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Amazon Buys Wondery as Podcasting Race Continues


#Amazon is acquiring #Wondery, the company behind podcasts such as “Dirty #John,” “Dr. #Death” and “The #Shrink #Next #Door,” as the race to grab parts of the audio market continues.

The deal, announced on #Wednesday, is the latest bet that media companies are placing on audio — podcasts in particular — as they search for new ways to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded streaming video market.

The deal values #Wondery, which began in 2016, at roughly $300 million, a person briefed on the matter said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal terms were not disclosed.

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#Amazon called the #Wondery deal a “pivotal moment to expand the #Amazon #Music offering beyond music as listener habits evolve.”

#Podcasts have been exploding in popularity, with nearly a third of #Americans saying at the beginning of 2019 that they listened to at least one monthly. They offer media companies a fast-growing medium and an opportunity to build out their offerings without having to go through powerful interests, like publishers and labels, when licensing music, and studios when licensing films.

#Efforts to turn podcasting into its own celebrity universe have attracted the likes of #Meghan #Markle and #Prince #Harry. #Wondery’s founder, #Hernan #Lopez, a former #Fox executive, has added #Hollywood treatment to its podcasts, replete with tag lines, trailers and billboards. “Dr. #Death” is set to be developed into a television series on NBCUniversal’s #Peacock streaming service.

#Mr. #Lopez told The #New #York #Times last year that he had “set out to create a company that could build on bringing to podcasting the skill set of television and movies, both in storytelling and production, as well as marketing.”

#Mr. #Lopez will step down as chief executive when the deal with #Amazon closes, and #Jen #Sargent, #Wondery’s chief operating officer, will take over management, according to an #Amazon spokeswoman. #In #April, #Mr. #Lopez pleaded not guilty to federal charges accusing him of bribing soccer officials in #South #America in exchange for broadcasting rights when he was an executive at #Fox #Sports.

#Amazon would not “predict” when the #Wondery deal was expected to close, the #Amazon spokeswoman said, noting it is subject to “customary closing conditions.”

The #Times announced a deal this year to acquire #Serial #Productions, the company behind the hit podcast “Serial.” #Spotify has announced a string of deals to expand beyond its streaming music business, including an acquisition of the #Ringer, the podcast company started by the former ESPN journalist #Bill #Simmons. #That deal is valued at about $250 million.

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The investment bank #LionTree served as financial adviser to #Wondery.



[ source link ]
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/30/business/dealbook/wondery-amazon-podcasts.html

##Amazon ##Buys ##Wondery ##Podcasting ##Race ##Continues

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