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Insider September 15, 2022 — Podimo’s $58.6 million windfall

Plus, Adnan Syed of "Serial" may get a new trial

I hope you reaped the benefits of the Zoom shutdown. I work mostly in Google Docs and Mailchimp (and WordPress, woof), so no day off for me. 

On the docket today: Podimo gets a plum investment, iHeart forges ahead in the metaverse, and Spotify steals SXM’s crown.

Audio subscription service Podimo raises $58.6 million 

Danish podcast and audiobook subscription service Podimo is bringing in the kind of money we’ve rarely seen since the economy faltered in the spring. Its latest fundraising round brought in €58.6 million (about $58.6 million USD, thank you, easy exchange rates), which will go toward content, product, and expanding into new markets.

Podimo functions kind of like Luminary but has not yet expanded into the US. It’s available in Denmark, Germany, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, and across Latin America. 

“Our international expansion is progressing beyond expectations, and we continue to see our growth and content strategy scale efficiently,” said Podimo CEO and founder Morten Strunge in a statement. “This funding round sends a clear message that our model is working. As we continue to focus on growing our existing markets and opening new ones, we are also building on our extensive catalog of content.”

The company would not disclose its current valuation but did say it has raised €162 million in total. Participating investors in this round included 83North, Highland Europe, Saban Ventures, Chr. Augustinus Fabrikker, Heartcore, and Headline. 

Spotify snags top spot from SXM in Edison’s latest podcast network ranking

Spotify had the largest reach of any podcast network between April and July, according to Edison. It grabbed the top spot from SiriusXM, which was the runner-up. The research note mentions that Spotify only beat SXM by “a tiny margin.” The ranking is based on how much market share each network has among podcast listeners each week. 

The rest of the ranking is filled out by the usual suspects. iHeartMedia came in third, like last quarter, while Audioboom jumped from sixth to fourth, shifting down NPR and The New York Times. Audacy, Wondery, Cumulus, and PRX made up the last four.

iHeart expands into Roblox

Metaverse audio content is happening whether we like it or not! As I reported a few weeks ago, iHeart launched an entertainment venue within Fortnite, which will hold live podcast performances in addition to concerts. Now, iHeart is expanding into kid-friendly gaming platform Roblox.

iHeartLand in Roblox will host performances from Lauv and Charlie Puth, and unlike with Fortnite, no podcast performances have been included in the launch. However, it could be a useful avenue for iHeart to promote some of its kid-oriented programming. Plus, as my colleague Mia Sato reported, Roblox is also trying to expand its appeal to older users and is currently seeing massive growth in players aged between 17 and 24.

Adnan Syed of Serial fame may get a new trial

Eight years after Serial debuted, Baltimore prosecutors are seeking to vacate Adnan Syed’s murder conviction chronicled by the show. According to a release from State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn Mosby, new evidence has been uncovered that points to two other suspects.

“The motion filed today supports a new trial for Syed based on a nearly year-long investigation that revealed undisclosed and newly-developed information regarding two alternative suspects, as well as unreliable cell phone tower data,” Mosby said.

Syed, who has maintained his innocence in the 1999 killing of his then-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, has already served two decades behind bars. Serial’s Twitter account shared the latest legal development.

As much as I hate on true-crime pods, it’s a good reminder that at their best, rigorous investigations like Serial’s can shine a light on stories that would otherwise remain buried and have real impact.

That’s all for today. Jake will be taking over for me tomorrow as I go into ~deep work mode.