Wondery wants to turn Hollywood’s podcast dream factory

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When Hernan Lopez, a former arch executive of Fox International, started a podcast network Wondery roughly dual years ago with a seed investment from his former bosses during Fox Networks Group, podcasting was still rising as a media platform.

Now, with voice ascendant, and podcasting proof to be a tact belligerent for new narratives that other storytelling mediums can fasten onto — a pierce into a reinvention of radio for a 21st century seems prescient.

It’s not usually Fox that is now subsidy a podcast business; new investors led by storied try collateral and private equity financier Alan Patricof’s Greycroft Partners are entrance aboard with a $5 million joining to enhance a range of Wondery’s consternation factory. Additional investors embody Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Advancit Capital — a investment car for Shari Redstone (daughter of billionaire media noble Sumner Redstone).

Previous investors BAM Ventures, Watertower Ventures, Fox Networks Group and BDMI also participated in a round.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wondery intends to supplement new shows to a stable, including American Innovations, Dr. Death and I, Survivor, and has optioned Sward and Scale and Tides of History as projects for cinema and television.

While normal media companies are being forced to join army and mix resources to strengthen their marketplace from new competitors like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix entrance from a tech industry, new media platforms like podcasting are opening adult opportunities for opposite kinds of studios to emerge. 

I trust there’s a outrageous event in audio,” Lopez says. “There isn’t anywhere tighten to adequate peculiarity audio calm being produced.”

On average, a complicated consumer listens to 4 hours of audio per day, according to Lopez. Even yet many of that is music, an augmenting array of Americans are branch to podcasts as a new form of entertainment. And podcasts are commencement to attract some-more promotion dollars.

“In a podcast universe a ads seem to work. They’re native, they’re integrated into a shows. The listeners are welcoming,” says Wondery’s arch executive. That in itself would be a acquire change for media companies inspired for new ways to say their ad-supported business models. 

Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have lerned a era of consumers on subscription models that eschew promotion altogether — though podcasts still reason out promise, says Lopez.

Demographics are another pivotal reason that advertisers are relocating to podcasts, he says, and Comscore investigate (funded by Wondery) seems to behind adult his assertions.

According to Comscore, scarcely one in 5 Americans aged 18-49 pronounced they’d listened to podcasts during slightest once a month — a array that increases when it’s limited to a rarely desired demographic of group between a ages of 18 and 34, while scarcely one in 3 group 18-34 do so. Podcast listeners are also some-more expected to have a college degree, make some-more than $100,000 and be early adopters of electronics, consumer products and entertainment.

Advertisers are commencement to take notice, with $119 million spent on podcast promotion in 2016 and an estimated $220 million spent on podcast ads final year (according to estimated total in a consult underwritten by vital podcast networks).

Some of Wondery’s podcasts have already racked adult considerable numbers. Dirty John has been dowloaded some-more than 20 million times; American History Tellers has been downloaded some-more than 3 million times; and Business Wars more than 2 million times, says Lopez. 

Wondery is also bucking a media trend of portion adult micro-content to audiences.

“We don’t furnish most micro-content — if any,” says Lopez. “The stories that we tend to ride towards tend to work improved in long-form. We have to keep their courtesy for as prolonged as possible.”

Lopez’s Wondery isn’t a usually association to hillside in income from institutional investors for building a podcasting empire.

On a other side of a nation in a precinct of Brooklyn stands Gimlet Media, a $20 million aristocrat of a podcast marketplace these days. Gimlet lifted from a slew of investors, including WPP, Betaworks, Stripes Group, Lowercase Capital, LionTree Parters, Emerson Collective, Cross Culture Ventures and song manager incited financier Troy Carter.

Success among podcasts is also translating into options in other formats. As The New York Times remarkable yesterday, podcasts are removing “the Hollywood treatment.”

Wondery’s possess “Dirty John” is being incited into a array for dual networks — loyal crime stories on Oxygen and as a basement for a scripted array on Bravo. Meanwhile, “Welcome to Night Vale,” “Alice Isn’t Dead,” “Up and Vanished” and “Crimetown” are all being incited into array by opposite prolongation companies.

“In a final year or so, podcasts have been the thing,” Matt Tarses, a creator of “Alex, Inc.” (a new ABC uncover formed off of Gimlet Media’s “Startup” podcast) told The New York Times.