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The New York Times Bets on Podcasts With Latest Acquisition

By Jon Quast – Jul 23, 2020 at 12:51PM

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The company believes audio journalism is the future, and its acquisitions back that up.

The New York Times Company (NYT 1.48%) is acquiring Serial Productions, according to a press release from the company. Serial Productions is responsible for the hit investigative-journalism podcasts Serial and S-Town, which have over 625 million downloads between the two. The company reportedly paid $25 million.

In March, the New York Times also purchased Audm, a subscription-based audio app designed for long-form journalism. In other words, the company is doubling down on audio, continuing its expansion beyond traditional print news media.

A man listens to music through headphones against an orange background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Audio journalism is the future 

In addition to its deal with Serial Productions, The New York Times announced a partnership with This American Life -- the  weekly radio show is played on radio stations around the country and downloaded in podcast form. This American Life will assist Serial Productions in developing new podcasts, as well as serving as an advertising partner.

In a separate release, management said, "We believe audio journalism is integral to our future, allowing us to seamlessly fit into the busy days of ever more people." 

According to Statista, 88 million people listened to a podcast in 2019. That's expected to grow by 20 million every year between now and 2023. Also, according to Statista, only 6% of adults in the U.S. listen to a news podcast on a weekly basis, so there's still a massive growth opportunity in news podcasts.

Today, Serial Productions released a trailer for its upcoming podcast Nice White Parents, its first podcast under The New York Times brand. The first two episodes will be available on July 30.

Jon Quast has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The New York Times. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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