Since launching five years ago, Acast has been focused on podcast hosting and content, working with producers around the world. Now for the first time the company is launching a dedicated effort focused on the content side of the business, with the launch of its new original content development arm called Acast Studios and the release of its first show, a true-crime podcast.
Acast has previously been involved in the production of original content on a more limited basis in its native Sweden. In 2015 it invested in and launched Spår alongside Martin Johnson and Anton Berg under the brand of “Acast Originals” which went on to attract millions of listens. The Acast Originals name will now become Acast Studios.
Senior VP of Content Susie Warhurst said the launch of Acast Studios is a “natural next step” for the company as it continues to work with other show creators. “We look after over 7,000 podcasts around the world, and have been driving growth for shows from every genre since we started in 2014,” she says. “We have built up a deep knowledge of what flies in the podcasting space – the regional nuances, the trends, how to tell a great story and how to bring listeners in.”
For its first release Acast partnered with producer Ben Adair from Western Sound. He’s best known for his work on Wondery’s Dr. Death. The resulting co-production is The Score: Bank Robber Diaries, a show that tells the story of bank robber Joe Loya. He went from an abused child to big-time criminal, and then a former convict who today is an award-winning writer as well as a TV writer and consultant for movies such as Ant Man and Baby Driver.
“I’ve wanted to bring Joe’s engrossing and jaw-dropping story to listeners for a long time — from his troubled childhood, to his crazy heists, to his powerful ability to transform and forgive. And Acast Studios is the perfect partner,” said Adair in a statement. “They get exactly how to launch and grow successful podcasts, backed up by the might of Acast’s global network and tools for creators. We really can’t wait for everyone to hear this amazing story.”
The Score launches November 12. Acast says it has already secured a deal with Adair to produce a second season of the series. Helping to fund the expansion into content is $27.8 million in new financing the company raised from the European Investment Bank in August.
Beyond that show, the company said it is seeking out other producers around the world with more original podcasts set for release in 2020.