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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify said Tuesday that it's acquiring Megaphone, one of the top podcast advertising platforms, from Graham Holdings for $235 million. Deal terms were not disclosed.

Why it matters: It's the latest mega-investment Spotify is making into boosting its podcast business. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollar in buying up podcast companies and exclusive rights to big-name shows.

Details: The deal will help Spotify specifically bolster its podcast advertising strategy.

  • Megaphone, formerly called Panoply Media, was started by The Slate Group in 2015. The company used to produce podcasts, but later pivoted to focus on helping companies with advertising and audience metrics.
  • Megaphone is one of just a few companies that focuses on dynamic ad insertion, meaning the automatic placement of ads within a podcast.
  • Earlier this year, Spotify launched something similar called "streaming ad insertion." This deal will build on that effort.

Be smart: For now, podcasting is a small but growing advertising medium. By aggregating investments in podcast monetization, delivery and content, Spotify aims to grow the podcast advertising industry significantly and secure a chunk of the revenue that goes with it.

The big picture: Its efforts come as rivals continue to try to bolster their own podcast businesses, including SiriusXM, which acquired Spotify's music rival Pandora in 2018, and iHeartMedia, which has recently completed a number of smaller podcast company acquisitions.

Go deeper

Jan 18, 2021 - Podcasts
How It Happened

Trump's Last Stand Part I: Where It Starts

In episode one of How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand, Axios political correspondent Jonathan Swan draws a direct line from President Trump's election night speech, in which he falsely declared victory, to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol.

But, but, but: The story really starts in early October, as Trump is recovering from COVID-19 and struggling to turn around a flailing campaign.

Go deeper: New episodes come out Mondays, beginning January 18.

Credits: This show is produced by Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin and Alice Wilder. Dan Bobkoff is the executive producer. Additional reporting and fact-checking by Zach Basu. Margaret Talev is managing editor of politics. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’s executive editor. Sound design by Alex Sugiura and theme music by Michael Hanf.

In photos: Life slowly returning to normal as restrictions lift across U.S.

Fireworks near the Statue of Liberty in New York City marking the end of New York State's pandemic restrictions in New York State and honoring frontline workers. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New Yorkers and Californians celebrated most COVID-19 restrictions lifting on Tuesday, as the two states became the latest to move toward fully reopening their economies.

The big picture: The pandemic has now claimed over 600,000 lives in the U.S., but vaccines have helped drive down the seven-day average to roughly 14,000 new cases and fewer than 400 deaths per day, helping most states to ease restrictions.

2 hours ago - World

China's government issues warning after sending 28 planes over Taiwan

A J-11B fighter aircraft from China's air force flying over the Dafangshen airport in Changchun, China. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

China's government issued a warning to "foreign forces" after Taiwan reported a record 28 Chinese military planes flew over the self-governed island's airspace Tuesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The warning and deployment of aircraft including fighter jets and bombers comes after G7 leaders issued a statement Sunday urging the Chinese government to respect human rights and calling on peace and "stability across the Taiwan Strait."