Podcasting is so hot, even Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are doing it.
AT&T’s Warner Bros., which owns DC Comics, has teamed up with Spotify to produce an original slate of scripted podcasts based on DC’s colorful cast of superheroes and supervillains, Spotify said on Thursday.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but the joint venture marks the Swedish tech company’s latest foray into podcasting as it seeks to grow its store of exclusive content. Since acquiring podcasting company Ringer in February, Spotify — known mainly as a streaming music service — has inked a licensing deal worth more than $100 million for Joe Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast.
And on Wednesday it scored Kim Kardashian West for a podcast on criminal justice reform, according to The Wall Street Journal, which said that Spotify has spent over $600 million on podcast acquisitions over the past year and a half.
Shares of Spotify rose over 14 percent in midday trading on news of the deal, which gives Spotify first-look rights at scripts based on DC’s stable of comic-book characters, as well as exclusive distribution rights. In addition to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman — recently played by actress Gal Gadot on the big screen — DC owns Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and a host of captivating supervillains, like Black Manta, Lex Luthor and Two-Face.
The multiyear deal also gives Spotify the right to create new programming from DC’s intellectual property, which could lead to movies or TV shows, the company said.
Spotify is making the bet that owning and distributing original content will help it improve margins and keep customers coming back. Currently, the service pays out about 70 percent of its revenue to music rights holders, The Journal said.
The company currently boasts 130 million paid subscribers, including 6 million it added in the three months ended on March 31 at the start of global coronavirus lockdowns.
Despite winning more than a million podcasts on its platform in a relatively short period, Spotify faces a competitive field. Rivals include Apple Music, which has 550,000 podcasts, as well as SiriusXM, which jumped into the superhero game last year when it inked a deal with Disney’s Marvel Entertainment to develop exclusive podcasts for its satellite radio and music streaming services.