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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify on Thursday said it acquired Whooshkaa, a podcast technology platform that specializes in technology for radio broadcasters to turn existing content into podcasts.

Why it matters: The deal will help Whooshkaa expand and will help Spotify grow its ad inventory.

  • The deal "allows us to bring our pent up advertiser demand to a whole host of publishers that we don't work with today in the radio broadcast space," said Spotify's Jay Richman, who heads the company's ads business and platform.

Details: Whooshkaa’s "broadcast-to-podcast" technology will be integrated into Megaphone, a podcast monetization company that Spotify acquired last year for $235 million.

  • Whooshkaa's radio broadcast clients will be able to access Megaphone’s suite of tools and technology. (Megaphone places ads for thousands of podcast publishers.)
  • Whooshkaa's clients are typically large, independent podcasters and media publishers in Australia and Asia. Publishers include the local public broadcasters, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  • "They use our technology to save them time and to make the hosting process quite quite easy," said Whooshkaa's founder and CEO Rob Loewenthal. Whooshkaa's technology helps radio broadcasters insert advertising into the podcasting content. It makes money via licensing fees or ad revenue shares.
  • Deal terms were not disclosed, but presumably the acquisition was pretty small. A dozen people work at Whooshkaa. A spokesperson confirmed that the deal will not require regulatory review.

The big picture: Spotify has invested heavily in ad tech over the past two years to become a leader in podcast ads. It's spent hundreds of millions of dollars overall on podcast companies that help creators create, distribute and monetize content.

  • In February it launched the Spotify Audience Network, an ad network that combines all of the audio streaming giant's ad inventory. The company says it surpassed €1 billion in advertising revenue in 2021.

Bottom line: "Three years ago, we evolved Spotify's mission from music to audio and we got into podcasting in a big way," said Richman.

  • "The last year has been the year where we've emphasized assembling all these components into the first fully-verticalized audio stack, bringing audio creation, distribution, consumption, and monetization all into one place."

Go deeper: Spotify's plan to dominate audio ads

Go deeper

Dec 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

AT&T selling ad tech unit Xandr to Microsoft

Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AT&T is selling its ad tech unit Xandr to Microsoft. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Why it matters: AT&T has been scrambling to get Xandr off its balance sheet. Sources told Axios earlier this year that Xandr loses tens of millions a year and has been grossly mismanaged.

FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly COVID antibody treatments

A coldbox containing monoclonal antibody treatments at a Regeneron clinic in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in August. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FDA said Monday it's limiting the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies as COVID-19 treatments because data indicates they're "highly unlikely" to be effective against the dominant Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The FDA revised the authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly "to limit their use to only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," per a statement from the agency.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.