Business

Spotify to Turn its Exclusive Podcasts into TV Shows and Movies

Spotify - Appy Pie

Spotify wants to turn more of its original podcasts into TV shows and movies. The company announced a partnership today with Chernin Entertainment, the production company behind Ford v Ferrari, Hidden Figures, and New Girl, to develop TV and movie pitches based on Spotify-exclusive and original podcasts. The first look partnership means the company has the rights to mine Spotify’s library of original podcasts for potential film and TV projects. Chernin and Spotify will identify potential projects from Spotify’s portfolio of more than 250 original series.

Spotify has invested hundreds of millions of dollars acquiring podcast studios such as Gimlet Media and the Ringer, hoping to attract new users and advertisers to what has been a music app. It’s also seeking to diversify its revenue sources because songs carry heavy royalty costs. With the Chernin deal, the company is looking to turn its library into valuable new stories for Hollywood, much like comic books have for Walt Disney Co. and Warner Bros.

Chernin said in a prepared statement, “Spotify has one of the largest libraries of unattached IP that exists in the world today and that library is being added to daily. This treasure trove of content plus the acceleration of new voices and stories provides an enormous opportunity to transform these addictive stories and IP into content for the screen.”

Turning podcasts into movies and shows has already proven to be a potential moneymaker for companies. Chernin, Spotify, and Pineapple Street Media are already collaborating on a TV adaptation of The Clearing, and Gimlet Media, which is now owned by Spotify. Gimlet Media had already seen a couple of its podcasts become TV shows, including “Homecoming,” an Amazon.com Inc. TV series starring Julia Roberts.

Podcasts are cheaper and easier to make than TV shows and can prove a story’s worth before studios commit to funding expensive, on-screen production. Even movie stars, like Rami Malek, are starring in fictional podcasts, setting themselves up to be audio stars with the potential to be cast in a visual adaption of their show, too.

Spotify partnering with Chernin means it has a reputable production company at the ready, looking for opportunities to capitalize on the company’s catalog without Spotify having to staff up in Hollywood.