Podstruck #6, April 12, 2021

Podstruck public Audio Industry list, Libsyn on the move, and more…

Feature Story

Podstruck introduces a dynamically updating list of publicly traded audio and audio adjacent companies with market data for those listed in US markets. The “Podstruck Public Audio Market Tracker” details equity prices, market caps, and other stats.  The tracker will include more companies and more information over time. Links to company background and news are included.  On first cut, we’ve put companies in three buckets:

1) Radio and On-Demand Audio:  Includes pure play podcasting companies, and radio + podcasting companies.  Based on market cap, Spotify and SiriusXM are by far the largest companies in this category.

2) Music and Media Industry:  Music labels and Media companies with a significant radio or podcast footprint. Liberty Media and Warner Music fall into this category.

3) Audio Tools and Audio Adjacent:  These companies are not primarily in the audio content or podcasting business, but, they either have business units that compete directly with companies who do, or have audio as a significant/dynamic part of their overall business.  Solutions companies, like Libsyn, who provide hosting or monetization to the audio industry also fall here. Some of the biggest audio and podcast players are in this bucket.  It includes Apple (podcast app, Apple Music, hardware), Amazon (Wondery, Audible, Amazon Music), Google (Google Podcasts), Roblox (virtual concerts), Peloton (Audio + exercise experience).

The Podstruck Public Audio Market Tracker is for the purposes of following the Audio Industry, and not intended for suggesting investment decisions.  The tracker is also collecting Internationally listed and Pre-IPO companies.  Over time these will be allocated to the categories above.  For comments and suggestions please email me at dan@gameballmedia.com

Deals / Companies

Libsyn is on the move – making acquisitions and upgrading their platform (Libsyn 5).

  • Libsyn (LSYNraised $25 million privately, and acquired Advertisecast for up to $30 million.  Libsyn operates purely in the podcasting .  Advertisecast is a podcast ad planning and buying service.  The vertical acquisition adds monetization to Libsyn’s hosting business and an ongoing source of cash flow. According to the press release, Advertisecast generated $12 Million in revenue in 2020 and is profitable. Rain News reports that Advertisecast currently “represents over 1,500 podcasts reaching 40-million listeners per month.” and “This ad hoc network supplies an ad inventory of 7,500 spots.” Advertisecast could also pull customers into Libsyn’s hosting business.
  • Adding to its podcast monetization plan, Libsyn followed the above transaction by acquiring Podcast monetization platform Glow which according to the press release  “enables podcasters to build membership programs and generate listener-supported revenue.”  
  • Vox Media acquires Preet Bharara’s Cafe Studios – financial terms not disclosed.  Vox doubles down on political news and commentary with Cafe as well as acquiring a business with a premium subscription angle.  The main event is Bharara’s show “Stay Tuned with Preet” which is deep and serious as far as the category goes. According to The Drum, Vox now has over 200 podcasts. It’s an interesting add but may not have strong momentum given the drop in consumer interest in the news/politics category post “the former guy” (see:  “Trump predicted news ratings would ‘tank if I’m not there.’ He wasn’t wrong”).
  • Patreon raised $155 million in new funding on top of $90 million they had raised in September 2020.  The company is now valued at $4 billon. A 2021 IPO may be on the horizon.
  • The newly unionized writers and producers at Spotify’s Gimlet and The Ringer reached a collective bargaining agreement with the company.  Here are the terms posted on the Writer’s Guild website with links to the actual agreements.  Included among the terms are:
    • Minimum salaries and minimum annual increases of 2%
    • Guaranteed severance of 11 weeks regardless of tenure 
    • A mechanism for promoting opportunities for job candidates from underrepresented groups

Interesting / Curious / Buzzing

  • Entercom completed a total rebrand to Audacy including:
    • Entercom is now Audacy
    • Their stock ticker is now AUD
    • And Radio.com app is now called Audacy (questionable move)

Content / Discovery

Research and Strategy

  • The headline “We Have now Crossed over 2 Million Podcasts” has made the rounds this quarter.  More interesting is to look a little bit deeper to see how many of those 2 million and growing are active and vital.  Amplifi and PodNews provided some insight and revealed that just 8%, or 156,000 podcasts have over 10 episodes and have released an episode in the past week.  26%, or 520,000 podcasts have over 10 episodes and have released an episode in the last year.

Closing Note

  • The 2021 IAB Upfront for Podcast Networks and Media Buyers is set for May 11-13

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