Triton Digital, which is owned by iHeartMedia, acquired Sounder, an AI brand safety and suitability startup, on Tuesday in an effort to bolster its programmatic capabilities.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that both enterprises have a rich history. Approximately six months ago, Triton formed its initial integration with the company it presently possesses, wherein it provided Sounder’s AI tools with podcast data for the purpose of training.

In addition, iHeartMedia led Sounder’s Series A investment round in 2022, one year after the company paid $230 million to acquire Triton. iHeartMedia and Sounder collaborated in February of last year to develop a podcast brand safety scoring instrument.

READ MORE: Disney Offers Direct Programmatic Inventory Via Google And The Trade Desk

Ensuring safety

By utilizing machine learning and natural language processing, Sounder transcribes and indexes podcast episodes automatically. The system conducts a contextual analysis of the content in question and detects potential brand safety issues in accordance with the categories set forth by the IAB content taxonomy and the Global Alliance for Responsible Media.

“Historically, Triton has not been in the business of utilizing AI for brand safety and contextual targeting,” according to John Rosso, president and CEO of Triton Digital.

READ MORE: Ad Tech Company PubMatic Said It Made A Deal With Dish Media That Lets Sling TV Tap Into Pubmatic’s Programmatic Demand Via Private Marketplace Deals

However, for podcasts to attract more advertising expenditures, purchasers must have confidence that their commercials are running in secure environments.

Triton has made preparations to incorporate Sounder into its content management platform, encompassing its streaming network, programmatic audio marketplace, and measurement products for podcasts and streaming.

Rosso stated that podcast publishers utilizing Triton’s podcast content management platform can utilize Sounder to test their content prior to its release. Sounder is an audio ad serving platform that enables advertisers to target specific content types and prevent their ads from appearing next to harmful material.

READ MORE: Attack Of The Clones: The Hidden Scourge Of Bid Duplication In Programmatic

Rosso stated that in the “massively fragmented” podcast industry, numerous campaigns operate across hundreds or, if purchased programmatically, thousands of podcasts. Real-time identification of pertinent content for targeting purposes by Sounder’s tools.

Rosso stated that the capabilities of Sounder “will assist us in sizing the entire programmatic marketplace around podcasting.”

Implementing programmatic

In general, Triton currently programmatically sells less than 50% of its inventory; however, there is considerable variation, with some programs selling 100% and others hovering around zero.

There is an expectation that the proliferation of more sophisticated brand safety tools will stimulate greater client interest in programmatic podcast advertising spending.

In addition to the Sounder integration, Triton has been making other programmatic investments. With regard to broadcast radio inventory, for instance, it is collaborating with programmatic radio platform Jelli, which iHeartMedia acquired in 2018 and merged with Triton in 2022, to develop a real-time ad insertion capability.

Not that programmaticizing the entire inventory is the objective. Rosso stated that Triton’s objective is to assist publishers in achieving the most effective partnership blend possible, which may include programmatic guaranteed, direct sales, sales house relationships, or programmatic marketplaces.

The addition of Sounder’s product and engineering teams (17 employees in the United States and Serbia) will bring Triton’s total workforce to approximately 300. Kal Amin, co-founder and CEO of Sounder and a former employee of Google and Spotify, will remain for the transition period but “go off to do some other investing in the audio space,” according to Rosso.

While this time around, Triton will concentrate on integrating Sounder, further acquisitions are not ruled out. “We continually add intriguing new elements to the studio at Triton,” Rosso explained.