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Mike Leonard

Acast hires its first Content Business Development Director to help US publishers monetize international shows


In an initiative to help more US publishers monetize their expanding global ad inventory, Acast — the global power source of podcasting — has appointed its first Content Business Development Director. The new role has been filled by Michael Leonard, pictured above, who’ll help premium US media organizations, networks, and creators to capitalize on their growing international audiences.

An analysis of Acast’s 100 most-listened-to US podcasts shows that there are massive audiences of international listeners on American content. Between April and June 2021, an average of 22% of all listens to these most popular US podcasts came from outside the country. On average, they had listeners in 150 different countries or territories, while 7% of total listens came from countries where English isn’t a primary language.

Acast is uniquely suited to monetize publishers’ international listenership due to its unparalleled global sales footprint within the podcast industry. The company holds presence in 12 countries with local, in-house teams that sell advertising and sponsorship across more than 30,000 podcasts around the world. In Q2 2021, the company reported net sales growth of 130% compared with the same quarter a year prior.

Having Leonard in this newly created role, focused solely on monetizing international listens, is part of the company’s wider strategy to help more US publishers — including those whose current solutions do not have global capabilities at the scale of Acast’s — expand their businesses by unlocking the enormous advertising opportunity in international audiences.

“One of the most lucrative opportunities for US podcast publishers right now lies in harnessing their popularity with international audiences,” said Veronika Taylor, Managing Director, Americas at Acast. “Many media organizations and networks are leaving valuable global inventory unused — and money on the table. We’re offering US publishers the best marketplace to sell their programming across the world and maximize their profits.”

Leonard most recently worked at mobile advertising company Kargo, where he spent seven years working in publisher partnerships and managed ad supply across content from hundreds of publishers. He joined Acast in August and is based in New York.

“With a strong presence in international markets, Acast is the right partner for any publisher looking to expand and monetize their audio footprint globally,” said Leonard. “I look forward to working with leading publishers and creators in the US, and helping them reach their full potential.”

In July, Acast announced a partnership with Crooked Media to sell ad inventory in Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand — markets outside the US where Crooked’s podcasts had high listenership but weren’t previously being sold. Crooked joined Acast’s roster of US podcast publishers already monetizing listens outside the US, like TED and PRX, as well as the American publishers Acast sells globally, including Vice, PBS NewsHour, A+E Networks, TYT, and more.

This is a press release which we link to from our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions.

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