HiStudios Announced Full Independence from Himalaya Media

HiStudios announced its full independence from Himalaya Media, creating two stand-alone media entities. “We’re so thankful to the team at Himalaya Media in supporting our unique vision at launch and we look forward to continuing to reshape a new era of news and entertainment.”

Based in Los Angeles and with studios globally, HiStudios will rebrand itself as Notorious and will continue to produce sports, entertainment and influencer-focused shows that will be distributed on audio and video platforms everywhere. The division takes place immediately and allows both businesses to grow according to their own strategic priorities.

“Our partners don’t talk about the news, they make it. They don’t follow the conversation, they drive it,” said Notorious CEO, Peter Vincer. “By providing intimate access to many of the world’s most influential and interesting people, and with our unique approach to content distribution, we see ourselves as leading the pack in today’s decentralized media landscape.”

Vincer continued, “In history, being ‘notorious’ has been, at times, perceived as negative. But we feel – especially in reflecting on the greatest media of our past – it has described the rebellious anti-hero, a spirit of independence and righteousness that is a characteristic of our company’s culture and the media icons we have under our banner.”

Said Kweku Mandala, Co-CEO of Mandela Media: “We’re proud to call Notorious a valued partner. Their unique approach to content creation and distribution enables us to connect with audiences on a very personal level while maximizing our global reach. Mandela Media can’t wait to grow with them as they continue to build their platform, branching out to become the industry’s network of note.”

Himalaya Media May Have Misrepresented its Venture Funding

Himalaya Media is a platform for podcasters to create podcasts, connect, and share content with their fans. It appears that the company may have misrepresented the amount of money it received in venture capital funding.

In February of this year, Himalaya Media set out a press release that is still viewable on PodNews, but may have been taken down from other sources. Part of that press release said:

The San Francisco based startup has raised $100M from General Atlantic, SIG and Ximalaya FM and will use this to support the tech innovation, marketing, and content production and acquisition that are driving this launch.

Axios recently reported that Himalaya Media “…didn’t really have that much money in hand, nor were all the stated investors actually on board.”

Axios stated that General Atlantic never invested in Himalaya Media (according to a General Atlantic spokesperson). Instead, General Atlantic had previously invested an undisclosed amount in Ximalaya FM, which is an established Chinese podcasting platform. In its original press release, Himalaya Media listed Ximalaya FM among the companies it received VC funding from.

Interestingly, as Axios noted, Peter Vincer, Himalaya’s original head of partnerships and marketing said that Ximalaya FM is Himalaya Media’s majority owner. This was not mentioned in the press release that Himalaya sent out in February.

Axios was able to speak with Himalaya CEO Yu Wang who said the he removed the press release because “some of the language… was a little bit confusing”. Yu Wang also told Axios that the $100 million was a three-year commitment which mostly came from Ximalaya FM, and that Himalaya Media had only received around $10 million.

This is a mess! I’m not actually surprised by the obfuscation that it appears Himalaya Media has engaged in, though. Himalaya asks podcasters to “claim your show”, which is never a good sign.

It means that Himalaya Media has gone ahead and put a bunch of podcasts onto its platform without asking for permission from the creators of those podcasts. Put all of this together, and it makes me very hesitant to trust Himalaya Media.

Your Podcast May Have Been Added to Himalaya

Himalaya is a platform for podcasters to create podcasts, connect, and share content with their fans. When podcast creators use Himalaya, they can gain support from their listeners and interact with the podcast community like never before.

The first thing I noticed when I looked at the Himalaya website was a bright red-orange button that said “Claim Your Show”. This is never a good sign. It indicates that Himalaya has gone ahead and added podcasts to itself without bothering to contact any of the podcasts hosts first. To me, this feels dishonest.

Want to find out if your podcast is already on Himalaya? You can search for it on the “Find Your Show” part of the Himalaya website.

Neither of the solo podcasts I do are there. My solo shows are not on iTunes. They just exist on my website. However, two other podcasts that I am involved in are on Himalaya. Both of those are on iTunes. From this, it appears that Himalaya is adding shows from iTunes.

If you do a search for your podcast on the Himalaya website, and it is not there, you can contact them to have it added. It is not clear how to contact them if you would like your show removed. There is no information about whether or not Himalaya links back to the podcast’s actual feed.

Himalaya is an app that can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play. According to the information on Himalaya’s FAQ, the only way a podcast’s listeners can send money through Himalaya is to download the Himalaya app.

Personally, I see this as a limitation. If none of your listeners want to download the Himalaya app, then you cannot possibly make any money via Himalaya. To me, it sounds like a podcaster would have to use up some of their show time doing advertising for the Himalaya app before they could potentially make any money from it.

Let’s suppose, for a minute, that each and every one of your listeners decides to download the Himalaya app and that all of them start giving you tips through it. In order to get paid, you would have to submit your PayPal information to Himalaya. Podcasters get paid on a monthly basis. It is unclear if Himalaya takes a cut or not.

Personally, I’m not going to use Himalaya. It troubles me when companies add people’s podcasts to their website or app without asking permission from the podcasters first. It is situations like this one that make me avoid putting my solo podcasts on iTunes. I expect Himalaya is going to face some backlash from podcasters who are not happy to have their shows secretly added to Himalaya.