Photo: ANTHONY WALLACE / Getty Images

The New York Times has struck a deal to acquire Serial Productions, the maker of the hit true crime podcast "Serial," the New York Times announced Wednesday night.

Why it matters: The deal speaks to The Times' commitment to grow its audio footprint. Earlier Wednesday, The Times named COO Meredith Kopit Levien as its new CEO. In an interview with Axios, Levien said the company would continue to expand its audio ambitions.

Details: "Audio has been a very big area of focus and investment for us," Levien told Axios.

  • "The Daily, which has now had over 1 billion downloads, has become a daily habit for so many people," she said.
  • "We've begun to use The Daily as a mechanism to put other audio journalism into the world."
  • Last September, Axios reported that The Daily, on average, garners more than 2 million downloads each day.
  • The deal could be worth as much as $50 million, the Wall Street Journal's Ben Mullin reports.

The Times also announced it entered into a business relationship with “This American Life” that will allow it to collaborate on long-form audio with Serial Productions and to work together on marketing and advertising sales.

By the numbers: The Times' media columnist Ben Smith first broke the news that The Times was eyeing a deal with Serial in March.

  • At the time, he reported that Serial looking to sell at a valuation of $75 million, although The Times is expected to pay less than that.

The big picture: The podcast industry is growing quickly, aided by a slew of recent deals aimed at helping the industry of fledging startups consolidate.

  • For The Times, investments in podcasting have helped the company grow its TV and film business.
  • The Times' TV and film executives told Axios last week that podcasts have helped train reporters to invest in new multi-media projects.

Go deeper: The New York Times' "The Daily" podcast hits 1 billion downloads

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Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Report: Quibi shutting amid pandemic struggles

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Quibi, the mobile-only video subscription streaming service, is shutting down, The Wall Street Journal reports. The company raised a whopping $1.75 billion to get the app off the ground from Alibaba, as well as Hollywood behemoths like Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and AT&T's WarnerMedia.

Why it matters: The company has struggled to hit its subscriber growth targets amid the global pandemic. Sources tell Axios Quibi was running out of cash.

Gulf Coast braces for Zeta after storm strengthens into hurricane

Hurricane Zeta's forecast path. Photo: National Hurricane Center

Louisiana Gov. Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) declared a state of emergency Monday as Zeta strengthened into a hurricane and threatened Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as it moved towards the U.S. Gulf Coast.

The state of play: Zeta was expected to make landfall on the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula Monday night, bringing with it a "dangerous storm surge" and "heavy rainfall" as it moved into the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Service said.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.