Scripps Buys Podcast Sales Rep, Producer Midroll Media
July 22, 2015 at 12:47 PM (PT)
E.W. SCRIPPS CO. has acquired podcast sales and programming network MIDROLL MEDIA for an undisclosed price. MIDROLL represents several of the leading podcast networks, including the NERDIST PODCAST NETWORK, KEVIN SMITH's SMODCAST, and MIDROLL's own EARWOLF and WOLFPOP, and some of the top-ranked shows in the podcasting arena, including "WTF WITH MARC MARON," "STARTUP," "DOUG LOVES MOVIES," "STAR TALK RADIO," and many others. MIDROLL's EARWOLF produces "COMEDY BANG! BANG!," which spawned the IFC television show of the same name. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Podcasting has emerged from the relentless evolution of the media marketplace as one of the best new platforms to build organically growing audiences and revenue streams," said SCRIPPS Chairman/President/CEO RICH BOEHNE. "In the MIDROLL team and shows, we found creative content and business strategies that already have helped define the importance of podcasting, and with strong growth still to come. MIDROLL and SCRIPPS also share a commitment to journalism and nonfiction storytelling that informs and enlightens as well as entertains."
"We're witnessing another significant shift in how audiences and advertisers interact with digital media. Smartphones are everywhere, over-the-top audio streaming is at an all-time high, and consumers are connecting through their cars in record numbers, especially young people," said SCRIPPS Chief Digital Officer ADAM SYMSON. "MIDROLL's leadership in the growth of podcasting, both as a content platform and as a business, made the company very attractive to us."
MIDROLL CEO ADAM SACHS and his team will remain in place, including EARWOLF founders SCOTT AUKERMAN (Chief Creative Officer and host of "COMEDY BANG! BANG!") and JEFF ULLRICH. ULLRICH said, "We've accomplished so much as a bootstrapped company, more than anyone could have predicted, and our entire team should have great pride in that. Now the focus is on the future, and with the massive opportunity I see for the industry in general and MIDROLL specifically, becoming part of SCRIPPS enables MIDROLL to accelerate growth and extend its leadership position."
SACHS said, "Podcasting ad rates remain among the highest across all media mainly because of the high-touch nature of the listening experience. Historically, podcast advertising has been very direct-response oriented, helping brands and agencies to carefully monitor how effective they are. We've been profitable since the beginning and have continued to grow because those agencies have seen the effectiveness of podcast advertising and reward its effectiveness with more revenue from repeat and referral business."
And SYMSON added, "Our digital media brands expand the SCRIPPS goal of creating a better-informed world, and Midroll fits perfectly into this portfolio. MIDROLL got its start in comedy, which we love, and now they are moving into new forms of storytelling.
"Podcasts have emerged as a significant new voice in American media, and we are thrilled we were able to seize the opportunity to enter this business."