Quake, a subscription podcast company founded by media veterans, launched on Tuesday with $2.5 million in seed funding, executives told Axios. It’s debuting with exclusive political shows and hopes to expand into religion, sports and eventually Hispanic media.
Why is this important: Podcast companies increasingly tend to poach top talent to launch exclusive shows, which ultimately forces users to subscribe to multiple podcast companies.
“” This seems to be a fatality in the media these days. We’ve seen it in digital video and with the rise of streaming services, I know there are a lot of podcast purists, but there have been many podcast services that haven’t been able to monetize significantly on ads.”
—Mike Morrell, President of Quake Media
The company launches with six exclusive shows prominent political and media personalities including Laura Ingraham, Soledad O’Brien, Gretchen Carlson, Mike Huckabee, Andrew Gillum, Marc Lamont Hill and Buck Sexton. (Hill and Sexton will launch a podcast together.)
- Quake founders include Mike Morrell, former ESPN reporter and Bleacher Report executive, and Doug Rosenberg, a former political leader who started one of the first syndicated Spanish-language radio shows in 2012.
- The goal is to use these types of exclusive big names to attract subscribers to the platform for a monthly fee of $4.99 or an annual fee of $49.99. All shows are commercial free.
- Investors understand Wndrco, a holding company founded by media veterans like Ann Daly and Jeffrey Katzenberg, as well as a few other individuals.
- The company has 4 full-time employees and 8 full-time contractors.
- The app is available on Apple and Android, and content is available on QuakeMedia.com.
The big picture: News and politics podcasts are up 98% from the same time last year, according to data from podcast analytics firm Podtrac.
- The founders see politics as a good gateway to building an audience, as many of the talents she has tapped into already have massive followings.
- “All of the talents we’ve signed have significant media experience,” Rosenberg said. “We don’t train rookie political stars to do something like that.”
Be smart: Quake launches a network that looks a lot like digital radio. It focuses on verticals like religion, news, and sports that sound like radio shows, not things like true crime or evergreen storytelling.
- “We’re like this new version of satellite radio,” says Rosenberg. “The digital version.”
- Other subscription podcast companies, like Luminary, focus on more persistent shows. Luminary has signed mega-stars in the podcast space, but is less focused on recruiting national political and media figures.
And after: Rosenberg says the company may explore additional fundraising when it seeks to expand from post-election political podcasts in the coming months.
- The company hopes to have locked down at least 50 shows by next year. “We have these conversations now,” Rosenberg says.