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SiriusXM exec says company reaches 150 million listeners across audio properties

During a television appearance, Jennifer Witz explained why the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring podcast services.

During a television appearance, Jennifer Witz explained why the company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring podcast services.

The incoming chief executive of streaming and satellite radio service SiriusXM Pandora says the company reaches more than 150 million listeners across its various products.

In an interview Friday morning with financial news channel CNBC, SiriusXM’s head of marketing and future CEO Jennifer Witz said the company’s recent decision to invest in on-demand streaming audio helped it reach millions of listeners beyond its traditional radio product.

Two years ago, the company acquired streaming music service Pandora in an all-stock transaction worth $3.5 billion, one of its first serious purchases outside of its core satellite radio and data service.

Earlier this year, the company dropped another $325 million to buy Stitcher, a podcast platform that included on-demand audio production company Earwolf. Other deals include acquisitions involving companies that distribute podcast, collect listener data and help brands sell advertisements against their shows.

Asked why SiriusXM was interested in podcasts, Witz said the company had a history of delivering premium talk radio content to its listeners — SiriusXM has more than 30 million streaming and satellite radio subscribers — and entering the podcast market was “a natural place for us to have a position.”

“We offer a really unique opportunity for podcast creators, publishers and advertisers to come to our platform,” Witz noted, adding that the company’s acquisitions have helped it build a robust sales, marketing, data analytics and technology team with a specific focus on Internet-based audio distribution.

“We’re really excited about podcasting and the opportunity it brings,” Witz said. “SiriusXM has been in premium talk audio for nearly 20 years, and podcasting is a natural extension of that. It is the fastest-growing segment of audio.”

On Thursday, SiriusXM announced it had started incorporating a curated selection of podcasts from a handful of partner brands on a streaming app that acts as an extension of its traditional satellite radio service. In addition to shows produced by Stitcher’s Earwolf, including the blockbuster talk program “Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend,” SiriusXM says it is readying the launch of several exclusive podcasts, including shows produced in partnership with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment and a new program hosted by comedian Kevin Hart.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).