Podcasts aren’t quite mainstream — fewer than one in five Americans listen to them at least once a week, according to Edison Research and Triton Digital. But Spotify is betting they’ll hit the big time soon enough.
In one of the biggest podcast wagers to date, the music-streaming service snapped up Gimlet and
Anchor, which respectively make podcasts and provide podcasting-making tools and hosting. Together, the two companies are reportedly valued at around $350 million
— more than the podcasting industry’s estimated 2017 ad revenues of $314 million. The
Interactive Ad Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers figure that sum will reach $659 million by 2020.
The vast majority of podcasts are available almost everywhere. Apple offers more than 500,000 podcasts through its iPhone app. Spotify is second, with Overcast and Stitcher following. But only about 7,000 podcasts carry ads, according to the ad placement firm Magellan.
Analysts Justine and Olivia Moore of the venture capital firm CRV say podcast ad marketplaces have only just appeared, so most U.S. creators who want to get paid solicit contributions directly from consumers via Patreon. It claims to serve more than 2,000 podcasters.