- Will Ferrell's Ron Burgundy character from the "Anchorman" franchise is returning with "The Ron Burgundy Podcast" on the iHeartPodcast Network, according to news shared with Marketing Dive.
- Charmin, Safe Auto and Fair are presenting sponsors for the premiere season of the show, which is a collaboration between iHeartRadio and Ferrell's comedy video and film production company Funny Or Die. The first season, debuting Feb. 7, will span 12 episodes, with each episdoe posting on Thursdays. A second season of the podcast will air in mid-2019, per the release.
- An audio trailer of the series was released on iHeartRadio's site, other podcast platforms, social media and across the company's broadcast stations. A behind-the-scenes video also shows the hapless Burgundy trying to figure out what a podcast is.
Will Ferrelll reprising his role as the "legendary newscaster" could help iHeartMedia expand its millennial listener base, and rolling out the audio trailer and behind-the-scenes video might drum up excitement ahead of the podcast debut. The idea for the show, where Burgundy shares his "fountain knowledge that spans literally every topic imaginable" — once he figures out how podcasts work — plays into the cult following that the "Anchorman" films and star character have built up, mostly with young audiences. Some of the film's popular one-liners, like "Boy, that escalated quickly," have become popular internet memes as well.
Charmin, Safe Auto and Fair joining as presenting sponsors additionally underscores how advertisers are jumping on the podcast trend, as more than half of U.S. households are podcast fans, according to Nielsen. The genre is especially popular with millennials, a highly sought-after consumer demographic. Podcast ad revenue hit an estimated $314 million in 2017, an 86% increase from $169 million in 2016, and is projected to reach $659 million by 2020, a 110% increase from 2017, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC.
The growing listener base of podcasts and younger audiences' eager adoption of newer digital platforms like audio and mobile video is creating more competition among digital audio platforms for listeners and advertising dollars. Spotify debuted its first-ever branded podcast series with New Amsterdam Vodka, "Ebb & Flow," in August, for example. The five-episode series is hosted by Jasmine Solano, a music influencer, DJ and ambassador for New Amsterdam.
iHeartMedia recently announced plans to acquire Jelli, the company powering the radio broadcaster's SoundPoint programmatic platform. The move was said to help iHeartRadio help brands with programmatic buying and selling of broadcast radio inventory by leveraging Jelli's platform, which offers targeting and creative optimization based on data and attribution tools.