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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

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If you run a hospital, a bank, a utility or a city, chances are you'll be hit with a ransomware attack. Given the choice between losing your precious data or paying up, chances are you'll pay.

Why it matters: Paying the hackers is the clear short-term answer for most organizations hit with these devastating attacks, but it's a long-term societal disaster, encouraging hackers to continue their lucrative extortion schemes.

2 hours ago - Health

CDC mask guidance sparks confusion, questions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The CDC's surprise guidance last week freeing the fully vaccinated to go maskless sowed plenty of concerns across the country— even earning the "Saturday Night Live" treatment for all the questions it spurred.

Why it matters: With plenty of Americans still unvaccinated — and without any good way to confirm who has been vaccinated — some experts worry this could put many at increased risk.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

In photos: Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments enter second week

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Monday morning, as fighting entered a second week.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 197 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 58 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.