Two years after it bought podcast app Stitcher and paired it with its Midroll Media ad network, the E.W. Scripps Co. has made Sticher the parent company of Midroll and co-owned podcast comedy network Earwolf. One of the first podcast players, Stitcher becomes the primary brand for Scripps’ podcasting businesses. The change puts all of Scripps podcast companies under Stitcher’s consumer-facing brand.
Stitcher is getting a new logo and brand identity intended to reinforce its position as player in the expanding podcast universe.
Stitcher has come a long way since launching in 2007 as a streaming on-demand talk and news audio service that invited users to “stitch together” their favorite spoken word content to build a continuously updated station. Aiming to be the spoken word equivalent of Pandora, the San Francisco-based company signed deals with NPR, Premiere, Fox News Radio, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Adam Carolla and others. Scripps bought Stitcher in June 2016 for a reported $4.5 million. One year earlier, Scripps bought Los Angeles-based podcast network Midroll Media, which included comedy network Earwolf. Scripps then integrated all of its podcast operations and was also found synergies with its 34 radio stations, which are in the process of being sold.
Stitcher now offers 100,000 podcasts and has added original content and launched a growing Stitcher Premium service that features 20,000 hours of content.
With content production, distribution and monetization all under the Stitcher umbrella, CEO Erik Diehn said the change reflects the transformation that’s been underway for some time at the company to attract new advertisers, listeners and creative talent.
"Our combined brands and companies – Midroll, Earwolf and Stitcher – were all individually early pioneers and leaders in podcasting," Diehn said. "Earwolf was one of the first podcast networks; Midroll helped create and grow the podcast ad sales marketplace; and Stitcher was one of the first true podcast apps. Each of these has evolved and thrived individually, and today we mark the beginning of those pieces coming together to form the world's strongest end-to-end podcast company.”
Scripps says the company's operational structure and business units' operations have not changed. To support its growth, Stitcher continues to add staff in the areas of content, advertising and production. It has also opened new studios in New York City and Los Angeles.