09/17/2020

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Podcaster Wondery Contemplates Its Next Move



A Wondery Sale Could Be the Largest Transaction in Podcast History

Wondery Inc, which creates podcasts like “Dr. Death” and “Dirty John,” is exploring a variety of strategic options, including a possible sale. If Wondery decided to go this route, analysts expect that the company would sell for at least $200 million, or double that. If the company sold for $400 million, it would be the largest transaction in the podcasting industry to date. Wondery may also decide to raise money from investors or to make a deal with a special-purpose acquisition company.

Numerous sectors of the media industry have been working to invest in podcasts recently, from record labels, to streaming services, to TV networks. Spotify (SPOT) recently spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying podcasters Gimlet Media, the Ringer, and Parcast. Similarly, SiriusXM (SIRI) recently agreed to acquire the podcast company Stitcher. Numerous companies from a variety of different media sectors could be eager to acquire Wondery.

Wondery’s Strategies

Wondery was founded four years ago and has since produced some of the world’s most beloved podcasts. It also handles distribution and advertising sales for dozens of shows produced elsewhere, which reach about 9 million listeners per month. The company’s revenue has gone up by about 75% from a year earlier and is expected to top $40 million this year.

Though advertising is the main source of revenue in the podcast industry, Wondery found ways for about 25% of its sales to come from other sources. For example, the company recently debuted its own app, which gives Wondery some independence from large podcast platforms. The app costs $4.99 and gives users access to bonus features and sneak peaks of shows. Additionally, Wondery sold the rights to some of its material to TV show producers.

Podcast Listenership Is on the Rise

The podcast industry has boomed in recent years. In the US, the amount of people listening to podcasts monthly has grown by 54% since 2017.

While some analysts worried the COVID-19 pandemic would negatively impact podcast listenership because people are not commuting as much, it appears that the opposite has been true. People have more time on their hands and fewer human interactions, so they are turning to podcasts more than ever. This could lead to even more growth for Wondery and the podcast industry as a whole. Investors will be eagerly watching to see if Wondery decides to pursue a sale or another strategy in the coming months.


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