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Pacific Content acquired by Rogers Media

Here's what you need to know. (O Canada!)

I think this is the biggest Canadian podcasting acquisition so far? Or maybe it’s the only one up until this point? Spent a bunch of yesterday poking around my notes and the internet trying to suss this out, let me know if you remember any priors.

Anyway, in case you need a refresher: Pacific Content is a Vancouver-based podcast production company that specializes in making branded podcasts for Big Brands. The shop was founded in 2015, and it has since gone on to develop a client list that includes Slack (“Variety Pack” and “Work in Progress”), Zendesk (“Relate”), Prudential (“Everyday Bravery”), and Mozilla (“IRL with Manoush Zomorodi”). Their most recent campaign is with Facebook, on the “3.5 degrees podcast,” but probably not the Mark Zuckerberg talks about the future of Facebook and Society podcast on Spotify. The company currently has 22 employees.

Rogers Media, on the other hand, is a subsidiary of Rogers Communications, one of the major media conglomerates in Canada. Its portfolio covers the conglomerate’s radio and television broadcasting divisions, the country’s largest publishing company (Rogers Publishing Limited), plus the Rogers Centre stadium and the Toronto Blue Jays (shouts to Vlad Jr.). Rogers is apparently the third-largest radio broadcaster, behind Bell Media and Newscap Radio.

Some details to flag:

  • The actual size and terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • The acquisition comes as part of an on-going digital shift, it seems, coming a few weeks after the conglomerate sold off its remaining magazine brands to the publisher of Toronto Life. Here’s the CBC write-up on that.
  • Pacific Content will not be the lone podcast operation within Rogers Media. The conglomerate launched the Frequency Podcast Network, a more traditional content operation, last year.
  • Pacific Content leadership told the CBC that almost all of its employees will remain, though one co-founder will leave to open a restaurant. (Godspeed.)

When I asked around yesterday about how to think about this deal, somebody Canadian tried characterizing it as: “Think of iHeartMedia acquiring Pineapple Street or Transmitter Media or something.”

Maybe. My gut feeling is more like, “If Viacom acquired Gimlet Creative, if Gimlet Creative was its own company.”

Curious for your thoughts. And this reminds me: I should really bring in somebody to cover Canada.