Richard Plepler has jumped on the podcast bandwagon. The former HBO CEO invested in Luminary Media, a podcast subscription service, and served on its board.
Plepler has acquired a minority stake in Luminary, according to sources, although they could not confirm the amount of the investment. The New York-based company has raised more than $ 100 million to date from funders, including New Enterprise Associates and Sinai Ventures.
Plepler stepped down as chairman and CEO of HBO in February 2019 after a 28-year career with the premium programmer. Earlier this month, he announced the formation of Eden Productions, a film and television production company that has signed an exclusive five-year deal with Apple TV Plus.
Luminary’s model is similar to HBO’s: Luminary charges US subscribers $ 4.99 per month to access dozens of original shows without any commercials. The company offers original shows from Trevor Noah, Lena Dunham, Leon Neyfakh, Russell Brand, Michael Rapaport and others, with new originals from partners such as Soledad O’Brien, Alex Gibney, Franklin Leonard and Evan Narcisse.
And at Luminary, Plepler found a familiar face – the company hired former HBO chairman Simon Sutton as its CEO last fall.
“The podcast has become an exciting and dynamic medium for great storytelling,” Plepler said in a statement. “Luminary’s vision as a jewelry box of premium podcast content where creators are allowed to do their best and subscribers can consistently experience quality will make it easier for consumers to navigate an incredibly crowded space. “
Sutton, commenting on Plepler’s membership on the Luminary Board of Directors, said: “I have seen first-hand the invaluable impact of Richard on a premium content company, and we welcome his strategic partnership as we We strive to support creators, deliver content to listeners, and drive Luminary’s business forward. . “
The company said it plans to appoint additional board members soon. In addition to the subscription service, Luminary offers a free podcast app that provides access to thousands of ad-supported podcasts. The company was founded in 2018 by Matt Sacks, former director of venture capital firm NEA (who is an investor in Luminary).