Himalaya Media Launches Creator-Focused Podcast Platform
|RADIO ONLINE | Wednesday, February 6, 2019|
San Francisco-based Himalaya Media will launch a podcast platform, audio content network and original production studio. The Himalaya is set to debut with an a slate of original and partner-created content being rolled out in early 2019. Headed by CEO Yu Wang, the free Himalaya app includes several features at launch, with more on the way, and is now available in the App Store or via Google Play.
Before joining Himalaya, Wang he was the co-founder and CTO of Otto Radio -- a startup focused on an algorithmic approach to helping users discover podcast content. "It's not so easy to be a podcast creator. There are so many things to worry about: producing the show, growing the audience, and monetizing the content. It's essential to have a platform that works together with creators to resolve their pain points," said Wang.
He added, "Central to our success will be our commitment to building a platform where creators can actively interact with their fans, and establish their own communities for future growth and monetization. We look forward to working closely with creators as we grow."
Wang will lead a team of executives including Ariel Liu, Himalaya's COO, who spent the past four years as General Manager and founder of the U.S. office for The ONE Smart Piano, a music learning startup backed by Sequoia Capital. Peter Vincer is VP of global partnerships and marketing, overseeing all content, marketing, sales and partnerships at the company. Antra Picard is VP of global sales, following nearly three years at consultancy Audience Group, and several years as a senior executive specializing in digital and programmatic ad sales.
Jordan Harbinger, one of the world's most popular podcast hosts, is a strategic advisor to the company. He has hosted a top 50 iTunes podcast for more than 12 years, and "The Jordan Harbinger Show" was awarded Apple's "Best of 2018" as one of the most downloaded shows of the year, with more than 4.5 million downloads per month.
The San Francisco-based startup has raised $100M from General Atlantic, SIG and Ximalaya FM and will use this to support the tech innovation, marketing, and content production and acquisition that are driving this launch.
Additionally, Himalaya has immediate access to expertise from Ximalaya FM, the top spoken audio platform in Asia, with offices in China, Japan and the U.S. Ximalaya FM is one of the world's most successful and fastest-growing audio networks, with more than 500 million listeners, and is a pioneer in audiobooks, podcasts, and live-streaming audio.
The Himalaya Podcast Network will feature a mix of new original programming created through Himalaya's internal development team and existing shows from leading producers, with a wide array of content spanning all genres. Himalaya's team will focus on promotion, marketing and ad sales for both originals and partner shows.
Content Partnerships include Dallas Mavericks, Starburns Industries, Acast, Panoply Media and Studio71. Additional existing shows joining the Himalaya Podcast Network are "Dexter Guff is Smarter Than You," "Done Disappeared" and "The Box of Oddities."
"Too many podcast companies and platforms today make selfish decisions that drive greater revenues and growth... for them, but hurt overall audience growth and revenue opportunities for creators. Every single decision we have made, and will continue to make, is guided by the same question: ‘is this best for our creators and partners?,'" said Himalaya VP of Global Partnerships and Marketing Peter Vincer. "We expect to have at least 100 shows in our network by mid-year - from scripted originals to big existing shows needing a boost - and expect to reach at least 15 million monthly impressions by the end of the year."