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New York (CNN Business)The New York Times (NYT) announced on Wednesday it is acquiring Serial Productions, the company behind the namesake podcast series “Serial.”
Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder and Ira Glass launched “Serial” in 2014 while working at “This American Life,” the weekly public radio program. “Serial” made a big impact in the podcast industry and popular culture. Each episode of the first season saw an average of 20 million downloads, according to The Times. In 2017, the trio formed Serial Productions.
The Times also announced Wednesday it will partner with “This American Life,” which includes selling its advertising.
“Journalistically, we’ve been enormous admirers of ‘Serial’ and ‘This American Life’ for years,” Sam Dolnick, assistant managing editor at The Times, told CNN Business. “Our audio team shares so much storytelling DNA, both in the story sensibility but also in the production levels and the deep reporting. Their journalism is the kind of journalism we’re most passionate about.”
Serial Productions will continue producing stories with its own team, Serial Productions executive editor Julie Snyder told CNN Business. Snyder said the team plans to hire more staffers in the future.
“Basically Serial Productions looks like Serial Productions but with a lot more support and resources, also with all of the muscle of The New York Times to help us get out to more listeners and let more people know who we are,” Snyder said.
“Now instead of doing one show at a time, we can do multiple shows in production at least and develop them so hopefully we can move up to having three, four or five shows a year,” Snyder added.
The first show under The Times umbrella, “Nice White Parents,” will debut July 30. Hosted by reporter Chana Joffe-Walt, the series will study how white families shape public education.
The Times has been investing more in audio storytelling, most notably with its popular podcast “The Daily.”
“‘The Daily’ has shown us that we can reach audio people and get them into our consumer subscription business, serving as an entry point to Times journalism,” Stephanie Preiss, The Times vice president for audio and TV, told CNN Business. “It’s the same smart curious people that The Times have always been for, just in new moments in their day and a lot of people who never had a relationship with The Times before.”
The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. The newspaper first reported Serial Productions was exploring a sale in January. New York Times media columnist Ben Smith confirmed the sale in March, adding that the talks were exclusive with The Times.
The Times did not disclose the terms of the deal.
Earlier on Wednesday, The Times announced Meredith Kopit Levien, the company’s chief operating officer, will become president and CEO on Sept. 8.
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