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Report: Amazon Looking to Invest in Podcast Content

By Eric Volkman – May 27, 2020 at 12:07AM

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The retailer is apparently most interested in sports punditry.

The current 300-pound gorilla of e-commerce, Amazon.com (AMZN 1.20%), wants to get into the podcasting game. According to a report in Axios published on Tuesday and citing "a source familiar with the company's plans," the retailer is searching through its voice technology venture capital unit, Alexa Fund, for podcast companies to acquire. 

According to Axios' source, Amazon is particularly interested in podcasts that have a local focus. Sports content seems to be high on the wish list. The company has a history of investing in such material; late last month, it renewed its deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday Night Football games on its Prime Video streaming service.

The spheres at Amazon's headquarters complex.

Image source: Amazon.com.

Apparently, Amazon "sees a strategic advantage in podcasts by leveraging Alexa voice tech to help users discover personalized content," Axios wrote. The idea seems to be that these podcasts could be offered when an Alexa user issues a voice command for information on a particular topic.

On the revenue side, the company would like to draw from localized advertising, thus far a relatively untapped market for it. Axios says that collectively, this market is worth around $150 billion in total.

The article's source maintains, however, that there is some internal conflict over which part of the company will be responsible for podcast assets. Amazon has several audio divisions; in addition to device units like Alexa, it also operates the Audible e-book brand and the iTunes-like Amazon Music. 

Amazon has not yet commented on the Axios report.

On Tuesday, in contrast to the broader stock market and peer blue chip companies, Amazon's shares slumped on the day. They fell by 0.6%.

 

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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