Wish me luck as I venture into I-95 Friday traffic to get to a wedding today. It is not for the faint of heart, but I am excited to live like a Connecticut blue blood for an evening with my gin and tonic and secrets.
Today: Conan’s price tag, Spotify’s new fiction chief, and Vulture’s new flagship pod.
Fun with filings: SiriusXM (probably) paid $93 million for Team Coco
We love finding a nugget of gold buried in an SEC filing! SiriusXM reported its Q2 earnings yesterday (TL;DR: they were fine) and had to disclose recent acquisition costs. They do not label their acquisitions (rude!!), but there is one that pretty clearly looks like the Conan O’Brien deal.
SiriusXM says an acquisition it made on May 20th, 2022, was worth $93 million. That lines up with the deal’s timing since the announcement came out in The Wall Street Journal on May 23rd with the deal having already gone through. The number also fits. WSJ reported the deal was worth around $150 million, including a five-year contract for O’Brien. If they paid $93 million for the company, that leaves $57 million for talent costs (and $10 million a year for Good King Conan makes sense). Representatives from SiriusXM and Team Coco did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The Team Coco acquisition is a key part of SiriusXM’s strategy to boost its podcasting and advertising arms as Pandora hemorrhages paid subscribers (it lost another 9,000 last quarter). The company has cut ad rep and distribution deals with top podcasts like Crime Junkie and Pod Save America and recently announced a partnership with Comscore to use its ad targeting tool.
Spotify names head of scripted fiction
Batman Unburied was big for Spotify, and it’s not slowing down on Hollywood audio content. The company has promoted Gimlet executive Mimi O’Donnell to head of scripted fiction, and she will help oversee new shows, including an upcoming Jordan Peele project and the English adaptation of Caso 63 with Julianne Moore and Oscar Isaac. As head of scripted content at Gimlet for the past six years, O’Donnell produced buzzy shows like Sandra with Alia Shawkat and Motherhacker with Carrie Coon.
In her new role, O’Donnell will report to head of talk studios Julie McNamara and the incoming managing director of Gimlet. Gimlet has still not found a replacement for Lydia Polgreen, who announced in April she is leaving her role as MD to return to The New York Times.
SoundExchange gets a new CTO
SoundExchange, an entity that collects and distributes recording royalties from audio streamers to artists, has named Luis Bonilla its new chief technology officer. In the new role, Bonilla will oversee SoundExchange’s tech systems that enable its royalty collections. Bonilla has worked at the organization for 11 years, most recently serving as the company’s senior vice president of operations. “With over a decade of experience enhancing our data and processes, Luis is uniquely positioned to champion new technologies that will ensure music is appropriately valued, in the U.S. and overseas,” SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe said in a statement.
SoundExchange is a key conduit between streamers like Spotify and Apple and artists and recently filed suit against Slacker Radio parent LiveOne. SoundExchange claims that Slacker, which was acquired by LiveOne (then LiveXLive) in 2018, has been delinquent on its royalty payments since 2017.
Honestly, I am out of new pods to listen to, so recommendations are welcome in my inbox (the best discovery is still word of mouth, despite podcast companies’ best efforts to change that). Here are some fresh pods for consideration.
- Vulture (which, like Hot Pod, is owned by Vox Media) has launched a new pop culture podcast hosted by longtime NPR host and reporter Sam Sanders. Into It debuted yesterday with an episode on Beyoncé’s empire and influence and will come out every Thursday.
- Slate podcast Decoder Ring, hosted by Willa Paskin, is back with a new season. My husband and I are diehard fans of this show and have already listened to the first episode about the quick rise and slow death of malls. People shared their sentiments about the malls of their youth, which I don’t fully relate to because my spot was the White Plains Bloomingdale’s (not in a mall), where you ran into everyone’s mom and got the juicy gossip.
- Stitcher has a new chat show hosted by comedians Leslie Jones and Lenny Marcus. The fckry (strong name!) will launch on August 11th, and you can check out the trailer here.
Have a great weekend. See you on the other side of this sticky weekend.