Amazon acquires podcast network Wondery to compete with Spotify

Amazon is acquiring podcast network Wondery.
Image: Amazon

Podcasts are no longer a niche product for hipsters and business executives. Data from Oberlo suggests that more than half of Americans over the age of 12 listen to podcasts.

These days, there is a podcast for just about everyone. Whether you’re looking for true crime, stock market advice, or captivating original stories, there are nearly a million podcasts to choose from.

That being said, not all platforms are equally competitive in the podcast arena. Spotify and Apple control the majority of the market, hosting hundreds of thousands of podcasts. Given the fact that there is big money in the podcasting arena, other companies want in.

Amazon just announced a major acquisition that will boost its reputation in the podcast industry and help it compete with the likes of Spotify and Apple. It will soon own Wondery, one of the few remaining independent podcast networks.

Meeting Demand

Today’s digital age has dramatically changed the way that music is distributed. The same songs are available on almost every listening platform, making it difficult for companies to gain an edge from their music libraries alone. Instead, Spotify, Apple, and Amazon are racing to offer consumers better features and additional content.

Podcasts, for the most part, are also available on a variety of platforms. However, there are a number of exclusive shows that are unique to services like Spotify and even Amazon’s Audible.

These are a terrific way for platforms to attract new users—who can then be retained with massive music libraries and a selection of other podcasts.

Fortunately for those who enjoy listening to Wondery podcasts, including the popular true crime show “Dirty John,” Amazon has no intentions of making them exclusive to its platform. For now, Wondery shows will continue to be available on a variety of listening services.

That being said, Amazon will likely devote some additional resources to Wondery’s podcasts. The Verge’s Ashley Carman notes that the tech giant could do things like promote Wondery shows over other podcasts and spend additional marketing capital on them. That won’t really affect listeners, but it may be good news for podcast creators.

Amazon itself says that the acquisition will “accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners around the globe.”

More Competition

At the time of this writing, the financial terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed. That being said, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Wondery was previously valued at about $300 million.

The company is consistently one of the top podcast publishers in the U.S.

Data from Podtrac lists it as number four during the month of November thanks to more than nine million listeners. As such, the acquisition may help direct a large number of listeners to Amazon Music for their podcast entertainment. Amazon certainly hopes to lure them away from rival platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

It will be interesting to see how the acquisition plays out in the days ahead. The podcasting space shows no signs of slowing down—nor does the competition between Amazon and its rivals. By acquiring Wondery, it strengthens its podcast resume and can offer a more attractive product to listeners.


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