Amazon boosts its podcast profile with Wondery acquisition

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Amazon announced today that it has acquired podcast startup Wondery, bringing the company behind several Apple TV+ adaptations into the Amazon Music fold.

Wondery is known for podcasts including "Dirty John," "Dr. Death," "Business Wars," and "The Shrink Next Door." In a company blog post, Amazon said the deal won't lead to any user-facing changes and that Wondery content will still be available through various podcast services.

Podcast monitoring firm Podtrac estimatesthat Wondery's network draws more than nine million U.S. listeners per month. Wondery also holds rights to content that Amazon could adapt into films, television shows, and other mainstream mediums. Wondery is already using its podcast stable to develop more than a dozen TV shows.

Amazon didn't disclose a purchase price. A reportfrom December 2 stated that preliminary talks had valued Wondery at more than $300 million.

The company has a working relationship with Apple, with one podcast, "WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork," coming to Apple TV+ in 2021.

Amazon Music added podcasts in September 2020, in an attempt to better position itself against Spotify and other podcasting sources. Amazon says it hopes the Wondery integration will "accelerate the growth and evolution of podcasts by bringing creators, hosts, and immersive experiences to even more listeners across the globe, just as we do with music."

Amazon's acquisition comes amid Apple's attempts to build out its own podcast offerings, including a rumored stable of original podcasts. In May, reports indicated that the company was looking to hire a content executive to develop audio spinoffs of Apple TV+ shows and original podcasts that could later be adapted to the subscription video service.

Apple was a significant force in establishing podcasting more than a decade ago. The term stems from "iPod," as it initially indicated audio content made for consumption on Apple's portable media player.