When radio business veteran Rob Loewenthal was making an attempt to work out what to call his podcasting firm in 2016, he thought of his buddy, the outstanding investigative journalist Hedley Thomas.
“[He] always backs long shots at the races and they go ‘Whooshkaa’ down the home straight and beat the favourite,” Mr Loewenthal stated. “I thought: ‘wouldn’t it be nice to have a business like one of Hedley’s horses’.”
Whooshkaa has lived up to its title. On Friday, the audio large Spotify introduced it had purchased the Australian podcasting platform that hosted Thomas’ wildly profitable Teacher’s Pet for the Australian newspaper amongst a plethora of different exhibits. The phrases of the transaction weren’t made public.
It marks the first Australian acquisition for Spotify, traditionally a music streaming service which has embarked on a serious push into podcasting over the previous two years. The Swedish firm, which boasts 381 million customers globally and a market worth of $US43 billion ($60 billion) has spent substantial sums shopping for up unique rights to high score, however typically controversial podcast exhibits, such the boundary-pushing Joe Rogan Experience and Bill Simmons’ The Ringer.
Whooshkaa, based mostly in Surry Hills in internal Sydney, affords one thing totally different.
In a media launch, Spotify made clear that Whooshkaa’s instruments for conventional radio broadcasters to show their programming into podcasts, inserting adverts and distributing it to listeners by way of providers like Spotify, are at “the heart of the acquisition”.
Those instruments will probably be built-in into Megaphone, one other platform for podcast companies that Spotify purchased final 12 months.
The thought is that broadcasters can have a one cease store to show in any other case time-limited broadcasts into enduring items of media that may earn cash from adverts bought by Spotify by means of its viewers community, an commercial market, and be measured and tracked thereafter.
“We believe the worldwide growth potential for digital audio is still largely untapped,” stated Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content material and promoting officer. “Through the addition of these new tools as well as the innovative team behind them, we are reinforcing our commitment to helping creators, publishers and advertisers realise the value of this opportunity.”
Spotify has taken in additional than €1 billion ($1.57 billion) in income from promoting this 12 months, although that features listeners on the free tier of its music streaming enterprise in addition to podcasts.
The market is rising in Australia too.
Industry figures from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial survey confirmed 37 per cent of Australians aged over 12 listened to a minimum of one podcast in the final month this 12 months, up sharply from 25 per cent in 2020 however beneath the 41 per cent of month-to-month podcast listeners in the United States.
A report from the University of Canberra’s News & Media Research Centre cited figures exhibiting a rising marketplace for podcasting in Australia, particularly amongst era Y and Z listeners who’re much less more likely to dial into conventional radio than their forebears.
Corey Layton, the head of digital audio at the iHeartPodcast Network and a former Whooshkaa employee, said the acquisition was a point of important recognition for the local industry. “I think radio companies globally and locally have heavily moved into the podcast space,” Mr Layton said. “For radio companies it’s about making the content be able to be heard in different ways.”
Mr Loewenthal, the Whooshkaa chief executive and founder who was once managing director of Macquarie Radio (now owned by the owner of this masthead) said: “We are looking forward to being part of Spotify’s bullish vision of the future of audio.”