Podbridge Gets $8.5 Million Series B

podbridgelogo.pngPodbridge, makers of a podcasting analytics package that tracks audience demographics, plays, and ad rotation, just closed an $8.5 million series B round. A new investor Sutter Hill Ventures led the round, with the original investors Mayfield and Worldview participating.

We covered Podbridge in detail last March. Podbridge’s analytics tracker is an iTunes plug-in that gets downloaded and installed when a listener first downloads a Podbridge-enabled podcasts. When the plug-in is first installed, the listener is asked some demographic questions to help target ads. From then on, the plug-in-tracks a podcast’s online reach, frequency and playing time (anonymous), as well as the download count. Podbridge aims to have a plug-in for Windows Media Player as well.

The overall idea is that more detailed information on your audience will lead to higher ad rates. Targeting ads for the podcast is not a one time deal, with static ads embedded in the podcast. Instead, Podbridge allows for the dynamic insertion of ads that can change on each play. In a deal made last June, Podbridge opened their podcast advertising slots to Ingenio’s advertising network. Podbridge’s clients include Sports Byline USA, the BBC, Military.com, and Forbes.com, who started using the service last September.

iTunes has over 65,000 free podcasts and generated over 1 million subscriptions within two days of its 2005 launch. Research from a survey conducted last November by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, found over 17 million people have downloaded podcasts, with 1.4 million saying they had heard or seen a podcast on a typical day (cited by MarketWatch).