Podcast company

EW Scripps acquires Stitcher, a podcast company


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EW Scripps media company Co.

SSP 1.85%

continued its push in podcasting with the acquisition of Stitcher for $ 4.5 million in cash.

Stitcher is a free app that streams over 65,000 podcasts from publishers ranging from NPR to MSNBC to The Wall Street Journal. It will operate under Midroll Media, the podcast advertising company Scripps acquired last year for $ 50 million, plus an additional $ 10 million over three years if the company hits certain milestones.

Midroll sells advertisements for approximately 230 programs such as “WTF with Marc Maron”, “The Nerdist”, “StarTalk Radio” and “The Bill Simmons Podcast”. But podcast listeners these days have several ways to tune in to shows, through Apple’s podcast app or Google Play Music. Stitcher, one such service, has 8 million registered users and is installed in around 50 car models.

“We certainly have the ad sales force and connections that make us a leader in the space, but today we depend almost exclusively on distribution in other channels,” said Adam Symson, chief digital officer. at Scripps. “It sets up, with a very strong brand, another piece of the puzzle in the ecosystem game.”

Scripps bought Stitcher from Deezer, the French streaming company that acquired the service in 2014. A Deezer spokesperson declined to comment on the price, but someone familiar with the matter described it as a small “acquisition.” Prior to this deal, Stitcher had raised around $ 25 million in funding.

About ten Stitcher employees will join Midroll.

The acquisition comes as Midroll promotes its new premium service Howl, which offers original shows and ad-free archives of popular podcasts like “WTF with Marc Maron” for $ 4.99 per month. “At some point the two will intersect,” said Erik Diehn, vice president of business development at Midroll, of Stitcher and the premium service.

As new listeners and shows enter the podcast world, companies in the industry face a handful of industry challenges, like measuring audience size and courting marketers from big brands.

“For the first time ever, we’ll have a lot more ability to help podcast discovery, help with distribution, help shows grow and find out what audiences want in ways we couldn’t. do before, ”said Mr. Diehn. noted.

Scripps has been looking for digital acquisitions lately. In April, he bought the Cracked humor website from Demand Media for $ 39 million. In 2014, Scripps purchased digital video information company Newsy for $ 35 million, but took on a goodwill impairment charge of $ 24.6 million on the business in the third quarter of 2015.

Last year, Scripps completed a merger with Journal Communications. The two companies combined and divested their newspaper stakes, merging their broadcasting activities under Scripps.

Write to Steven Perlberg at [email protected]

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