Podcast App Breaker Gets a New Life in LA
Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake
The popular podcast mobile app Breaker will get a second life in Los Angeles.
Three-year-old Maple Media will use Breaker - the 10th most-downloaded podcast app on iOS in 2020 - to help amplify its podcasting presence.
Breaker is a podcasting platform that hosts over 700,000 shows. It competes with the likes of Apple Podcasts, and aims to help users discover podcasts based on what their friends like.
Earlier this month, Breaker appeared to be shutting down when Twitter absorbed its employees. But, the company formerly based in San Francisco was resuscitated over the weekend after a 72-hour negotiation session. In the end, Breaker agreed to sell its website, technology and social media handles to Maple Media for an undisclosed amount.
Backed by private equity firm Shamrock Capital, Maple Media owns a portfolio of more than 150 mobile applications that reach over 40 million users monthly, according to the company.
When Breaker's CEO Erik Berlin and CTO Leah Culver "decided to join Twitter to help build out a new product for them, it was a natural fit for Erik to turn to us. What was most important to him, his team and investors was to see Breaker thrive," said Maple Media CEO Michael Ritter.
The deal came together over the weekend, Ritter said.
With podcasts growing ever more crowded, Maple believes it can help solve "the discovery challenge in podcasting: creators want to find an audience, and audiences are seeking out new shows." To do so, in the coming weeks it will launch a program to allow creators and brands to promote podcasts across its podcast apps Breaker, Player FM, Podkicker and its social media platform We Heart It.
The podcast industry brought in about $1.3 billion in 2020, according to research firm Omdia. Although that figure is less than what one blockbuster film can make, the space has attracted significant investment of late, driven largely by expectations of growth. Omdia forecasts industry ad revenue could triple by 2025 and that listenership could grow to two billion, up from about 800 million listeners in 2019.
Spotify, Apple and Amazon have all been ramping up their podcasting footprint. In December, Amazon acquired L.A.-based podcast studio Wondery for a reported sum of over $300 million.
Launched in 2017, Maple Media's business model is to acquire apps with a loyal following, then grow that user base and improve the app's monetization, said Ritter.
Operating them collectively is cheaper and allows the company to cross-promote their apps.
For instance, Maple plans to add podcasts onto We Heart It, which it says "many popular podcaster creators" use to promote their shows.
The company's portfolio includes two other podcasting apps, Player FM and Podkicker, which combined reach millions of monthly users, Ritter said. Player FM is the sixth most-downloaded podcasting app worldwide, he added.
Outside of podcasting, some of its popular apps include SwiftScan, WeekCal, Pic Stitch and Weather Hi-Def Radar.
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