By Jade Solomon
Gary Coichy is the founder and CEO of Pod Digital Media, the first full-service agency for multicultural podcasters. PDM strives to bridge the gap between African American, LGBTQI and women-hosted podcasts by providing them with ways to reach new audiences, acquire lucrative advertisement opportunities, and multiply means of monetization. And now, to take things to new heights, Pod Digital Media has just inked a multi-million dollar advertising deal with multinational corporation, McDonald’s.
Read more as Coichy discusses the many services of Pod Digital Media, how this deal with McDonald’s helps to further highlight marginalized creators, what he believes is next for the future of podcasting and more!
Prior to creating Pod Digital Media, you were working with Carol’s Daughter and noticed that there was a “major gap in the podcast market for Black and Hispanic communities” – more specifically, you realized that there was a “very limited roster of shows” that would reach Carol’s Daughter’s target audience. Why do you think this was at the time? And how did this realization inspire you to launch Pod Digital Media?
At the time [the inspiration] was certainly two-fold. It was brands not really knowing the buying power of the multicultural segment, and me knowing that the Black and Brown community participating in podcasts makes them a great platform for brands to connect with their audiences more authentically.
On the flip side, was the fact that these Black and Brown podcasters were creating content and did have an engaging audience, but didn’t actually have the access or the knowledge as to how they should actually attract partners or bring in sponsors. So given my background and experience, I felt that I was certainly the right person to bridge that gap and create a network where they can actually monetize their content.
From here you launched Pod Digital Media, which is the first full-service agency for multicultural podcasters. Can you tell us more about what your company does and how it helps bridge the gap from creator to consumer for African American, LGBTQI, and women-hosted podcasts?
On our side it certainly gives us the ability to pitch these content creators to advertisers. If a podcast has a strong audience of listeners, [let’s say] ages eighteen to twenty five or twenty five to forty nine, us having that insight and having that knowledge allows us to connect them with a brand like Verizon or AT&T that’s looking to reach that audience.
As for our creators, we certainly bring them the guarantee that they’re being pitched properly, receiving the proper exposure, and getting the placement that they need to continue to bring in advertisers. Podcasters are interested in monetization but don’t exactly know how to go out there and get it. And that’s what makes the agency so valuable, because that’s what we do on their behalf. We let them focus on creating content and we come on board as an extension of their sales team to promote and push them to new audiences.
Working with us assists the creators in getting the monetization that’s necessary and makes sense for the podcast. We also handle the education process for content creators – teaching them about impressions, CPM, custom content, and pricing. At the same time, we’re also teaching the advertisers why they should be using podcasts as a medium and why they should be using multicultural podcasters because of the value that they can bring to their business.
Pod Digital Media just signed a multi-million dollar advertising deal with McDonald’s that will launch with “custom segments” and “specialized ads targeting diverse young audiences.” Can you break this deal down further to us? How will this partnership further shine a light on multicultural podcasts and provide them with more needed resources?
McDonald’s certainly sees value in the multicultural segment and is leveraging Pod Digital Media as their number one podcast partner to help them reach the African American and Hispanic audience. Given the fact that we do have the reach in scale, as well as the podcasters that speak to McDonald’s audiences – they’ve basically agreed to sign a long term deal to support these content creators.
We are Black owned and Black targeted company, but there’s a difference in being Black owned and being a company that targets Black people. For example, we are minority owned and certified, and we do have podcasters of color that speak to the multicultural segment – however, you may have B.E.T. which reaches African Americans but they are not Black owned. McDonald’s sees the difference in that and basically is dedicating and allocating resources – putting their money where their mouth is and saying â€˜Hey, we need to spend money with Black owned companies.’
Would you be able to tell us which shows McDonald’s will be helping to highlight?
Sure, a few are: “C’Mon Son! The Podcast” by Ed Lover, “Behind The Mask” with Takeo Spikes, “Say Less with Kaz”, and “Market Mondays” with Ian Dunlap, Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings.
That’s an incredible line up. I think it’s also important to point out that through your company, and this deal with McDonald’s, you are doing the work of highlighting shows that impart priceless value and information to Black and Brown communities. How important is it for you and your company to stand behind shows that are giving back to our communities with such priceless knowledge and value?
It’s at the core of our company, it’s in our DNA to ensure that we’re partnered with quality podcasters. Because at the end of the day, it’s important to us that we bring quality advertisers to our podcasters – and it’s also equally important to bring quality podcasters to our advertisers. Especially podcasters that understand the business of it, that understand the education aspect of it – those are the podcasters that we want to work with.
We’ll of course educate those that are not well versed in the business side of it, as well as those who want to tap in with larger advertisers. But for us it’s all about quality. We do have a large quantity of podcasters that we work with, but at the end of the day it’s also ensuring that we also have quality shows that our brand partners can tap into.
At this point, there’s such a variety of podcast shows out there to fit the interests of literally anyone and everyone and so much has been accomplished in the space thus far. But what else do you feel is in store for the future of podcasting?
I believe there will be the automation of podcasting, where we’ll see brands tapping into ways to do ads automatically – which I’m not a fan of. I don’t think it will be the right direction for the medium.
But I also want to talk about audio as a whole. Now we can listen to e-books, we have our Audibles. It gives us the ability to multitask – you don’t necessarily have to sit there, you can be in the gym, you can be cooking, and have it playing in the background – so I think audio podcasting as a whole will continue to grow because it allows people to provide information and consume it in a way that’s not interrupting your normal behavior.
Your company has been able to do so much since its launch in 2018. You’ve grown revenue by 120%, you have this multi-million dollar deal with McDonald’s, and you’re able to do such amazing work on your own. When you sit down at the end of the day, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the journey. Given the fact that we started with zero podcasts and zero advertisers, went from no meetings to being a part of major conversations with a variety of brands – to where we’re at now, trailblazing half of the industry to multi-million dollar opportunities.
For us, being able to position ourselves and have our access and visibility increase [in the way that it has] in the last four years has been extremely important. Our brand positioning and brand visibility as a podcasting agency is something we’re very proud of.