Wondery
TypePodcast network (subsidiary)
Country
United States
AvailabilityInternational
OwnerAmazon Music (Amazon)
Established2016
Official website
wondery.com

Wondery is an American podcast network launched by Hernan Lopez with backing from 20th Century Fox and now owned by Amazon Music.

History

Wondery was launched in 2016 by Hernan Lopez, the exiting Fox International Channels CEO with backing from 20th Century Fox. The stated goal of the network is to curate and create audio shows with a focus on mobile users and audio-on-demand. The company teamed up with ART19 on distribution infrastructure and cross podcast dynamic insertion of ads.[1][2] Lopez was joined by Jeffrey Glaser, previously head of current programming at 20th Century Fox Television, where he oversaw series including 24, American Dad!, Arrested Development, Bones, Empire, Family Guy, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family and The X-Files. Glaser was appointed president of content.[3]

Within three years, Wondery became a top five podcast publisher with 40 million downloads in December 2018 alone. There were six 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Award nominations for four of the publisher's show with one win: Dr. Death for Most Bingeable Podcast.[4]

The company's series A funding round in March 2018 brought in $5 million from investors including Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and Shari Redstone’s Advancit Capital venture-capital firms.[5] In June 2019, Wondery had a funding round of $10 million which indicates a value of over $100 million.[6] This series B funding was led by Waverley Capital. With the closing of the round, Former National Geographic Partners Chief Executive Declan Moore became Wondery's international programming head.[7]

The Walt Disney Company inherited Fox's stake in Wondery after Disney acquired 21st Century Fox's assets on March 20, 2019.[8]

Universal Music Group agreed in April 2019 to allow Wondery a license to use UMG music catalog and develop UMG artists' story podcasts, which then may be adapted into TV or film projects. Wondery would work with all UMG labels and with its Polygram Entertainment film and TV production unit.[9]

In early May 2019, Wondery and Cumulus Media announced a strategic alliance for new advertising opportunities and growing podcast listeners. The first item from the alliance is a Business Wars podcast franchise expansion, Sports Wars, would start airing on 40 Cumulus radio stations the first weekend in May and syndicated by Westwood One, a Cumulus subsidiary.[10]

In April 2020, Hernan Lopez CEO of Wondery was charged with wire fraud and money laundering in relation to attempts to win broadcast rights for Fox Broadcasting Company for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.[11]

On April 28, 2020, Wondery announced a partnership with Al Jazeera Media Network to launch Business Wars and other flagship podcasts in Arabic via Al Jazeera Podcasts.[12]

On May 16, 2020, Wondery was accused of negotiating with the Call Her Daddy podcast hosts while they were still under contract with their parent company, Barstool Sports.[13]

On December 30, 2020, Amazon announced that they were acquiring Wondery under their Amazon Music division.[14]

Programming

Current programming

Under the banner of Wondery, the network currently offers several shows,[15] most notably:

And the following "partner" shows:

Radio show

Prior podcasts

References

  1. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 13, 2016). "Fox Backs Wondery Podcast Network Launched By Former Exec Hernan Lopez". Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  2. ^ Petski, Denise (2016-01-13). "Former Fox International Channels CEO Launches Fox-Backed Audio-On-Demand Network". Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  3. ^ Spangler, Todd (2016-03-22). "Jeffrey Glaser, Former 20th Century Fox TV Exec, Joins Podcast Startup Wondery". Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  4. ^ a b c d Dudley, Joshua (January 22, 2019). "Wondery And Their Wonderful Year Of Storytelling". Forbes. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d "Legal Wars". Wondery - Feel The Story. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  6. ^ Steele, Anne (June 27, 2019). "Wondery Raises $10 Million to Take Podcasts Global". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Amore, Samson (June 27, 2019). "Podcast Network Wondery Raises $10 Million Round Led By Waverley Capital". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  8. ^ McClintock, Pamela; Bond, Paul (February 6, 2019). "Anxiety, AWOL Executives and "Bloodshed": How Disney Is Making 21st Century Fox Disappear". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 13, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Lee, Wendy (April 17, 2019). "Universal Music Group partners with Wondery, which produced 'Dirty John' podcast". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Cumulus Signs Content Deal With Wondery". Radio Ink. May 3, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Ex-Fox Executives Stay Free on $15M Bonds After Arraignment for FIFA Scandal Charges". Sports Illustrated. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Al Jazeera and Wondery announce global strategic partnership and launch flagship podcast in the Arab World". Al Jazeera Media Network. 2020-04-27. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  13. ^ "'Call Her Daddy' podcast hosts have 'turned on each other,' insider says". New York Post. 2020-05-16. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  14. ^ "Wondery to join Amazon Music". About Amazon. 2020-12-30. Retrieved 2020-12-30.
  15. ^ "Shows". Wondery. Retrieved 2016-07-12.
  16. ^ Feldman, Dana. "What Happens When People Get A 'Bad Batch' Of Stem Cells? This Is Wondery's New Podcast". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-11-11.
  17. ^ Wolfson, Elijah. "The best podcasts (and podcast episodes) of 2018". Quartz. Retrieved 2021-05-16.