NBC News Plans to Double Original Podcasts in Deal with Wondery

Podcast publisher will also take over advertising sales and marketing

The NBC News logo and the Wondery logo next to each other
NBC News will continue developing in-house podcast programming.
NBC, Wondery

NBC News and Wondery are teaming up to develop a slate of news and politics podcasts beginning in 2020.

As part of a multiyear deal the companies will announce at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual Podcast Upfront event today, NBC News and Wondery will work together on news and politics podcast series based on reporting from NBC News’ slate of investigative reporters.

Additionally, Wondery will take over ad sales and marketing for NBC News’ existing podcasts, opening up those programs to Wondery’s network of advertisers in the U.S. and U.K. Any new programming the companies jointly develop and produce will be marketed and sold by Wondery’s sales team. NBCUniversal’s sales team will still be able to include the podcasting slate in cross-platform advertising deals. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Elisabeth Sami, NBC News Group’s svp of global strategy and business development, said the deal is intended to strengthen NBC News’ presence in the podcasting space and deepen Wondery’s slate of news and politics programming. The partnership will mean the creation of two to three series at first, the first of which will roll out in early 2020.

“We are very committed to the space, and we thought this was a natural progression that we continue to grow our original slate,” Sami said. “With Wondery, we could end up at least doubling our original slate that we have today.”

NBC News already has more than 25 original podcasts and showcasts. After starting with podcasts tied to news and opinion programming airing on NBC’s broadcast and cable properties, the company has recently moved into original podcasts like host Rachel Maddow’s politics series Bag Man and the 10-episode interview series The Oath, hosted by former DEA acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

The news organization has some other original podcasts in the works, including Into America, a political series set to premiere this winter that will feature campaign trail interviews with presidential candidates and voters. A podcast from the morning program Today and a series from NBC’s true crime franchise Dateline are also in development.

NBC News will continue developing in-house podcasts, as well as jointly owned programs with help from Wondery, Sami said.

Wondery, which was founded in 2016, has cut though a crowded podcasting space with well-received original true crime programs like Dr. Death and Dirty John, as well as business-oriented programming like Business Wars. The independent podcast publisher has worked with media organizations before to develop its programming: Dirty John was created in tandem with the Los Angeles Times, and it’s worked on one-off podcast series with Bloomberg (The Shrink Next Door) and  The Boston Globe (Gladiator).

Hernan Lopez, founder and CEO of Wondery, said the deal with NBC News represented the podcast publisher’s biggest and most wide-ranging partnership with a news organization yet.

“With the addition of NBC News, we are growing from having a very small presence into a very significant presence in the category of news content,” Lopez said.

He is hopeful the relationship may lead to more television deals, which have served as a lucrative additional revenue stream for the company. Dirty John, for instance, was developed into a miniseries that aired on Bravo in 2018, and NBCUniversal’s television production company Universal Content Productions has the television rights to Dr. Death, a limited series starring Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater and Jamie Dornan.

“Even though we have relationships with most studios in Hollywood, obviously one of the goals of this partnership is to produce more shows,” Lopez said. “And every time our podcasts get turned into television shows, that results in new listeners to our podcasts.”

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