The battle for dominance in the streaming audio segment is heating up with Apple Music and Spotify fighting to be tops in the industry. Last summer reports indicated that Apple Music had passed Spotify in subscriber numbers for the first time. Spotify tried to get some of those subscribers back by trialing a new unlimited ad-skipping feature for its free subscribers. Spotify is now reportedly gearing up to shell out huge money for a podcasting startup called Gimlet Media.
Reports indicate that the deal will cost Spotify over $200 million to close. If Spotify can add premium content from Gimlet Media to its offerings, the deal could undoubtedly lure in more subscribers in the fight against Apple. Gimlet Media has some popular podcasts to its credit, including Reply All, and it also has its fingers in TV production. The Amazon Prime streaming TV show called Homecoming starring Julia Roberts was originally a scripted podcast offered by Gimlet. The company also has notable podcasts including a business series called StartUp, true crime series Crimetown, and a drama called The Horror of Dolores Roach.
The Gimlet deal isn't entirely a surprise as Spotify has been saying it wanted to expand into podcasting. Spotify launched a podcast section that combined visual elements with podcasts in 2018. That section did have content from Gimlet Media; the section also allowed users to add their own podcasts to the offerings. Spotify currently has about 200 million subscribers, and its entry into the podcast market in a bigger way could help establish its dominance in a relatively young segment of the streaming market. The purchase will give Spotify a broader stream for its ad revenue, which is especially important for its non-paying customers.