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Exclusive: TuneIn expands deal with Cumulus

Kerry Flynn
Sep 6, 2022
Illustration of the wire from a pair of over-ear headphones forming an upward trendline.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

TuneIn will add 325 podcasts to its audio streaming platform as part of a renewed deal with media company Cumulus, CEO Richard Stern tells Axios.

Why it matters: The expanded content partnership helps TuneIn better compete with Spotify, Apple and other audio platforms for listeners' time. It's the latest in a series of deals by TuneIn to improve its service after recapitalizing in 2020.

Details: The deal adds podcasts from Cumulus Podcast Network to TuneIn including sports, comedy and news shows.

  • Cumulus' radio programming from 405 stations in 86 U.S. markets also will be available on TuneIn.
  • "For us, it's about having everything our listeners might want to listen to in the world of live content on the platform," Stern says.

Context: Stern, a former executive at Amazon and Sony, joined TuneIn in 2020 after a consortium of existing and new investors led by Innovation Endeavors acquired the company, recapitalized it and brought on a new management team and board.

  • The new leadership reworked TuneIn's business strategy, leaning away from play-by-play sports content and into providing radio shows and podcasts, says Rick Scanlon, a founding partner at Innovation Endeavors.
  • "We saw this incredible long tail of content as being a key differentiating factor for TuneIn, all the world's radio, everything, everywhere in infinite dial and really reinventing that space," says Scanlon, who serves as executive chairperson of TuneIn.
  • TuneIn also has signed a content distribution deal with iHeartMedia and added Rivian as another car partner.

By the numbers: TuneIn began operating profitably, for the first time in the company's history, shortly after the recapitalization, Stern says.

  • TuneIn's annual revenue exceeds $100 million, and the company's growing 40% year-over-year, he says.
  • TuneIn has about 200 employees, mostly in the U.S., and is expanding in Europe.
  • TuneIn has 75 million total monthly listeners, with about 70% tuning in outside the U.S., and with Western Europe, Central America and South America as its biggest markets.

Of note: Stern says TuneIn is not fundraising at the moment.

  • "Because we're profitable, we don't need a whole lot of cash," he says. "On the other side, I do want to create opportunities for our strategic partners to participate in the equity side of TuneIn."
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