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Vox Media acquires Cafe Studios as it expands its podcast network


By John Glenday | Reporter

April 12, 2021 | 4 min read

Vox Media has acquired Cafe Studios, a podcast-first publisher focussed on the intersection of law and policy with politics, news, business, history and technology.

Vox Media acquires Cafe Studios as it expands its podcast network

Vox Media acquires Cafe Studios as it expands its podcast network

The addition augments the independent media owner's existing Podcast Network while simultaneously expanding its subscription offerings, events business and expert voices.

What has Vox Media acquired in the deal?

  • Vox Media is an established podcast provider with more than 200 podcasts under its belt spanning genres ranging from technology, business and culture to politics and sports.

  • Individual shows are voiced by popular audio talent such as Today, Explained’s Sean Rameswaram, Decoder’s Nilay Patel, and Pivot co-hosts Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway.

  • Now, with Cafe Studios under its wing, that pool of content is both broader and deeper with outspoken hosts such as Preet Bharara, former US attorney for the Southern District of New York; Anne Milgram, former attorney general of New Jersey; and Elie Honig, former co-head of the Southern District’s Organized Crime Unit, all joining the Vox Media fold.

  • Cafe Studios co-founder Bharara is best known as the voice behind Stay Tuned with Preet, in which the former US attorney offers a regular breakdown of topical legal issues alongside key thought leaders.

  • The deal also gives Vox access to Cafe Studios' Insider subscription program which furnishes tens of thousands of listeners with exclusive podcasts, newsletters, articles and events.

  • Under the terms of the deal, Cafe Studios will operate as a division of the Vox Media Podcast Network with Bharara transferring to the new alongside Tamara Sepper, who will serve as executive producer and head of content, overseeing a batch of all-new content currently in the works.

Why it matters

  • Podcasting has become a lynchpin of Vox Media with 220 million people reportedly tuning into its content every month.

  • Mindful of the opportunities presented by the sector, Vox Media has been on an expansion drive with Cafe Studios representing the fourth merger or acquisition since 2019.

  • This growth spurt began with the purchase of production studio Epic, followed in short order by the addition of commenting platform Coral. Later Vox merged with the publisher of the New York Magazine and has been steadily expanding its podcast output throughout; notably with shows such as Unexplainable.

  • Bharara said: “This is an opportunity for tremendous growth with a company that shares in Cafe’s mission, values, and commitment to quality. Our creators are bursting at the seams with plans for more thoughtful, educational content and, in Vox Media, we earn a partner with a large audience, strategic business, and a strong reach across text, video, and events.”

  • Podcasts represent a significant potential gold mine with estimates for the US alone predicting that a fifth of all ad dollars will be showered on the sector this year, exceeding $1bn for the first time according to eMarketer.

  • This bullish sentiment is shared by WARC which found that 38% of marketers are planning to boost podcast spend through 2021.
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