Digital media and entertainment industry veteran John W. Gibbons has been recruited to lead Pocket Casts after what the podcast platform says was a nationwide search for a new chief executive. Gibbons has more than two decades with globally recognized brands. Most recently, he served as a Principal at the Los Angeles-based ticketing startup Atom Tickets as well as a strategic advisor to Podchaser, the company building a database of podcasting. That leveraged Gibbons’ previous Amazon experience, including overseeing product and global revenue for IMDb.
“Becoming the CEO of Pocket Casts is truly a dream opportunity for me,” Gibbons said in the announcement. “Not just because it’s always been a favorite app of mine, but also because of the moment that the industry is in with broader, mainstream audiences falling in love with podcasting and building deep, new relationships with their favorite shows.”
Gibbons is based in Los Angeles. He succeeds former CEO Owen Grover, who exited in March.
Gibbons joins Pocket Casts as the company continues its global growth after deciding last year to drop its one-time app fee and became a free-to-download app while still offering a premium subscription tier for desktop access and a more customized experience. That upgrade will cost 99 cents a month, or $10 per year. The company said prior to the coronavirus pandemic that it had resulted in a 20% growth in the number of users for its app. But Gibbons hinted that other tweaks may be coming. “While the medium is rapidly growing, we still have so much to figure out in terms of monetization and supporting publishers,” he said.
Pocket Casts has been owned by a trio of public broadcasters, including NPR, WNYC Studios and WBEZ Chicago since May 2018. In March it brought on a fourth public broadcaster to the consortium when BBC Studios made an investment in Pocket Casts.
Matt Moog, who serves as Executive Chairman of Pocket Casts and has been acting CEO for the past four months, said the board believes that with Gibbons’ extensive background in podcasting, digital media and entertainment he’s the “perfect fit” for the company. “We’re excited to bring John aboard to usher in a new era of growth for Pocket Casts and continue in our collective push for an open podcasting ecosystem that gives producers more tools and insights to engage their audience and generate revenue,” he said.