Amazon to buy podcast maker Wondery

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CNBC | Richard Washington

Amazon announced on Wednesday that it was taking over podcasting company Wondery and adding original audio content to its catalog.

As part of the deal, Wondery will join Amazon Music, the e-commerce giant’s music streaming business. Amazon Music added podcasts to its platform in September to capture part of the increasingly competitive podcasting market in which Spotify, Apple, and others have gained a foothold.

The terms of the contract were not disclosed. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment. Wondery declined to comment.

Founded in 2016, Wondery has produced some of the most popular podcasts in recent years, including true crime series like “Dirty John”, “Dr. Death” and “Over My Dead Body”. The podcast producer and network say it has more than 10 million listeners each month.

Speculation about the deal had developed since earlier this month when the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was in talks to acquire the podcaster. Bloomberg reported in September that Wondery was considering a sale.

The deal comes at a time when Spotify, Apple and others continue to battle for dominance in the podcasting market. Amazon, Apple, and Spotify have all tried adding podcasts to their streaming services as the medium has become the most popular way to listen to music and allows them to differentiate their services from original podcasts.

Spotify has invested heavily in the production of original podcasts, including most recently a contract with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle. It has also acquired four companies to expand its library, including The Ringer, Gimlet Media, Anchor, and Parcast. In the meantime, Apple has slowly expanded its original podcasting endeavors and its podcast app is installed on iPhones by default.

Amazon has gained a foothold beyond Amazon Music. The company also owns Audible, which hosts audiobooks and podcasts. The service has in recent years expanded its original audio content and expanded its list of free podcasts, including popular shows “This American Life,” “Pod Save America,” and “You’re Wrong About”.

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