Amazon is investing in podcasts to challenge Spotify (report)

Amazon-owned audiobook service Audible, which was acquired by the retail and tech giant for $300m in 2008, is aiming to challenge Spotify’s growing dominance in the podcast business by preparing to spend millions of dollars on original podcast content.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which, citing people familiar with the matter, states that for prospective ‘Audible Originals‘, the company “is offering anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars per show”.

As noted by Bloomberg, Audible has been investing in original content for a number of years, but “is now prioritizing celebrity hosts and shows that can help broaden its audience beyond the avid audiobook listener”.

The report adds that Audible has already bought shows from comedy talent Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, and documentary producer John Battsek, which form “part of a new, multimillion-dollar shopping spree,” to compete with Spotify, which has spent approximately $600m on podcast-related acquisitions in the past 18 months.

Spotify’s podcast-related deals include acquisitions of Anchor FM ($154m), Gimlet Media ($195m) and Parcast ($55m) last year, plus Bill Simmons’ sports podcast The Ringer (up to $196m) in Q1 2020.

Plus, there was last week’s $100m, multi-year Joe Rogan licensing deal, which reportedly takes SPOT’s podcast spend up towards the three-quarters-of-a-billion dollar mark.

Alongside Audible’s push into podcasts, Bloomberg also reports that in the coming months, podcasts will be added to Amazon Music’s app, with the report stating that the concurrent podcast-related moves on two Amazon-owned platforms “has confused some producers and podcast networks”.

Meanwhile, according to a report published by news site Axios on Tuesday (May 26), citing sources, Amazon is looking to invest in localized sports and news podcast content.

The report adds, again, citing sources, that Amazon “is using its venture arm tied to voice innovation, the Alexa Fund, to invest in local podcast companies” and that “Amazon sees a strategic advantage in podcasts by leveraging Alexa voice tech to help users discover personalized content”.

Axios suggests that one reason behind a potential localized podcast play from Amazon could be because it wants to “tap in” to the local advertising market, which is valued at over $150 billion in the US alone.Music Business Worldwide

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