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Expand chart
Data: Pitchbook; Chart: Axios Visuals

Venture capital money is pouring into podcast companies, with roughly 3x times as many deals being brokered today than 10 years ago.

Why it matters: Data has long suggested podcast listenership would explode as more Americans adopt smart speakers and voice assistants in their homes.

  • But before 2017, venture capitalists shied away from investing in podcast startups, fearing that Apple already had too much of a stronghold over the market and because the industry was (and still is) rather decentralized, which means that money hasn't flowed into it as quickly.

Yes, but: Those trends are starting to change. Some venture-backed podcasts are experiencing major exits into bigger podcast platforms that are beginning to rival Apple — most notably, Spotify.

By the numbers: About 90 million Americans listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, according to a report from Edison Research. But podcasts are only expected to be about a $670 million advertising industry this year, according to a report from the IAB and PwC.

  • By comparison, the newspaper industry brought in roughly $14.3 billion in revenue last year with about a 28.6 million weekday circulation and 30.8 million daily circulation.

Some of the most notable venture investments in podcasts this year ...

  • February 2019: Himalaya Media, a podcasting platform startup, raised $100 million.
  • February 2019: WaitWhat, podcast production company, raised $4.3 million.
  • June 2019: Wondery raised $10 million in Series B funding.
  • July 2019: Podimo, a European poscast app, raised €6M in seed funding.

Some of the most notable podcast exits this year:

  • February 2019: Gimlet, a podcast network, sold to Spotify for a reported $230 million.
  • February 2019: Anchor, a podcast production company, sold to Spotify for a reported $110 million.
  • March 2019: Parcast, a podcast network, sold to Spotify for $56 million.

The big picture: Spotify's $500 million investment in podcast companies this year hasn't gone unnoticed by listeners. Reports suggest that Spotify's market share had roughly doubled from 2017 to 2018, as it continues to eat at Apple's market share.

Go deeper: Podcast events are making a killing

Go deeper

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.