Radio Investing in Podcasting

By David Alpern

With apologies to Samsung’s tag line, it looks like the “next big thing” may be Hubbardpodcasting. This week Hubbard Radio announced that it is taking a 30% stake in a Beverly Hills based podcast network.

Legacy radio broadcasters are anxious to snap up the next evolution in audio media. Sources estimated Hubbard’s investment at $10 million. Just last month E.W. Scripps bought Hollywood podcasting network Midroll Media.

PodcastOne is an advertising network for more than 200 podcasts, which deliver 400 online casino million impressions per month. Some of its celebrity podcasts are hosted by Shaquille O’Neal, Adam Carolla and Nicole ‘Snooki’ Polizzi as well as well-known public radio programs “Freakonomics” and “Radiolab.”

Podcast audiences at this moment remain relatively small but are registering incremental annual growth. 17% of Americans listened to podcasts in January 2015, up two points year over year according to the Share of Ear study published by Edison Research in February, and reviewed previously here on the Media Partners Worldwide blog.

Traditional radio broadcast companies are investing with the belief that the podcast industry is on the verge of explosive growth and point to the platform”s potential by citing the success of NPR’s mega-hit episodic podcast “Serial” that re-examined a young man’s murder conviction and has been downloaded over 80 million times since it debuted in 2014.