Spotify the digital streaming startup is reportedly in talks to acquire the Ringer, a sports and pop culture website and podcast network founded by sportswriter Bill Simmons in 2016. If the chatter on social media is correct, this could be one of Spotify's biggest moves and see the company rake in over 100 million podcast downloads per month.
The Ringer was launched in 2016 by Simmons who brought along several editors, who had worked with him on Grantland, an ESPN-owned blog which he operated until 2015. At the time Simmons hosted an American talk show on HBO called Any Given Wednesday, which ran for one season in 2016 and was the initial investor in the Ringer.
There's no mystery as to why Spotify might buy the Ringer. Spotify has been on a steady acquisition trail for podcaster companies, as demonstrated when it acquired Gimlet an award-winning narrative podcasting company, and Anchor a podcasting app that lets you record high-quality podcasts earlier in 2019. The companies were acquired in a double deal worth €300 million ($340 million).
Betting on podcasting
Backed by data from a report by Forbes published in 2019 and studies by the Interactive Advertising Bureau prepared by PwC, which publishes a detailed analysis of the US Podcast Advertising Industry, the data shows podcasting has been growing at a phenomenal pace over the last few years.
The latest report shows total market year-over-year revenue is estimated to grow by 42% in 2019, from FY 2018’s total market estimate of $479.1 million. And revenues are forecast to reach $1 billion by 2021.
Who will lead?
In the current podcast landscape it will appear that major distribution music platforms like iTunes, Spotify and Google Play are all jostling for pole position. Although Apple’s Podcasts maintain a steady lead, Spotify has over the past 3 years gone from no podcasting to being the first or second most used podcast service.