BBC Studios invests in pubmedia-owned podcast platform

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The podcast platform Pocket Casts has gained new investments from BBC Studios and the public broadcasters that acquired it two years ago.

With its investment, BBC Studios acquires an ownership stake along with NPR, WBEZ and WNYC Studios. Those organizations, which purchased the platform in 2018, previously held one-third ownership stakes, according to NPR’s most recent audited financial statement.

This American Life was initially named as part of the group that acquired Pocket Casts but ultimately did not invest, according to a Pocket Casts spokesperson. The show is supporting the app promotionally, the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson declined to disclose the amounts of the new investments or details of the new ownership structure. NPR’s financial documents show that the network has invested more than $2.5 million into Podcast Media LLC, the company that operates Pocket Casts, in FY2018 and FY19.

Pocket Casts made its app free last year — it previously cost $3.99 to download — and added a subscription option that allows access to additional features.

“This new partnership with BBC Studios enables Pocket Casts to further our goal of creating the world’s best podcasting platform, for both listeners and publishers,” said Pocket Casts CEO Owen Grover in a press release. “We’re committed to an open ecosystem, one that supports independent storytelling, while providing a robust, beautifully designed experience for global podcast fans. With public media’s influence behind us, we feel a deep and abiding obligation to grow the medium.”

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