Podcast company

Acast buys New York Times-backed podcast company RadioPublic

Growing podcast audiences have led to a deal frenzy led by music streaming providers Spotify, Apple and Amazon. Today, industry giant Acast is looking to increase its reach with its own major acquisition. The company bought the New York Times-podcast tech startup RadioPublic for an undisclosed price.

As part of the deal, Acast will get its hands on RadioPublic’s listener discovery platform, designed to help podcasters identify and connect with new fans, and its experienced management team who have been instrumental in the growth of the media. Co-founders Chris Quamme Rhoden (CTO) and Matt MacDonald (Chief Product Officer), who helped create the first generation of apps for This American Life and WNYC, both transition to the Acast fold. Their co-founder Jake Shapiro left to join Apple Podcasts as Head of Creator Partnerships in September.

RadioPublic started in 2016 as a public benefit corporation spun off from the non-profit Public Radio Exchange. The move allowed the new company to make money while balancing its public service mission. An eponymous app followed in 2017 with the aforementioned audience building tools. On Time, the company’s investors include notable media and audio technology players in Graham Holdings, the Knight Foundation Enterprise Fund, NPR affiliate WGBHand the venture capital arm of Bose.

Acast now plans to develop RadioPublic with the aim of increasing its audience and revenues. The Sweden-based company already hosts 20,000 podcast feeds and recently partnered with creator membership platform Patreon to offer contributor-only podcasts on major platforms. Acast said the acquisition would not affect RadioPublic’s app or services.

The deal is the latest in a long line of acquisitions led by music broadcasters looking to give users long-form episodic content to keep them glued to their services. Spotify led the charge by buying popular media company, The ringand lock The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively. Earlier this month, it said its investment is paying off, with a quarter of its 345 million users now listening to podcasts.

Meanwhile, Amazon (a late entrant to the industry) caught up by acquiring podcast maker Wondery in December. And industry stalwart Apple is reportedly working on a podcast subscription plan as part of its services focus.

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