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Startup Kaleidoscope disrupts podcasting: ‘Huge amount of leeway’

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A new startup is trying to disrupt the podcast space by betting heavily on foreign content.

Kaleidoscope, a company founded by podcast veterans Oz Voloshin and Mangesh Hattikudur, recently received backing from iHeartMedia (IHRT) after receiving backing from major investors such as former MTV head Tom Freston and former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, Marcus. signed a distribution agreement with Brauchli.

“I think there’s a lot more room to run,” Voloshin told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview (video above). “You’re seeing growth in the advertising market, largely driven by new types of brands becoming more comfortable with podcasting.”

Voloshin said that much existing content is “somewhat homogeneous” and that the current podcast market is saturated with traditional formats such as true crime and “extensions of talk radio, essentially in podcast form.”

“We set out across this clear blue ocean to do international adventure stories, global stories you can listen to with the whole family, and bring you the best narrative podcasts from around the world. [to] American audience,” he said.

Kaleidoscope’s New Podcast “Obsession: Wild Chocolate” (Courtesy: iHeartMedia)

The director dismissed concerns about the decline in corporate advertising spending.

“There’s a flight to quality,” Voloshin said, suggesting podcasts have the potential to create “a world of commerce” to offset potential losses. He added that Kaleidoscope has been able to leverage strong intellectual property to create new revenue streams such as TV, movie and book adaptations, as well as merchandising partnerships.

Kaleidoscope’s partnership with iHeart Media includes an initial list of six series. The first podcast, titled “Obsession: Wild Chocolate,” follows award-winning food journalist Rowan Jacobson on a journey to the Amazon to find the world’s rarest cocoa beans.

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“We’re just looking for things that people want to promote,” Hattikudur said. “Podcasting is such an intimate medium and people carry their podcasts as their identity.”

Podcast startup Kaleidoscope recently signed a distribution deal with iHeartMedia. (Getty Images)

Hattikudur, who voices his series that focuses on self-discovery through South Asian astrology and spirituality, said making podcasts outside the US could be a lucrative opportunity that counters the high cost of content as overseas production budgets are often limited. It is cheaper.

“The economy is definitely easier,” Hattikudur said, citing recent presentations in Greece, India and England.

Kaleidoscope isn’t the only platform to benefit from the medium. Audio-only platforms are investing heavily in podcasts as competition in the space increases.

Spotify (SPOT) revealed at its investor day in June that it generated nearly $215 million in podcast revenue last year after spending $1 billion on its podcast business.

Dawn Ostroff, the company’s chief content and advertising business officer, told investors the audio giant was still in “investment mode” and expected the podcast segment to be a “$20 billion opportunity” with continued improvements in both advertising products and generation. of income. .

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks at a press event on May 20, 2015 in New York.  Spotify, which offers free on-demand music or ad-free tunes to paying customers, said it will now also offer video content and podcasts.  Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek speaks at a press event on May 20, 2015 in New York. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also outlined the potential of the platform’s podcast unit, estimating that it will eventually generate margins of between 40% and 50%.

According to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, podcast ad revenue in the US will grow to $1.4 billion by 2021, crossing the $1 billion mark for the first time. The agency estimates the market will exceed $2 billion by 2022 and $4 billion by 2024.

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Alexandra is a senior entertainment and media reporter at Yahoo Finance. follow him on twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her [email protected]

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