New Study Finds NPR News Podcasts are Significantly Safer for Brands than Average

January 2024

News is perceived as a high-risk content category for advertisers, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, a new analysis with Sounder reveals that NPR’s news shows are significantly safer for brands than the average podcasts in the news genre. NPR sponsorship provides access to a powerful medium that reaches large, engaged audiences everyday – and with a catalog of trustworthy, high-quality content, NPR does news differently.

Sounder’s analysis reveals that an impressive 81% of NPR’s news content is classified as unrelated or low-risk for sensitive topics according to the GARM Brand Safety Floor + Suitability Framework, versus the general average of 54%. News content on NPR also avoids graphic discussions, with 13% fewer medium-risk sensitive topics and a mere 2.3% of content categorized as high-risk. Most importantly, NPR does not feature any content categorized as “floor,” which is deemed unsuitable for advertising.

“The fact based and non-sensational tone of NPR News and programming offer brands a safe environment, wherein the listener is really leaning in,” notes Gina Garrubbo, President & CEO of National Public Media. “This listening experience coupled with the fact that NPM produces sponsor messages in the style and tone of NPR, lead to higher engagement metrics for the brands that sponsor NPR. From brand lift studies and attribution metrics, to recent attention measurement, we see the quality listening experience that NPR offers to the audience rubs off on the brands who support it.”

In collaboration with Sounder, NPM now offers brands the ability to assess the risk level of content before sponsoring, helping to find the best suited placement for their message. Kal Amin, Co-Founder and CEO of Sounder, commented, “This collaboration showcases the power of data analytics in evaluating content quality. NPR’s inventory stands out as a reliable and credible news source, offering safer and more suitable news inventory for brands. We’re pleased to work with NPR on this analysis to help clarify the misconception that news content is not a brand-safe category.”

Sponsoring NPR’s remarkably low-risk news content unlocks an underutilized advertising platform for brands. Top news shows like Up First and NPR News Now – currently two of the top three podcasts in the U.S. – reach huge audiences daily, have dedicated fans, and handle sensitive topics respectfully, informatively and with care. Plus, NPR does not accept political or advocacy ads, contributing to the uncluttered environment it offers its brand sponsors.

A commitment to responsible journalism, high-quality content, and a significantly lower risk profile than the general podcasting news genre offers brands a unique and valuable opportunity to tap into the potential of news. 

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