Amazon Acquires Podcast Company Wondery

The American e-commerce company Amazon announced that is acquiring the podcast network Wondery. It will now become part of Amazon Music which is expected to attract more consumers to the company’s services. According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon acquired the podcast publisher for about USD 300 Million.

In the statement issued by Amazon, the company said that “nothing will change for listeners, and they’ll continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers. With Amazon Music, Wondery will be able to provide even more high-quality innovative content and continue their mission of bringing a world of entertainment and knowledge to their audiences, wherever they listen.” In September 2020, Amazon Music started offering podcasts to its platform.

The Wall Street Journal Ben Mullin reported that Hernan Lopez will step down from its CEO position to focus on its Hernan Lopez Family Foundation after the deal closes. Thereafter, Wondery COO Jen Sargent will take over his position. “Together with Wondery, we will continue to bring more customers to streaming as we expand selection and ensure we are a destination for our customers to find, discover, and listen to the creators and artists they enjoy,” Amazon added. The deal between the two companies has not yet been closed while Amazon said that it will nothing change for listeners.

Wondery Growth Over the Years

Wondery was founded in 2016 which currently now has an audience of nine million unique listeners in the U.S. The company is founded by former Fox executive Hernan Lopez who vowed to fight corruption charges during his time at Fox. It is known for its popular shows such as Dr. Death, The Shrink Next Door, Over My Dead Body, and Dirty John, among others. It has over 10 Million unique listeners every month. In June 2019, the podcast network raised USD 10 Million to add new shows and expand the platform globally.

In June 2020, Wondery launched its own app while has a Wondery+ Ad-free subscription which costs USD 4.99 per month and USD 34.99 annually. Earlier, the listeners had to listen to the podcasts on the website. Various companies invested in the podcast company such as Powerhouse Ventures and Waverly Capital, Advancit Capital, Water Tower Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, and BDMI, among others.

“Very early on, when I started the company, we knew at some point we wanted to have our own place where listeners could listen to the Wondery shows,” Lopez said to the Variety. “But we also knew we had to wait until we had enough shows, and the Wondery brand had enough breadth for people to go through the trouble of downloading an app and use it on a daily basis.”

Podcast: The Gold Rush of the Digital Content World

According to IAB, the podcast advertising market revenue grew 14.7% in FY 19-20 and is anticipated to grow at a rate of 35% in FY20-21. As per the data published by eMarketer forecast, the podcast spent is speculated to surpass USD 1 Billion by 2021. Various technology companies are tapping into the podcast market by introducing the tools to insert ads and target the audience.

Currently, Spotify is the top competitor in the podcast market and has been expanding exponentially by adding new shows and talents over the years. For instance, it has acquired Ringer, Gimlet Media, Anchor, and Parcast to expand its market share. Meanwhile, it bought exclusive rights to Joe Rogan’s podcast for USD 100 Million. To gain leverage in the podcast market, Spotify acquired podcast ad company Megaphone for USD 235 Million. The latter company offers a platform to host the podcasts and provide ad-insertion tools for the podcast creators.

In December 2020, a podcast startup named QCode hired former Apple podcast marketer Steve Wilson as a chief strategy officer. Recently, the company announced USD 6.4 Million in Series A funding. The satellite radio company Sirius XM acquired Stitcher for USD 325 Million which is the biggest podcasting deal in the industry yet.

Google is also one of the top companies that are striving to gain a huge market share in the podcast market. Earlier this year, the company launched a tool named ‘Google Podcast Manager’ that will enable the podcasters on Google Podcasts to gain deep insights on their performance such as audience behavior which will help them to improve their performance. Apple, another top competitor in the podcast world, has bought a podcasting app Scot FM which makes the podcasting listening experience more of tuning into radio stations.

Amazon Music’s Latest Moves in the Audio World

Amazon Music has been partnering with various media companies to expand its market share. Recently, FOX News Media announced that its news catalog of 30 original podcasts will be available to stream on the platform.

In September 2020, Amazon Music and Twitch partnered to take out the live streaming on its music platform. Now, it has incorporated Twitch’s live-streaming feature on its platform which will enable the fans to switch between the live streams and recorded songs. Twitch is now owned by Amazon.

“We’re providing artists with more tools to instantly engage with fans, and this new feature couldn’t arrive at a more crucial time in the industry. More than 1,000 artists have already connected their Amazon Music accounts to Twitch, and this is just day one,” Amazon Music director Ryan Redington said in a statement.

As a wholesome company, Amazon has been heavily investing in the digital content industry to become the forefront company in the industry. For instance, it acquired Audible for USD 300 Million which is now the largest producer and distributor of audiobooks. Along with this, it has its own OTT platform Amazon Prime which is introducing its original series on the platform.

Amazon’s acquisition in 2020

Amazon acquired an Americana autonomous company Zoox for about USD 1.2 Billion. The latter company had raised nearly USD 1 Billion over the years since 2014. Apart from Zoox, Amazon had also invested in Aurora, a self-driving startup, which pushed its valuation to USD 2.5 Billion. According to Amazon, the Zoox acquisition is aimed at bringing their vision of autonomous ride-hailing to reality.”