Amazon Picks Up Wondery As Money Continues to Flow to Podcasts

    • Ad revenue for traditional U.S. radio totaled $12 billion in 2020; podcast ad revenue was $1.1 billion.
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Amazon’s Dec. 30 acquisition of podcast network Wondery signals that the podcast industry is taking is 2020 momentum right into the new year. 

Over 100 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts every month last year. That number is projected to rise to 125 million by 2022. 

Before the acquisition, Wondery was one of the biggest independent podcast studios and networks left, with a handful of sports shows including The Athletic’s “The Lead.” Amazon is said to have paid around $300 million for Wondery. Apple and Sony were reportedly also in talks to buy it.

The podcast industry is still figuring out how to tap into advertising revenue. Ad revenue for traditional U.S. radio totaled $12 billion in 2020; podcast ad revenue was $1.1 billion. 

“Podcasts have huge audiences, but they’re still the most undermonetized media around,” Chartable CEO Dave Zohrob told Bloomberg

Amazon’s investment is just the latest attempt by a major player to make a splash in the space.

  • Spotify acquired podcast ad tech company Megaphone for $235 million in November. 
  • Spotify also acquired The Ringer and its expansive podcast network for $200 million last February, and podcast companies Gimlet, Parcast and Anchor before that.
  • Sirius XM acquired Stitcher, a full-service podcast platform, for $325 million in October. 

Amazon’s troves of customer data could help with targeted advertising for its podcasts. The already has a platform that facilitates targeted ad purchases on its retail site and Amazon Music.