Acast acquisition will ‘supercharge’ RadioPublic’s development

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The podcast company Acast closed a deal this week to acquire the podcasting platform RadioPublic. 

RadioPublic got its start in 2016 as a public benefit corporation spun off from PRX. It debuted a podcast app in 2017 and later added tools for podcast creators to build relationships with audiences. In addition to PRX, public media investors included GBH and American Public Media. 

Acast’s scale will allow RadioPublic to accelerate its work, and the company’s commitment to an open-platform podcast ecosystem also made the acquisition more appealing, said RadioPublic co-founder Matt MacDonald.   

A small percentage of podcasters reach most of the audience for podcasts, and “Acast is working with those people and working with those creators,” MacDonald said. “That became incredibly attractive to take the things that we were working on and not just do that in a partnership perspective, but to really ramp that up” and make the “best version” of RadioPublic, MacDonald said.

“When we thought about where we could go and what we could do on our own and how we could amplify the things that we were doing, Acast became the most natural choice,” he added. 

Acast, a Sweden-based company that hosts 20,000 podcast feeds, will continue offering the RadioPublic app, and podcasters can continue to use RadioPublic’s platform services, according to Leandro Saucedo, Acast’s chief business and strategy officer.

“We’re equally trying to take the best parts of Acast and put it into RadioPublic, and fundamentally supercharge Matt and his team to achieve those goals and visions and give him the resources to accelerate the development of those tools and technologies and business ideas,” Saucedo said.

Saucedo declined to disclose details of the purchase but said that RadioPublic’s shareholders will become Acast shareholders.

Acast initially approached RadioPublic to explore a partnership. The conversations led to the acquisition, according to Saucedo.

“From Acast’s perspective, we’ve been very impressed with what the [RadioPublic] team has developed in terms of both a great app — which is not necessarily the reason we’re doing this — but rather what they’ve done on the platform side of things,” Saucedo said.

He pointed to RadioPublic’s Podsite, a website builder for podcasters, and other tools focused on listener data. 

“Creators want to grow and they want to make money, and that’s what we’re good at,” Saucedo said. “And RadioPublic brings even better tools and deep … secret-sauce technology to be able for us to help the creators to grow their shows and thus also help us monetize their content.”

The acquisition is also part of Acast’s efforts to expand into the U.S. The company was looking for a U.S. tech hub, Saucedo said, and there was “no better place to start with putting a bridgehead into the U.S., from a tech perspective, than finding who we think are the most experienced and best podcasting developer and tech team there is.”

RadioPublic’s MacDonald said the goal for the company’s five employees “is to bring the staff over and have folks continue to work on the products that we worked so hard to build to help the creators.”

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