Feb 14, 2024 - Business

Brené Brown joins Vox Media's podcast network


Vox Media

Vox Media on Wednesday announced that acclaimed author and podcaster Brené Brown will be bringing her two award-winning shows, "Unlocking Us" and "Dare to Lead," to its podcast network.

Why it matters: Brown is one of the most popular podcasters and speakers in the world. Her shows have been on hiatus since she ended her exclusive deal with Spotify in January 2023.

  • "Vox Media feels like the perfect partner for my return to podcasting," Brown said in a statement to Axios.
  • "We've loved working with their team and their support for and commitment to creating and innovating feels totally aligned with where I am in my career."

Details: The new deal will see the return of both of Brown's hit shows, with "Unlocking Us" becoming available on Feb. 28 and "Dare to Lead" becoming available on March 20.

  • Unlike her Spotify deal, Brown's new and existing podcasts will now be available widely across all podcast platforms.
  • Vox Media will take the lead on sales, marketing and distribution for her shows.

Catch up quick: Brown's podcasts, which reach a wide audience of business leaders and decision-makers, have been a huge hit since she launched her first show, "Unlocking Us," in 2020.

  • Guests for that show included notable figures such as former President Obama, President Biden, Melinda Gates, Bono and Oprah Winfrey.
  • Brown launched "Dare to Lead" when she joined Spotify in 2020.

Between the lines: With nearly 15 million social media followers, a streaming show, and a Netflix special, Brown has become one of the most popular voices on the topics of leadership and emotional maturity.

  • Her TED talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most-watched TED talks in the world, with over 60 million views on YouTube.

The big picture: Brown's deal represents a shift in the podcast landscape broadly from networks owning exclusive rights to distribute shows toward owning the distribution and monetization rights to shows across many platforms.

  • Earlier this month, Spotify announced a new multiyear deal to distribute "The Joe Rogan Experience" podcast, while still allowing the show to be available on other platforms.

Zoom out: Over the past few years, Vox Media has become one of the top destinations for premiere talent to partner on distribution, monetization and strategy for their podcasts.

  • The company, which is one of the top 10 podcast publishers in the U.S., per industry ranker Podtrac, has inked deals with a slew of marquee names across business, culture and sports.
  • A few of those names include Kara Swisher, Scott Galloway, Esther Perel, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner.

Zoom in: Vox Media's podcast arm began to make serious investments in 2021 to expand.

Bottom line: "Our podcast strategy is to be the home of the most influential shows across every consumer passionate point," said Ray Chao, Vox Media's SVP and general manager for audio and digital video.

  • "You're gonna continue to see us invest in growing and broadening our network. Sports is an area that we're excited about."

What's next: For now, most of Vox Media's podcast business comes from direct advertising sales, but the firm has begun to experiment with paywalling some shows.

What to watch: Brown is also scheduled to host a live show recording on March 10 in Austin, Texas, as part of Vox Media's podcast stage at SXSW.

Go deeper: Scoop: Vox Media drops its own CMS

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