Wondery, the podcasting company that spawned the hit TV show “Dirty John,” announced a $10 million private equity cash infusion in a move that highlights rapid growth in the nascent corner of media as well as challenges to reach wider audiences.
Wondery will seek to boost its lineup and technology with the investment, as it seeks more users. Founder Hernan Lopez said that while appetite for podcasts is soaring, listeners “can’t find enough of the high-quality, immersive series the Wondery brand is known for.”
- The company, whose lineup includes “Dr. Death” and “The Shrink Next Door,” has the fourth-largest audience, trailing NPR, iHeartRadio and PRX, according to Podtrac.
- The investment comes as podcast advertising revenues jumped 53% last year to $479 million, according to the Interactive Broadcasting Bureau’s annual report from a few weeks ago. The are expected to reach $1 billion in 2021.
- Media-focused PE companies led the latest funding, primarily Waverly Capital, whose chairman is former Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr. Buzzfeed investors Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, BDMI and several more also participated.
- Karma Takeaway: While demand and ad revenue gain, at least one study has shown little recent audience growth and questions remain about the ability to measure audiences. Big players like Spotify and Apple are expected to add to their podcasting lineups and consolidation of smaller players may happen soon.