Podcasts Are Booming! SiriusXM Is Getting Very Serious About Them

SiriusXM turned even more serious about podcasts with its Monday purchase of podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. The competition should be heating up now for Spotify, iHeartMedia, Amazon and Apple.

The satellite radio giant paid $3 billion for Pandora in 2018 and now further strengthened its position in the market with Stitcher, whose revenue grew 52% to $72.5 million from 2016 to 2019, according to Stitcher’s former parent company, E.W. Scripps Co.

SiriusXM acquires thousands of Stitcher podcasts, including those by Oprah Winfrey, Rob Lowe, and Conan O’Brien, as well as such popular shows as “Freakonomics Radio” and “My Favorite Murder.” Last month, SiriusXM bought Simplecast for podcast distribution and analytics.

“We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape,” SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said of the Stitcher acquisition. “With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.”

In addition, SiriusXM is in negotiations for a new contract with Howard Stern, which Bloomberg News reported could pay Stern $120 million per year. It is trying to compete with Apple–the pioneer in the field–and Spotify, by securing high-end podcast celebrities. SiriusXM now claims 150 million listeners, “the largest addressable audience” in the U.S.

Last year was a breakout year for podcasting, but accounting firm Deloitte estimates that the industry will top $1 billion in revenue this year. On-demand audio is in demand as much as ever.

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