Spotify, the Swedish music and audio streaming giant, has extended its reach further into the growing podcast market with its formal acquisition of the Ringer, a US sports and pop culture platform.
The company, which already spent nearly $400m in 2019 to acquire Gimlet Media, Anchor and Parcast in its bid to build up its podcasting capabilities, disclosed that it would pay between €130m and €180m (about $141m to $195m based on the current exchange rate) for the Ringer.
Some of the payment will be deferred and based on certain performance targets, but Bloomberg reported that Spotify is expected to pay an extra $50bn in due course.
Bill Simmons, a former ESPN sports journalist who founded the Ringer as recently as 2016, will remain at the company for the time being while his 90 employees will become part of Spotify.
The Ringer produces at least 30 podcasts, including a sports-related one from Simmons himself, as well as the movie-themed “The Rewatchables” and a food-focused podcast by restaurateur David Chang.
Spotify claims to have 124 million subscribers and 271 million monthly active users (as at December 31, 2019), but it clearly regards audio and podcasting as essential components of its growth strategy.
In its Q4 2019 earnings report, the company revealed that its podcast consumption hours were up 200% year-on-year, while Courtney Holt, Spotify’s head of studios and video, confirmed in a panel discussion at last month’s CES trade event that Spotify was actively looking to expand its podcasting.
“We found podcasting to be a great complement to our music service,” he said. “People who consume podcasts on Spotify are consuming more of Spotify, including music.”
Sourced from Spotify, Bloomberg; additional content by WARC staff