NewsBites

…Midroll says it served a record high 1.8 billion podcast downloads between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30. The SiriusXM-owned ad network says it sold ads for more unique advertisers and brands than any other U.S. podcast network in 2020. “Needless to say, despite the challenges this year brought, the future of podcasting looks bright,” the company said in a blog post. SiriusXM acquired Midroll in 2020 as part of a $325 million deal with the E.W. Scripps Company that also included Stitcher.

…The podcast hosting platform Blubrry has become the latest company to target the fast-growing Indian market. The company says it has integrated with the JioSaavn and Gaana platforms. JioSaavn has 104 million users. Gaana has 150 million users. These are both primarily music-streaming platforms with a growing spoken-word library. But with the size of the potential audience in India, Blubrry says podcasters have a significant reason to make sure that their podcast is available on these platforms. 

…Blubrry has also integrated with the podcast directory Podchaser. For producers it will make it easier to submit their show to the Podchaser directory using Blubrry’s Podcaster Dashboard. “We are incredibly proud to have been able to add five different destinations this year, ensuring that sharing is as easy as possible for all podcasters, not only our hosting customers,” said Blubrry in the announcement. Founded in 2016, Podchaser provides show listings, curated lists, reviews, and other features.

Marijuana advertising is still mostly shunned by broadcast radio because of worries over FCC license renewals. But CbdMD, the maker of cannabis-based products, is getting a “yes” from podcasters. CEO Martin Sumichrast told Reuters that they have signed a one-year advertising partnership with Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience. “We stepped up to the plate and committed to Joe for next year, which is a win-win for both of us,” said Sumichrast.

….LiveXLive, the parent company to PodcastOne and Slacker Radio, has added a tenth member to its board of directors. Maria Garrido, Chief Insights Officer for Havas Group and Vivendi Group Senior VP of Brand Marketing, will lend her 24-years of experience of working in the consumer goods, media, communications, and entertainment industries to the board. “Her experience and acumen in international marketing and branding will be a welcome addition,” said CEO Robert Ellin. LiveXLive has just hired investment banker J.P. Morgan as a financial adviser to review possible strategic transactions including acquisitions, strategic partnerships and other opportunities to grow its business. 

…Hollywood producer Ben Cooley is launching a new media company called Your Magic that will focus on mysticism and spirituality. Deadline reports as part of the launch the company will host the Your Magic podcast in February. The Spotify Original series will be hosted by author Michelle Tea. The show will reportedly begin each episode with a tarot reading and interview of a celebrity guest. The Parcast-produced podcast is billed as a companion to the Horoscope Today series. Cooley is the former CEO of Lenny Letter, the media company founded by actor Lena Dunham and producer Jenn Konner.

...Premiere Networks-syndicated radio personality Delilah sat down with The New York Times’ The Daily podcast to talk about her career. The in-depth interview detailed Delilah’s journey from the small town of Reedsport, OR to becoming one of the most-listened to women on radio. “I want to touch hearts and I want to bring joy,” Delilah said on the podcast. “And even with all the craziness going on in the world, I believe I was born for such a time as this. That now, more than ever, we need hope. I know it sounds corny, but it’s true.”

...Podcast downloads plunged 19% during November according to Triton Digital. It reports the top 100 podcasts among publishers it tracks in Latin America had 22.8 million downloads between Nov. 2 and Nov. 29. That compares to 28 million total downloads during October. Brazil-based Grupo Globo’s O Assunto remained in first place in the 25-country region among Triton’s sample of publishers. Eleven new shows were also on the top 100 led by the No. 6 debut of Folha de S Paulo’s Boletim Folha, a Brazilian-based news podcast. Read the latest ranker HERE.

...Actor Zachary Quinto, best known for playing Spock in the “Star Trek” movie will lend his talent to the scripted podcast Secret Court. Deadline reporters Quinto’s Before The Door Pictures is one of the producers of the podcast, alongside Topic Studios, Vespucci Group, Spoke Media and writer Rafael Moraes. Written by Abdi Nazemian, Secret Court will tell a story based on purge of gay students from the Harvard class of 1920 in a court-like setting that followed the suicide of a classmate.

…Archewell Audio, the company created by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has released its first podcast under its new deal with Spotify-owned Gimlet Media. The holiday-themed special features a list of celebrities including James Corden, Elton John, and Tyler Perry. “We thought, what if we can bring together some people that inspire us, people that we admire, and get their thoughts on what they learned from 2020,” said Markle. Harry said each of the guests recorded their own audio diaries. “We were curious to hear what they would reflect on when they had a moment to themselves without getting the sometimes awkward dance of a video chat,” he said. The first complete series from Archewell Audio and Gimlet is expected next year and will be available to stream for free on Spotify. Terms of the deal were not made public.