Thanks to a report from The Wall Street Journal, we knew this was coming. Now it’s official: SiriusXM is buying podcast platform Stitcher from the E.W. Scripps Company for $325 million. That’s considerably more than the $4.5 million Scripps spent to acquire it from Deezer in 2016 (Deezer owned Stitcher for less than two years), even if you combine it with the $55 million purchase of Midroll Media that Scripps made the year before and combined with Stitcher. For that investment, SiriusXM gets a popular destination for publishers, creators and advertisers with both production and distribution capabilities. Plus the acquisition adds original podcasts to SiriusXM’s lineup of sports, talk radio and music streaming.
The podcast wars that have heated up over the last several months and content is king. So are exclusives. The Stitcher-produced slate includes Freakonomics Radio, How Did This Get Made?, SuperSoul Sunday from The Oprah Winfrey Network, Office Ladies, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, Literally! with Rob Lowe, LeVar Burton Reads, Comedy Bang! Bang!, and WTF with Marc Maron. SiriusXM doesn’t mention making any shows exclusive to its platforms — except for the ad-free, early access and bonus content listeners who splurge for a Stitcher Premium subscription get for $5 a month. And don’t worry, it sounds like the free option for accessing all of the shows isn’t going anywhere.