Group Nine, the publisher of Thrillist, The Dodo and Seeker, among others, is deepening its relationship with iHeartMedia, launching another podcast with the media company — this time for the PopSugar brand that it acquired in 2019.
“Not Over It,” a pop culture podcast hosted by longtime PopSugar editors Becky Kirsch and Zareen Siddiqui, debuts Tuesday, breaking down the biggest moments in celebrity and entertainment news. The first season features 50 episodes, making it the biggest ever podcast PopSugar has embarked on.
“We are very excited about podcasts for the brand. We’ve always had a bunch of videos and so on for the brand and we just know now more than ever people are listening to content differently,” said Lisa Sugar, cofounder and president of PopSugar. “I think podcasts have always been important, but now it’s like I personally take a walk every day and I love putting on a podcast and listening to something, somewhere that keeps me company. I think that they’re only becoming more and more popular so we’re excited to be getting into this space.”
PopSugar’s new podcast is the fifth one from Group Nine’s partnership with iHeartMedia to bring an exclusive portfolio-wide podcast slate to the iHeartPodcast network. Since the 2019 deal, there have been 3.3 million downloads across four podcasts from The Dodo, Thrillist, NowThis and Seeker, according to Group Nine data. So far this year, Group Nine podcast downloads are up 50 percent year-on-year.
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The company’s increased interest in podcasts comes as it gears up for expansion, setting up its own Special Purpose Acquisition Company with the goal of acquiring a company to merge with Group Nine. The SPAC, Group Nine Acquisition Corp., is led by Ben Lerer, Group Nine Media’s CEO, while Brian Sugar, president of Group Nine Media and cofounder of PopSugar, is president and a director.
While SPAC’s have been around for a while, media’s interest in them sparked in 2020 as the pandemic hit the sector hard, making consolidation, especially on the digital side, an increasingly attractive option. Companies slashing marketing budgets, more ads being swallowed up by Facebook and Google and venture capitalist investors’ waning interest in digital media have all played a part.
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