New York Times Co. to Acquire Podcast Studio Behind ‘Serial’

Serial Productions was co-founded by Ira Glass, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder

The New York Times Company will purchase Serial Productions, the podcast studio behind hit show “Serial” and “S-Town,” the company announced Wednesday.

Serial Productions, co-founded by Ira Glass, Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder, will continue to commission, produce and edit its own podcasts under the Times’ banner, which said “will allow the Serial team to tell more stories and produce more series than they had previously.” Upcoming shows already commissioned include “Nice White Parents,” a forthcoming series hosted by reporter Chana Joffe-Walt that will examine the role of white family in the public education system. The first episode will premiere July 30.

The New York Times Company has also reached what it calls “a strategic alliance” with Glass’ “This American Life,” which will remain an independent company producing shows weekly on Chicago Public Radio’s WBEZ and on podcast apps.

Serial” debuted in 2014 and was created in partnership with the creators of  “This American Life” and Chicago Public Radio’s WBEZ. The narrative-driven true crime podcast won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for a news series and website in June 2017 for its second season, which focused on Army veteran Bowe Bergdahl’s journey from escaping Taliban capture to being dishonorably discharged from the Army following accusations that he deserted.

Glass, Koenig and Snyder helped produce both “Serial” and “S-Town. Koenig hosted “Serial,” which inspired a Serial Productions spin-off show called “S-Town” that launched in March 2017 with host Brian Reed.

“We’re incredibly proud of ‘Serial’ and wanted to find a home where we felt shared values, one where we would be supported and resourced to tell more stories, of the highest quality,” Snyder said in a statement Wednesday. “We’re thrilled to be joining The Times, where they have demonstrated a commitment to pursuing the possibilities of audio and long-form narrative journalism.”

Podcast analytics firm Podtrac keeps tabs on the top podcast publishing outfits each month, and in June found that the New York Times’ podcasting division ranked third, with a monthly domestic audience count of roughly 11.9 million across its 14 active shows. This American Life/Serial Productions ranked No. 14 on Podtrac’s June list, with an estimated 4.5 million monthly U.S. listeners tuning into its two podcasts.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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