Last week I had written a piece on Gimlet and how co-founders Alex Blumberg and Matt Lieber had to go through hell and back to get the company on it’s feet. Gimlet, a network of podcasts focusing on narrative journalism and storytelling, now belongs to Spotify. Alex and Matt sold the company for 230 million dollars.
Yes. Nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.
So let’s talk money and media.
How did these two startup rookies become millionaires? They sold a new platform of media to the hungry listeners of Spotify.
Spotify started to get into podcasts two years ago. Now, Spotify is at 20 percent market share in podcasts alone. Spotify needed a company like Gimlet to reach its full potential and grow as a podcast platform.
Alex and Matt spoke about the passion of the company. They put so much into the company but said they’d be lying if they didn’t expect some kind of financial return in the end. Why did they sell? Because at the end of the day Spotify provided everything that Gimlet needed to take the company to the next level and… we’re all just trying to make money.
The author of a Vulture article titled What Spotify’s $230 Million Gimlet Deal Means for the Podcast Industry stated that Spotify’s push into podcasting is mostly driven by a need of diversification. Music labels and other music streaming services have been bruising Spotify. Maybe podcasts will be the thing that saves the streaming service.
Podcasts have given the world of media a breath of fresh air. Perhaps this is the revolution of how we receive our news and entertainment in years to come. This may just be the Golden Age of Radio (Podcasts) 2.0.
Speaking of selling companies, Fortune Media Group CEO Alan Murray sold Fortune to a Thai billionaire not too long ago. In a podcast with Recode Media, Alan says that Fortune is a company who went from print to digital super successfully, enough to sell his company for over $100 million dollars.
So why to a Thai billionaire? The billionaire knew Fortune’s success in Asia, especially China, and wanted in. Now the Future of Fortune lies in the hands of this billionaire. He of course wants Fortune to still be a media platform that makes money.
We’re all trying to make money. You love what you do in life but if you’re not making money off of it, you’re not at your full potential. We may all be creative souls with great ideas but I want my ideas to make me money. I want to make the world better and be happy with what I do after college but money is an important aspect of our daily lives.
The fact that these media corporations are being bought out for millions of dollars leaves me hopeful for the future of media. News and media isn’t dead, it is revamped. It may be podcasts that get you your news and entertainment or a magazine that does the trick. But media is alive and well, and that makes this college journalism senior who graduates in two months, very happy.
4 thoughts on “Media is Still Profitable”
I like how you pointed out that all of want our passions to make us money, and that’s okay – just because we are journalists doesn’t mean we can’t make good money with the content we’re putting out into the world. I also like how you talked about how the industry is just finding a new medium with audio, but it is far from dying.
Big sales tend to leave journalists feeling uneasy, because it could mean editorial restrictions or layoffs to make the company more profitable. But I like that you take a positive view: if there’s a buyer, that means the media company has value!
I agree with your point that “Podcasts have given the world of media a breath of fresh air. Perhaps this is the revolution of how we receive our news and entertainment in years to come. This may just be the Golden Age of Radio (Podcasts) 2.0.”
Honestly, podcast is not something that’s very popular in China YET. But I could tell the potential there that it will someday replace other platforms just because people are busy. People are busy so they would save time if they could listen to something while doing something else at the same time. For example, I can’t look at my phone or browsing internet while I am driving (technically), but I could listen to a podcast. Nowadays, media are competing by visual innovations. Now we have something else came, an audio, it’s something hot now and people would go for it.
Spotify definitely made the right move in purchasing Gimlet. After all their lawsuits and with artists bargaining for more money off of their streams, Spotify needed something else to keep the service alive. It also is trying to compete with iTunes and Apple Music, which have podcasts and diverse selection of radio shows all over the world. So, it makes sense why they would pick Gimlet as something to add a diverse selection to their services. I like your positive take on how the media company must have value if they’re being sold. Most times when we companies get a big sale, layoffs are on the way because the buyer really only cares about being profitable. But in this sense I think it is good that media companies have big buyers like this because it shows that what they’re creating is moving in the direction of our ever-changing market.