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ART19 Bets On South Korea with Major Publisher Deals and an Acquisition

PRESS RELEASE — December 12, 2019

Oakland CA, USA—ART19 moves into South Korea with the acquisition of the largest domestic podcast ad-seller BirchSound, bringing along with it a significant share of the country’s podcast market. The Oakland-based podcast company has also struck exclusive deals with leading Korean broadcasters SBS, KBS, CBS and Chosun.

ART19 has named former BirchSound Founder and CEO, Hansoo Kim, CEO of ART19 Korea. Mr. Kim has 27 years of experience in South Korean media. As Strategic Team Leader of SBS, the country’s largest private broadcaster, he established joint ventures with NBCU, Viacom, and ESPN, and purchased exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics and World Cup Sports. Mr. Kim was subsequently SVP of South Korean media and entertainment titan CJ, where he oversaw its international business unit. He went on to found BirchSound, which he built into the leading podcast ad sales operation in South Korea.

“South Korea’s unique storytelling is captivating audiences. K-Drama and K-Pop are now global phenomena,” says ART19 Korea CEO Hansoo Kim. “South Korea is also a leading digital consumer culture with very high smartphone and social media usage, as well as long average commute times. As a result, podcasting is seeing explosive growth here, and we are excited to partner with many of South Korea’s greatest content creators to build this new market.”

ART19 Korea’s launch partners represent the top four radio broadcasters in South Korea, as well as the country’s most popular newspaper, Chosun Ilbo, which has a daily circulation of 1.8 million copies and over 17 million daily website visitors. ART19 Korea’s partnerships are all encompassing, including enterprise hosting, exclusive global ad sales, and select content co-productions.

The Head of the SBS Radio Center, T. I. Chung, announced the new partnership stating, “Over the past several years, SBS has been developing different types of podcast content and closely monitoring the growing on-demand audio market in South Korea. ART19 provides best-in-class technology and has deep experience with monetization. After many meetings with Founder and CEO, Sean Carr, and his team here in Seoul, it was clear that we share the same vision. We look forward to our long term partnership and building this new market together.”

Inspired by the content model of the New York Times, another ART19 partner, Chosun, has also been looking to move into the podcasting space. “South Korea has witnessed astonishing growth in online video consumption, and we are optimistic that podcasting is going to follow the same trajectory,” explains Eun-joo Park, Creative Editor of the Chosun Ilbo. “In 2020, we are planning several collaborations between ART19 and the nation’s top newspaper, Chosun Ilbo. These co-productions not only include creating compelling, unique content, but also diversifying our ad portfolio and enhancing engagement with our readership.”

South Korea is the world’s 11th largest economy, 6th largest advertising market, and the world’s leader in mobile ad spending by share of digital. More than half of media consumption is occurring on digital platforms, with mobile representing 37.1% of daily media time. The country’s voracious appetite for media, prolific creation of high quality content, and its mobile first landscape are all factors in ART19’s decision to move into the market.

ART19 Founder and CEO, Sean Carr, remarked, “ART19 has benefited greatly as an early mover in the US podcast market, and we are aiming to replicate this success internationally. We are honored to launch our efforts in South Korea with such an esteemed group of publishers. SBS is the leading radio broadcaster, Chosun is the number one newspaper, and KBS is both the country’s public and top overall broadcaster. Podcasting is seeing tremendous growth in South Korea, and we believe it will be a model for growth in Asia and around the world.”

About ART19, Inc.

ART19’s leading audio platform provides cutting-edge tools for on-demand hosting, distribution, ad serving, and audience measurement. At the intersection of publishers and advertisers, the company powers hundreds of millions of podcast downloads every month for the industry’s largest shows. ART19 enables publishers to manage all content and ad operations in one place, offering best-in-class targeting capabilities, seamless integration with listening platforms and a flexible infrastructure to continuously enhance revenue opportunities for its clients. ART19 equips advertisers with services to reach audiences through smart targeting and custom ad creative capabilities.

About ART19 Korea

ART19 Korea offers a full-service podcasting solution for content publishers and advertisers in South Korea. The company provides industry-leading technology, including hosting, measurement, ad trafficking, digital advertising solutions for publishers and advertisers, and podcast co-production services to many of the biggest Korean broadcasters. With expert trade knowledge and experience, localized technology, and on-the-ground support, ART19 Korea is helping to shape the South Korean podcasting landscape. ART19 Korea is a subsidiary of ART19, Inc.

About SBS
Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) has been the only listed national South Korean television and radio network company since 1990. Along with its flagship terrestrial channel, SBS Media Group operates 2 radio stations, 7 cable TV channels including SBS-CNBC and SBS MTV, which are joint ventures with American networks. SBS’ four channels, SBS HD, SBS Plus, SBS Star and SBS18, provide unparalleled access to SBS’ critically-acclaimed and top-rated content including dramas, sports, news and variety programs and are distributed on terrestrial TV and major MVPDs to 15 million households throughout the US.

About Chosun Media

The Chosun Ilbo first hit newsstands in 1920 and now celebrates almost a century of journalistic excellence thanks to the unwavering support of readers over the years. It has grown into what it is today by sharing both tears and laughter with generations of readers. Based on strong expertise in news reporting, Chosun Ilbo has evolved into one of Korea’s largest media groups, Chosun Media, encompassing a wide range of subsidiaries from broadcast and new media to publishing.

About KBS

Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is Korea’s leading public services broadcaster and the most influential media organization in the country. KBS is run by both licence fees and income from the advertisements to operate its three TV, seven radio and four DMB channels. KBS began the country’s first radio broadcasting service back in 1927 and commenced Korea’s first television broadcasting in 1961. The headquarters of KBS is located at Yeouido in Seoul. There are 18 regional stations and 11 overseas bureaus as well as eight subsidiary companies such as KBS Media which manages the local and global marketing of KBS content.

About CBS

CBS first went on air on December 15, 1954 as the first independent radio station in Korea. Having been operated as a nationwide radio network for more than 50 years, CBS met the greatest change in its history in 2002, when it opened its own television station. Today CBS is engaged in all forms of mass communications: radio, television broadcasting, internet and smart media. CBS radio’s nationwide network consists of 14 branches, and CBS TV provides programs via cable and satellite to the Korean peninsula and other parts of East Asia.

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. Press releases can be sent to

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