SiriusXM nears $300M deal to buy Stitcher podcast service

SiriusXM is nearing a $300 million deal to buy the Stitcher podcasting platform from broadcaster E.W. Scripps, sources told The Post.

The acquisition would give the satellite radio giant a foothold in the growing podcast business, which is led by music streamer Spotify — and made a big push into the space this spring. Insiders said the deal hasn’t closed yet but is expected to be announced later this week.

Spokespeople for Sirius and Scripps declined to comment.

Stitcher owns podcast networks like Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts with 50 shows, including “Freakonomics Radio” and “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.” It runs a free podcast app and a premium, ad-free service for $4.99 a month.

In tie-ups with outside networks and shows, San Francisco-based Stitcher distributes and sells advertising for more than 250 podcasts — including hit shows like “My Favorite Murder,” “WTF With Mark Maron” and “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” — through its Midroll Media advertising unit.

The Wall Street Journal broke the news on the talks late Monday.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Stitcher has been shopped for some time by Scripps, which is facing pressure in its core local TV business, and has been looked at by Sony Music. Stitcher brought in $17.1 million in operating revenue for the first quarter of the year, up 13 percent from a year earlier.

Paid subscriptions to Sirius satellite radio service account for the bulk of its business. But in 2018, Sirius expanded into internet streaming when it bought Spotify rival, Pandora for over $3 billion. Pandora, an advertising-reliant company, already had podcast aspirations of its own.

Further dipping its toe in the podcast space, Sirius inked a deal with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment last year to create exclusive podcasts for its satellite and radio streaming businesses. Last month, Spotify followed that game plan and inked a deal for original podcasts with DC Comics.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, US ad revenue from podcasts increased about 42 percent, to $678.8 million last year, and it is projected to rise to $863.4 million this year and exceed $1 billion by 2021.

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