The New York Times acquires the podcast studio that created Serial and S-Town


The New York Times at acquired the audio production company behind the popular podcast series Serial, which is widely credited with helping to popularize the modern narrative podcast movement. The company, called Serial Productions, was established in 2017 by Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder and Ira Glass following the success of the podcast’s first season three years prior, and the team went on to produce two follow-up seasons of Serial and a standalone podcast called City S. The terms of the contract are not disclosed.

As part of the agreement, The temperature enters into what is described as an “ongoing creative and strategic alliance” with This American Lifethe syndicated radio program from which Serial was originally created and for which Glass still works as a host. The parent company of This American Life will remain independent, but Serial Productions will now be considered one of The temperature‘ independent podcast teams alongside the hugely successful The Daily and other programs.

The first joint show for the new combined teams, detailed below, begins next week:

As Serial Productions joins The Times, the team plans to produce a number of shows and series under The Times and Serial Productions banner. The first, “Nice White Parents,” will reunite listeners with award-winning journalist Chana Joffe-Walt as she examines the role white families play in shaping public education. You can listen to the trailer tomorrow, with the first two episodes available Thursday, July 30 on or wherever you get your podcasts.

“We are incredibly proud of ‘Serial’ and wanted to find a home where we felt shared values, a home where we would be supported and resourced to tell more stories, of the highest quality,” Snyder said, editor of Serial Productions, said in the statement. “We are thrilled to join The Times, where they have demonstrated their commitment to pursuing the possibilities of audio and long-form narrative journalism.”

The temperature The deal will greatly benefit the paper’s growing audio journalism ambitions, but it’s also a signal that the podcast market is becoming increasingly competitive and is now experiencing some consolidation as a result. Spotify, for example, is using its financial muscle to secure exclusives with big names like Kim Kardashian West and Joe Rogan, after acquiring big podcast production companies like Bill Simmons. The ring and Reply to all parent company Gimlet Media.

Earlier today, Spotify announced a new video podcast feature that will mean its even more direct competition with YouTube. And Apple, which has remained one of the biggest podcast distributors to date, also revealed its intention to get into the original game with its announcement of a new Daily News podcast earlier this month.


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