Black-owned digital media Pod has struck a deal with McD’s and big plans to grow its multicultural podcast network


McDonald’s has come under fire for its alleged bias against black-owned media.

For example, the fast-food giant is being sued by media mogul Byron Allen, owner of The Weather Channel, Entertainment Studios and Allen Media Group, for not doing enough to honor its commitment to spend 10% of its advertising expenditures to minority-owned companies. media companies by 2024.

But McDonald’s recently invested in a black-owned podcast media company, which belies those accusations.

In January, McDonald’s entered into a multi-year advertising deal with Pod Digital Media (PDM) as part of an effort to increase its advertising spend with minority content creators and expand its reach with diverse audiences.

PDM is an ad network specializing in monetizing podcasts hosted by members of the Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), and LGBTQ+ communities.

Although Gary Coichy, CEO and head of partnerships at Pod Digital Media, declined to share exactly how much McDonald’s would spend on PDM podcasts, he said it was a three-year, multimillion-dollar deal.

McDonald’s takes its commitment to do more business with companies like PDM very seriously, Coichy said.

“We have a quarterly meeting with the CMO of McDonald’s [where] they ask us: ‘How can we help your business?’ “said Coichy. “And if we have any challenges, whether it’s measurement or technology, [they want to know] what they can do to help elevate our business.

Monetize and measure

Pod Digital Media’s current business is focused on direct ad insertion, host-read ads, and custom branded content.

It has dedicated programmatic inventory and a partnership with mobile ad tech company AdsWizz to serve programmatic ads. But programmatic placements can often conflict with the diversity of content on the network’s podcasts, according to Coichy.

“To be honest, we’re getting away [programmatic]because, for example, if you have a podcast hosted by a woman, and a dynamically inserted ad with a male voice comes out of nowhere, it just doesn’t resonate,” Coichy said.

However, due to interest from its advertising partners, the company has been working to expand its programmatic offerings, Coichy said.

In terms of measurement, Pod Digital Media has partnerships with Podsights and Nielsen.

Using Nielsen’s brand lift studies, PDM found that advertisers running upper funnel campaigns through PDM’s network see up to 90% brand lift among their target audiences, Coichy said.

Develop the network

In addition to brand partnerships, Pod Digital Media has also focused on expanding its network of creators.

It will soon announce its acquisition of the Latina Podcasters Network, adding the list of 50 primarily Latina-led podcasts to its advertising inventory, and is also set to announce a partnership with esports advertising network ESPAT later this month. .

The ESPAT partnership will help PDM capitalize on the popularity of video games and esports with Black, Latino and AAPI audiences, particularly the Gen Z cohort, Coichy said.

In addition to these more recent deals, Pod Digital Media has also worked with Josh Hart and Aaron Gordon of the National Basketball Association and Aqib Talib, Takeo Spikes and Tutan Reyes of the National Football League to create and monetize podcasts for the NBA and the NFL. fan followers.

And in May last year, PDM launched its own dedicated app to help listeners discover shows hosted by podcasters of color.

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Although Pod Digital Media has numerous deals in the works, the McDonald’s deal was particularly significant for Coichy, whose first job as a teenager was working as a cashier at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Nyack, NY.

Coichy continued his career in the advertising industry, working with advertising agencies such as WPP-owned MediaCom, Omnicom Resolution Media and Laundry Service before founding Pod Digital Media in 2018.

Asked what advice he would give to those looking to follow a similar career path, Coichy pointed to the opportunity that now exists for diverse entrepreneurs to capitalize on their unique experiences and cultural insights.

“Create something that brands can leverage,” Coichy said. “If you’re a minority owner, you can use this as an additional opportunity to connect with brands looking to spend money with you specifically.”


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