In a bid to further expand into the world of audio production, the paper of record has acquired the one podcast (other than your own) that your parents have definitely heard of. The New York Times Company issued a press release last night noting that has entered into an agreement to purchase Serial Productions, the podcasting house behind the wildly popular reported show of the same name.
The deal, which the paper later reported is valued at around $25 million, brings the podcast into the same department that has produced The Daily since early 2017. Serial’s creators Julie Synder and Sarah Koenig will become Times staff members as the Executive Editor and Executive Producer of Serial Productions, respectively.
The acquisition also finds perennial favorite PRX show This American Life “partnering” with The Times. The Ira Glass-hosted radio show served as a launching pad for the podcast-first Serial, and like Serial, there’s no doubt considerable overlap between the show’s listenership and The Times’ readership. The Venn diagram isn't a circle, but it's probably about as close as you're going to get. As far as content and tone are considered, honestly, there probably couldn’t have been a more appropriate acquisition.
The deal also follows the NYT’s acquisition of Audm, a startup makes audio content out of longform journalism. The company will be going toe to toe with Spotify, which has been spending money hand over fist to purchase podcast exclusivity. Last year the streaming service purchased Gimlet and Anchor for a combined $340 million and more recently acquired exclusive rights to the controversial Joe Rogan Experience.