Luminary 220

Luminary founder Matt Sacks is turning day-to-day operational oversight of the subscription podcast service over to an executive from the world of pay cable television. Simon Sutton, former President and Chief Revenue Officer of HBO, has joined Luminary as its new chief executive. Sacks will now serve as Executive Chairman of the company. 

“It is hard to imagine a more perfect, positive, and transformative development for Luminary,” Sacks said in a statement. “Simon is a seasoned media executive who at one point or another ran every functional area of one of the most successful subscription content businesses in the world, consistently growing subscribers, revenue, and profit.”

The company, which Sacks founded in 2018, says Sutton’s “deep experience” working with talent while at HBO “aligns perfectly” with how it has approached podcasting. Luminary has built a portfolio of subscription podcasts with big names including Conan O’Brien, Trevor Noah, and Lena Dunham.

“The global market for podcasting is large and growing quickly, and Luminary has the right model for the future,” said Sutton in a statement. “The Luminary strategy is familiar to me and the team has made extraordinary progress in a very short time. I look forward to working with them to drive the business forward,” he added.

Sutton worked at HBO from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, he spent ten years as an executive at the international television division at MGM.

Luminary launched in April armed with $100 million in venture capital financing, mostly from the global venture capital fund NEA, where Sacks previously was a principal as he focused on consumer internet investments. Luminary now has more money to work with, announcing it has raised an addition $30 million from existing and new investors in a third round of financing. The company did not say how it intends to use the money.

Even as most podcasters have relied on an advertising-supported model, Luminary is testing the water for whether consumers are willing to pay a monthly $7.99 fee for shows they can’t listen to elsewhere. Since its launch six months ago, Luminary has not announced how many subscribers it has secured in the U.S. or the three other markets where it operates, including Canada, the U.K., and Australia.