Spotify inks deal with Warner Bros. to bring DC Comics universe to platform
Brands might soon be able to advertise alongside Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. Spotify today inked an exclusive multiyear deal with Warner Bros. to bring the DC Comics universe to the digital streaming giant’s platform.
Although the company did not share specifics, characters including Wonder Woman and Superman are among those who are likely to see a scripted series produced by Warner Bros. for Spotify. The two companies will also release new programming for original intellectual property based on the DC Comics universe. Spotify will manage both marketing and advertising, as well as the distribution of the shows through its platform.
“As we continue to see explosive growth in podcasting around the world, we are thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. to build this slate of programming drawn from the worlds of DC and WB,” Dawn Ostroff, chief content and advertising business officer at Spotify, said in a statement.
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing listener habits. The company said in late April that “every day now looks like the weekend,” as usage in car, wearable and web platforms dropped while TV and game-console use increased by more than 50 percent.
That might bode well for listeners, as podcasting is going through an evolution similar to the one television went through in recent years, marked by a proliferation of programming types. One of the biggest trends in the space is creating prestige dramas such as "Homecoming," "Dirty John" and "Crimetown," all of which have since been adapted for TV.
The move also underscores Spotify's efforts to be the place Madison Avenue thinks of first when it comes to the emerging podcast arena.
Last month, Spotify added “The Joe Rogan Experience” to its roster of shows. Last year, it debuted streaming ad insertion, or SAI, which gives marketers the ability to dynamically insert audio adverts into shows, all while targeting a specific audience using data. It also paid $196 million for Bill Simmons’ “The Ringer” and, in 2019, it acquired Gimlet Media for $230 million. The company is also testing a video capability for its app allowing users to toggle between audio and video. It's not clear whether the DC Comics universe will be made available for that feature.
More than $678 million was spent on podcast advertising in the U.S. last year, up 42 percent year-over-year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. That figure is expected to climb to $1 billion next year, the IAB says.
Spotify trails Apple as the leading podcast platform in the U.S., according to a report from MIDiA Research, an insights and analysis firm. “Though the difference is so small that it could be within margin of survey error,” MIDiA said in January.