Back in 2014 when Podcasts were not really in fashion as they are today, Sarah Koenig, Julie Snyder and Neil Drumming released a true crime investigation series called ‘Serial’ that many now view as one of the major driving forces in the rise of the audio medium to mass awareness. Now the New York Times has acquired the production outfit behind the show, ‘Serial Productions’ which is now readying for a fourth season. The purchase is said to have been for a reported $25 Million (USD), while other sources indicated it could be as much as $50 Million depending on performance.
Serial’s debut season zeroed in on the case of ‘Adnand Syed’ who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, 18-year-old Hae Min Lee in Baltimore County. The investigative show was addicting and intriguing, unique storytelling, in-depth research and first hand interviews combined with Koenig’s unique voice and personality popularized a new way of telling stories. The first season now has over 300million plays, with more than 20 million per an episode. Since then they’ve release two more seasons and another hit show called ‘S-Town’.
Despite it’s success, the hit show has never been available on Spotify, which is one of the biggest players in Podcasting today. Under this new partnership we could reasonably expect to see the existing three seasons as well as the planned fourth season made available on Spotify in the future.
Under New York Times, Serial Productions will continue to produce and edit its own stories, however they’ll now be amplified by the NYT, the new partnership will give the award winning production outfit additional resources and allow them to make more new content at a faster pace. Serial & The New York Times are kicking off the partnership with a brand new mini series called Nice White Parents, which see’s NPR, This American Life reporter and producer Chana Joffe-Walt taking a deep look at the role white families play in public education.
Along with the acquisition of Serial Productions, New York Times also announced it had entered into a strategic alliance with Serials original producers, ‘This American Life’. The move shows yet another media player taking a deeper dive into the audio formats in a bid to continue to engage with audiences, adding to NYT’s news show ‘The Daily’ which was launched in 2017.