for broadcast radio inventory.

Not that turning its entire inventory into a programmable entity is the aim. Instead, according to Rosso, Triton wants to help publishers with any combination they find most effective, be it programmatic markets, direct sales, sales house relationships, or programmatic guarantees.

With the addition of Sounder’s technical and product teams, which employ 17 people between the US and Serbia, Triton will have about 300 people working there overall. After the shift, Sounder’s co-founder and CEO, Kal Amin, a former employee of Google and Spotify, will “go off to do some other investing in the audio space,” according to Rosso.

Triton isn’t ruling out making other acquisitions in the future, even if integrating Sounder will now take precedence. “We’re constantly bringing in fresh and intriguing elements to the Triton studio,” Rosso stated.