All-new podcasts starring iconic comic book characters such as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn are on their way to Spotify. Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have entered into a multi-year deal with Spotify to produce and distribute an original slate of dramatic audio productions for the giant audio streaming service. They’ll be exclusive to the Spotify streaming service, and downloadable as podcasts. The deal gives Spotify first-look rights on new scripts featuring these characters and more, set in the DC Universe but as standalone stories unconnected to the storylines from existing movies or TV shows.
Warner Bros. will be developing original scripted podcast series based on other properties — like Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. TV-produced shows like Supernatural. The door is open for them to produce original audio dramas as well, unrelated to WB’s existing intellectual property.
We don’t know exactly when or how many of these will start becoming available, as production and timeline information isn’t available yet (presumably because they themselves don’t know yet).
For Spotify, podcasting is big business, and by “big business” we mean huge. The new Warner Bros./DC deal is just one more step in Spotify’s continued effort to embrace the medium. This spring it signed a $100 million-plus deal to exclusively distribute Joe Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast starting later this year, and has deals with Kim Kardashian West for an exclusive podcast about criminal-justice reform and with the Obamas for a slate of exclusive podcasts.
On the Warner Bros. side, the Spotify partneership is being run as kind of a cross-department overlay on top of its regular production efforts. Peter Girardi, EVP of WBTV’s Blue Ribbon Content digital studio and head of alternative programming at Warner Bros. Animation, and Robert Steele, SVP of business strategy and operations for Warner Bros. Digital Networks, will co-develop and produce the programming in collaboration with Spotify. Spotify will handle the advertising, promotion and distribution. Girardi will serve as the creative lead and Steele is overseeing business aspects of the partnership.
Spotify provides free, ad-supported or paid (ad-free) access to over 50 million songs and other audio tracks, including more than 1 million podcast titles. As of the first quarter of 2020, Spotify had 286 million users, including 130 million Spotify Premium subscribers.
SCIFI.radio has been in the geek and pop culture radio space for more than a decade now , so we saw this development coming a long way off. Spotify may be jumping on the bandwagon big-time, but we’ve been exploring this space for years now.
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