February 20, 2019

Podcasts go prime time as Spotify buys Gimlet Media and Anchor

Podcasts Audio Gimlet Spotify

Podcasts are about to enter the big leagues. Spotify has officially completed a deal for Gimlet, by-and-large seen as the largest and most influential podcast media company. For those unfamiliar, Gimlet flew out of the gates with their debut podcast series, StartUp, which chronicled the efforts of Co-Founders Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber to kickstart Gimlet. Not to be forgotten, podcast platform Anchor, which handles the distribution and monetization of podcasts was also acquired. In total, Spotify spent approximately USD 340 million for both companies.

Why would Spotify buy Gimlet?
This move feels very Netflix-esque in hopes of acquiring the foundations of content. By acquiring Gimlet, Spotify gets access to both the company’s IP of shows and also a proven podcast studio. It’s clear that Spotify sees value in the future of podcasting and by owning the rights to hit shows, they can maintain higher margins and not hammer out licensing deals.

Is this really a gamechanger?
We’d say that this, it totally validates podcasts but it perhaps isn’t the most important thing that’s challenging podcasts currently. Discovery, monetization, metrics (ugh), and marketing are arguably all pillars within the podcast world that currently more attention.

A prediction from Marc Andreessen about audio and podcast content
“The really big one right now is audio. Audio is on the rise just generally and particularly with Apple and the AirPods, which has been an absolute home run [for Apple]. It’s one of the most deceptive things because it’s just like this little product, and how important could it be? And I think it’s tremendously important, because it’s basically a voice in your ear any time you want.

For example, there are these new YouTube type celebrities, and everybody’s kind of wondering where people are finding the spare time to watch these YouTube videos and listen to these YouTube people in the tens and tens of millions. And the answer is: they’re at work. They have this Bluetooth thing in their ear, and they’ve got a hat, and that’s 10 hours on the forklift and that’s 10 hours of Joe Rogan. That’s a big deal.

Of course, speech as a [user interface] is rapidly on the rise. So I think audio is going to be titanically important.”

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