Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 2:17 p.m. ET
Largest remaining independent podcast network goes to Amazon Music, which launched podcast offerings earlier this year, after competitors such as Apple and Spotify made similar deals
Amazon Music is betting big on podcasting with Wondery.
Martin Bureau/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday it is gobbling up Wondery, one of the last few independent podcasters, at the end of a year of deals focused on the audio format. Venture-backed Wondery was the No. 4 podcast publisher in November, behind iHeartRadio, NPR and the New York Times, according to Podtrac. It is known for true-crime podcasts like “Doctor Death” and “Dirty John,” and in November its 103 active shows had more than 59 million global downloads and streams, Podtrac data shows.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the company was in exclusive negotiations with Amazon
and that the talks valued Wondery at $300 million. Bloomberg News reported last month that Apple Inc.
and Sony Corp.’s
Sony Music Entertainment were also potential suitors. The deal comes after Apple, Spotify Technology SA
and SiriusXM Holdings Inc.
have made big bets on podcasting, which the Interactive Advertising Bureau expects will be a billion-dollar market next year. Amazon Music, the third-largest music streaming subscription service behind Spotify and Apple Music, launched podcasts in September as it sought to catch up with those two companies. “This is a pivotal moment to expand the Amazon Music offering beyond music as listener habits evolve,” Amazon said in its news release. Last month, Spotify bought Megaphone, a podcast-hosting and ad platform, for $235 million, capping a year of deals that has included the acquisition of Bill Simmons’s The Ringer and a deal with popular podcast host Joe Rogan. Apple earlier this year bought Scout FM, an app that created podcast stations, and shut the startup down. Other podcasting deals this year include SiriusXM’s purchase of Stitcher and iHeartMedia’s acquisition of Voxnest. Amazon said its purchase of Wondery is pending but did not say when it would be completed nor reveal a purchase price. A spokeswoman declined comment Wednesday.