Posts tagged with "Podcasts"

Barack and Michelle Obama seal podcasting deal with Spotify

June 10, 2019

Swedish audio-streaming platform Spotify Technology has sealed a deal with the Higher Ground production company—helmed by Barack and Michelle Obama—to develop and produce podcasts.

The former president and first lady are expected to participate in at least some of the podcasts covering a range of topics, the companies said in their announcement, released on June 6. That could potentially mean that they will take hosting, narrating, or interview roles. Financial terms of the multiyear agreement weren’t disclosed, nor were details about programming or how many podcasts the deal might include, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

In a formal press release, the Obamas noted that, when they launched their production company last year with an initial partnership with Netflix, their goal was “to create compelling content that entertains and inspires viewers.” Recognizing that content is consumed in many forms, this new partnership will give them the ability to expand the conversation—educating and engaging Spotify’s diverse and extensive audience.

Spotify, which recently surpassed 100 million premium subscribers and has more than 217 million monthly active users, will distribute the podcasts exclusively to audiences worldwide.

 “We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world,” Michelle Obama said. “Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds—and their hearts.”

“President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world’s most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content,” said Spotify Chief Content Officer, Dawn Ostroff. “Connecting people with original and thoughtful creators — especially those with the ability to highlight underrepresented and indispensable narratives — is at the core of our mission and we are thrilled that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort.”

Research contact: @Spotify

Spotify acquires producer of macabre podcast content, Parcast

April 1, 2019

If you listen regularly to any of the 19 scripted crime and mystery shows on the podcast network, Parcast—among them, Haunted Places, Serial Killers, Conspiracy Theories, and Cultsyou’ll want to know that they soon will expand to spook a larger audience.

The major audio streaming subscription service, Spotify, has acquired Parcast in a deal expected to close in the second quarter of 2019. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“The addition of Parcast to our growing roster of podcast content will advance our goal of becoming the world’s leading audio platform,” said Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff in a March 26 company press release.

“Crime and mystery podcasts are a top genre for our users and Parcast has had significant success creating hit series while building a loyal and growing fan base,” Ostroff noted, adding, “We’re excited to welcome the Parcast team to Spotify and we look forward to supercharging their growth.”

“In three years, we have created a production house that has grown exponentially and hit a chord with mystery and true-crime fans, especially women, across all 50 states and around the world. We are proud to join the world’s most popular audio subscription streaming service and gain access to one of the largest audiences around the world,” said Parcat President Max Cutler. “Alongside Spotify, our ability to scale, grow, and amplify the unique and tailored brand of content we create is full of fantastic possibilities.”

One of the things that has made Parcast stand out from the crowd is the fact that they produce everything in-house and own all of the content available on the network. “That is crucial,” Cutler told Podcast Business Journal. “We do not rep other podcasts. We do not make deals on sales for other podcasts. We want to own all the IPs. That gives us a lot of flexibility in how we control the sound, how we build a brand.”

According to the two parties to the deal, Parcast will continue to produce its own creative content. Indeed, TechCrunch reports, there do not appear to be any plans to make Parcast’s shows exclusive to Spotify at present, so if you’re not a Spotify user, you’ll likely still be able to enjoy your favorite Parcast picks after the acquisition.

Research contact: @Spotify

Gwyneth Paltrow signs with Netflix for Goop original content

February 5, 2019

Goop—the lifestyle and wellness juggernaut founded a decade ago by actress, fashionista, and social influencer Gwyneth Paltrow—is expanding its original content with a new docuseries on Netflix; an exclusive podcast partnership with Delta Airlines; and a slew of programming centered around beauty, food, and books, Variety reported exclusively on February 4.

But can you be populist and inspirational while touting $995 wireless headphones and $2,780 handbags? The new sponsors seem to think so.

Still untitled, Goop’s streaming series will hit Netflix next fall, comprising 30-minute episodes hosted by the site’s editors, chief content officer Elise Loehnen and Paltrow. The team will talk to experts, doctors, and researchers to examine issues relating to physical and spiritual wellness.

We were speaking to the platform question, and where our people are. They’re watching Netflix. Some of the more strategic, bigger stories we want to tell require a TV budget. Obviously, there’s no better partner in that,” Loehnen told Variety of the deal.

Loehnen’s content team of about 20 will work on shaping the series with Netflix, which she said seeks to dial up the aesthetics and quality of storytelling surrounding issues like mental, physical and sexual health — and address larger thematic questions the Goop audience has about leading optimal lives. It doesn’t hurt that Paltrow knows her way around a Hollywood set. The actress has appeared in over 40 films, including Avengers: Endgame, coming in April.

“Gwyneth is a highly visual, tactile person. The quality of everything that we produce is very important to her,” Loehnen said. “She’s always looking for white space. Whether it’s developing physical products or thinking of content. With this show, I think she’s only really interested in opportunities where we can uniquely be ourselves and do things potentially disruptive.”

Goop’s eponymous podcast also has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Delta Airlines. The podcast is hosted by Paltrow and Loehnen, and was one of the iTunes store’s most-downloaded in 2018. Beginning in February, eight episodes will stream on 600 Delta planes and push the show’s reach to over 18 million listeners, the company said. The inaugural batch will include a one-on-one conversation between Paltrow and Oprah Winfrey.

In addition to Netflix and Delta, Goop is developing standalone podcasts with in-house beauty expert Jean Godfrey-June (whom, Loehnen said, is the most popular staffer at the company’s Santa Monica offices), a food program hosted by an award-winning chef, and a Goop book club featuring author interviews and reviews.

In light of the digital content ramp-up, Goop will pause production on its quarterly print magazine and resume publication after the Netflix series hits.

Research contact: @MattDonnelly