iHM To Acquire Stuff Media, Byrne to Head Podcast Unit
|RADIO ONLINE | Thursday, September 13, 2018|
iHeartMedia has agreed to acquire Stuff Media LLC, a publisher podcast content, which includes the HowStuffWorks (HSW) podcasting business as well as a slate of premium podcast content further expanding its podcasting platform and almost doubling its usage metrics. The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval. Stuff Media President/CEO Conal Byrne will join iHeartMedia as head of its podcast division. The company's podcasts will maintain their branding and remain headquartered in Atlanta with Byrne continuing as President and CEO of that studio as well.
Originally founded in 1998 as a reference site, HowStuffWorks was one of the pioneers of the podcast space and was one of the first companies to turn podcasting into a revenue-generating business. Stuff Media is now one of the nation's largest podcast publishers, with more than 61 million global downloads and streams per month. Its "Stuff" franchises have attracted a dedicated following for more than a decade, with signature podcast Stuff You Should Know surpassing 500 million downloads this year.
"Atlanta Monster," a Stuff Media/Tenderfoot TV original true crime podcast that recently partnered with iHeartMedia, became the biggest hit podcast of 2018, and maintained the #1 spot on the podcast ranking charts for four straight weeks.
"While podcasting has already experienced tremendous growth, the real opportunity to bring the full potential of podcasts to the mainstream still lies ahead," said iHeartMedia Chairman/CEO Bob Pittman. "Stuff Media is the original trailblazer of the podcasting industry, and we've been impressed by its ability to grow a massive, loyal audience over the past decade, led by a strong, experienced and cohesive management team, who we welcome to iHeartMedia."
"HowStuffWorks was a proud pioneer of the podcasting medium more than 10 years ago, and we are truly excited to be taking the next step with iHeart to chart the industry's course for the next decade," added Stuff Media President/CEO Conal Byrne. "Combining our assets with the #1 audio and media company, and #1 commercial podcast publisher, gives us the unassailable position in the podcasting business and a platform like no one else. No company in the world has iHeart's audience size and innovative drive, and coupled with the creative engine of Stuff Media, this is a game changer for podcast storytellers and advertisers alike."
Before this acquisition, iHeartRadio podcast listening growth was up 73 percent year-over-year in 2018 vs. 2017. In addition to its catalog of original podcasts, iHeartMedia's "Podcast, Meet Broadcast" initiative enables podcast creators to uniquely scale their audience through iHeartMedia's broadcast radio stations. iHeartRadio is also partnered with all major podcast publishers and features more than 20,000 podcasts ranging from NPR and WNYC to ESPN and Gimlet, and the iHeartRadio Podcast Network hosts more than 750 iHeartRadio original shows.