Unless you are a podcaster yourself, you might not have heard of podcasting companies A casting and Pippa, but the announcement today of the takeover of the latter by the former could well be a game-changer. By joining forces, the companies hope to make the production, distribution and, perhaps most importantly, monetization of their shows easier than ever before, while providing creators with detailed analysis. The acquisition of Pippa is also a reminder that the podcast war is just beginning and South African entrepreneurs continue to make waves on the global tech scene.
Pippa was founded in New York City in 2016 by CEO Simon Marcus, developer Timothy Voice and CTO Erwan Jegouzo. Its unique selling points are its intuitive user interface combined with its unique download, everywhere distribution system that allows podcast creators to get their content on any podcast platform imaginable from one place. Pippa’s also provides its users with an integrated automatic transcription service powered by IBM Watson, and a tool called Sniper which creates short video clips of relevant snippets from shows for easy sharing on social media.
The company was part of the 2017 inaugural class of the Techstars Music Accelerator, and it is both the first company in the program to be acquired, and the first acquisition of Acast. Like Acast, Pippa has always seen an opportunity to provide podcast creators with the means to deliver dynamic ads that consider end-user locations and interests, rather than embedded ads. In other words, ads of the kind offered on the rest of the web, but which have not traditionally been available to podcasters.
Marcus is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, and received an undergraduate degree from the University of the Witwatersrand before moving to New York to pursue graduate studies at NYU. After graduating, he worked for various organizations including TED, the Clinton Global Initiative and K2 Intelligence.
The companies are not disclosing specific terms of the deal, but Marcus says Thing that Acast and Pippa are working on an integration strategy that will bring the best of both platforms to consumers.
âWe’re incredibly proud of what we’ve built at Pippa – a product podcasters really love,â Marcus says. âWe have long admired Acast as the world’s premier podcast company, so we are confident that our combined strengths will accelerate Acast’s success by serving and driving the growth of podcasters, advertisers and listeners around the world. “
Acast of thousands
Founded in 2014, Acast hosts podcasts like My dad wrote a porn, Adam Buxton’s podcast, and David Tennant’s podcast, among others. Like Pippa, Acast’s goal is to provide podcasters with monetization tools, including access to an advertiser market. It also includes discovery tools to help listeners find new shows they’ll enjoy.
Acast’s tools have so far been limited to podcasts with large audiences, but by adding Pippa’s intuitive dashboard and interface, as well as its own dynamic advertising and analytics tools, the company claims that it will now be possible for podcasters to register and host them in a few clicks, and monetize from the first episode. Existing podcasters who port their products to Acast will also be able to monetize their old catalogs.
âThis acquisition significantly accelerates our growth and will advance Acast in its mission to empower podcasters of all sizes and help them connect with audiences around the world,â said Acast CEO Ross Adams. “We have been extremely impressed with what Team Pippa has built and are delighted to add fuel to the flames now that Pippa is part of Team Acast.”
Both platforms already host a wide range of podcasts across a plethora of genres. By merging their lists, Acast will now host more than 7,000 shows, including some from major media outlets like the BBC, Financial Times, The Economist and Vogue.
The west which is no longer so wild
Pippa may be Acast’s first acquisition, but given the ongoing battle for dominance in the podcast landscape, we’ll be surprised if it’s the last. While podcasts have traditionally been immune to the exclusivity licensing and land grabbing that characterizes the video streaming space, that is changing. Audio streaming service Spotify acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor in February, for example, in what is widely seen as a move towards creating original content, much like Netflix does. Like video streaming, there may well be room for multiple players, but it is undeniable that early players will benefit.
Leandro Saucedo, Commercial Director of Acast, said the acquisition of Pippa âis a natural step for us as a global leader in podcasting. Acast has played a vital role in professionalizing the industry and implementing modern, digital metrics in the podcast ecosystem â. He adds that Acast looks forward to “working with the Pippa team to continue to move the industry forward.”
Like shows like Serial, S-City and – more recently – Blackout It has been convincingly demonstrated that the podcasting industry is no longer an industry of enthusiasts and amateurs (although they still have a place). Instead, organization, astute production, and great advertisers become the norm. Companies like Acast appear determined to be at the forefront of this change, rather than responding to it. It’s an exciting time for podcast makers and listeners. And, we imagine it, especially exciting if you’re the founder of a podcast startup with something unique to offer in the market.