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Hernan Lopez on the Rise of Podcasts (CNBC)

Hernan appeared on CNBC to discuss the rise of podcasts. Hernan was the CEO & Founder of Wondery at the time of this interview.



I am a super fan of all things podcasts.

And so I am in your target demo,

and I have to ask how your business in particular is going to change once it is owned by Amazon?

Hernan Lopez:

Well, thank you so much for having me on the show,

and the business has been owned by Amazon already for little over a month.

Without speaking too much to what their plans are,

they already announced publicly that they're going to increase staff significantly over the

next year and over the coming years.

And they're going to expand beyond the slate that Wondery has produced

in the past.

Wondery is known for the best quality immersive storytelling shows

that make people feel they're in the middle of the story like Business Wars or Dirty John, or WeCrash.

And I think that Amazon will take that direction even further

and will expand beyond what we've done in the past.


Now I'm curious what your responses to the success the recent success of

Clubhouse in the phenomenon of live audio conversations we saw

Spotify move into that space within acquisition it made recently is this a space that's

interesting to you? Does it seem competitive to podcast?

Hernan Lopez:

I don't believe it seems very competitive with podcasts.

I've been using clubhouse for a couple of months now,

and I've seen people who are in the podcast industry hangout in Clubhouse,

but I have not heard or seen any evidence of that listening coming at the expense of

time spent listening to podcasts.

Remember that 41% of Americans told blasts are listening to

podcasts every month,

and those weekly listeners are listening to eight episodes.

That's a lot of time.

And the time that spent listening to podcasts keeps expanding.

I look at Clubhouse probably as a good promotional medium that podcasts will use as another way to just get the word out.

Secondarily as our validation.

That audio is really fascinating.

The space when Wondery was braided a lot of company thought of audio

as just music and talk radio,

and it was in the very early days of

2016 and 2017 that we started to develop

podcast as a narrative, serialised storytelling medium and so many other format have

continue to evolve into audio that I think we're at the early stages of even the what the

podcast community can create.


It feels like the battle and podcast right now is over talent less so,

studios that you saw Amazon buy Wondery the studio.

I wonder,

How are you making sure that your top talent,

now that the deal has gone through,

doesn't leave for other platforms like Spotify,

which is offering big money for big names or leave on their own to be paid directly by


You saw that happen with Barstool Sports, Pen Gaming and the Call Your Daddy


Hernan Lopez:

I can't speak for wonder because I'm no longer the CEO.

That's the question for them.

I'm just an adviser.

But what I can say,

Talent in general looks at the size of a platform how big their audience can be.

Their economics and talent relations.

There is not one component of their relationship with their platform partner

that is always more important than the other one,

There's some talent that prefer having a wide audience and a team that will

really get their show to number one,

and that's of the recent partner with a company like Wondery.

Wondery was the only company to get 32 shows to number one on

the Apple charts.

And that's something that every creator wants to see with their show.


People always ask, have we reached a peak podcast or not?

And some argue, it could end up being like the book business,

where it's so fractured, almost like a cottage industry.

It's kind of not a huge deal to have a book,

but the book publishers live for the mega hits the tentpole hits.

Is that a good way to look at the podcast space?

Hernan Lopez:

I don't believe so. The biggest difference between books and podcast is

that podcast build habit?

There's a recurring listening experience.

People will come to a podcast and then they'll subscribe to it

and come week after week for us

In a book.

If you read a book,

that doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to read the next book from the

same author.

So there's less of a building habit books than there is in podcasts.


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