The headline number is derived from the Q2 earnings report for E.W.Scripps, Stitcher’s parent company. Scripps has sold Stitcher to SiriusXM, in a deal planned for Q3 closing.
In the earnings call, Lisa Knutson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Scripps, noted: “After a strategic review that began last year, Scripps entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell its podcast industry leader, Stitcher, for $325 million. That price includes $60 million in earn-outs over two years. Our full sale price represents a multiple of 4.5 times Stitcher’s 2019 revenue.”
That equates to $72-million revenue for Stitcher last year. How does that position Stitcher, a leading podcast content and advertising company, in the overall podcast business landscape? Looking at the IAB Podcast Advertising Revenue Study for 2019 (released last month, see HERE), we see 2019 total revenue of $708-million. So, Stitcher pulled in about 10% of total podcast revenue for 2019.
That number is soft in a couple of ways. First, the IAB figure is a “total market estimate” extrapolated from the exact self-reported numbers also acquired by the IAB (see below). Second, it represents the total advertising market, so might not count branded podcasts and exclusive podcasts behind paywalls which earn subscription revenue.
Note: Revenue is not profit. Lisa Knutsen pointed out Stitcher’s losses of “high teens millions of dollars.” The sale seems completely favorable to Scripps; they get a 4.5 multiple on the company’s Stitcher investment, and realize a better profit margin in the National Media division, where Stitcher was located, by ditching the losses.