Listen Is Acquired By PodX In Landmark UK Deal

Audio producer Listen, the leading independent podcast and radio company in the UK, has announced its acquisition by global podcast group PodX.

With Listen’s market-leading position and reputation in the UK, this deal is a milestone acquisition for PodX. For Listen, it will super-charge the company’s next phase of growth and give the company global reach. Stockholm-based PodX’s fast-moving strategy has already seen them invest in a range of world-class podcast studios across the globe including: Nouvelles Écoutes and Studio Minuit (France); Goldhawn Productions (UK); Post (Argentina); Flit (Sweden, Norway, Denmark);and Suomen Podcastmedia (Finland). PodX’s investment sees the Group purchasing a majority share in Listen. The deal represents the most significant acquisition in the UK industry since Sony’s purchase of Somethin’ Else in June 2021.

Josh Adler, Managing Director, Listen says: “When we launched in September 2019, we set out to be the UK’s leader in radio and podcast production – and we’ve achieved this. Not only have we consistently grown turnover year on year, we’ve specifically grown our podcast business by more than 250% and been at the forefront of the industry’s move into video and social.

“The beating heart of Listen is our obsession with producing premium content and a desire to move at pace and stay ahead change. We know there is a huge opportunity for us internationally and this is precisely what PodX can support us with.”

Listen works with the world’s biggest talent, brands, and platforms, including BBC, Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music, Sky, ITV, BMV, Vodafone, Global, Viacom, Sky Sports, and many more. The company has produced over 3,500 hours of content in the past 12 months, enjoyed by millions of listeners all over the world. Listen is the APA’s 2021 Production Company of the Year and ALF’s Best Start Up Agency of 2022.

Staffan Rosell, CEO and Member of the Board, PodX Group says: “We are building a Group of world class companies, and we are thrilled to be acquiring the most significant production company in the UK. Listen is a truly impressive business – highly respected, with a market-leading position, inspirational leadership with ambitious plans for the future. Listen has great potential and we are thrilled that it is joining the PodX Group.

“We are really excited by the opportunity to support Listen with the creative development firepower available across the Group. We want to not only help Listen superserve its current commissioners and attract new clients across the genres, but are also keen to invest in Listen’s own IP to create even more valuable IP together, both on a domestic and global level. This is a landmark acquisition for use in the UK in building a strong presence in the British podcast market. PodX continues to look for more world class podcast businesses, producers and IP, and are primarily focused on Europe and Latin America to find them.”

Darby Dorras, Director of Content, Listen, adds: “This is an incredibly exciting moment for Listen and its clients. Our content and plans remain as ambitious and premium as ever – but we’re now supercharged and even more global than before.”

Listen, which joins the PodX Group with immediate effect, will continue to be run by the same management team: Josh Adley, Managing Director; Darby Dorras, Director of Content; and Tim Hammond, Executive Director. The company will operate in the same way, from their current offices, but benefit from the creative and commercial opportunities presented by being part of an enlarged, global organization.

Stockholm-based PodX Group invest in podcast producers who create the best content to jointly develop those companies both domestically and globally, bringing them into their global network of renowned podcast companies to enable collaboration and synergies. The Group is committed in investing in business with international podcast IP rights: offering financing, as well as support around business development, internationalization and commercialisation, to emerging podcast producers and creators.

PodX was founding in 2021 by Patrick Svensk (founder of Kanal 5, Zodiak Media, and Nice Entertainment); Staffan Roses (previously Nordic Head of Viacom, SBS Radio, Discovery Radio, and most recently CEO of Bower Media); and Fredrik Said (global expansion at Universal and Acast). The Group’s main shareholder and financier is the Swedish investment group Qarlbo AB.


Listen Marks New Era With Senior Hires

Listen announces a host of senior hires who will drive the agency into an ambitious new era of original podcasts. The agency has appointed Darby Dorras as Director of Content. It also welcomes Amber Bateman, Creative Lead from Mags Creative, as an Executive Producer and Josh Adley as Managing Director, previously Director of Commercial and Client Relations.

Since its launch in 2019, Listen has become the UK’s leading independent podcast production agency, setting the gold standard in branded content and commissioned work for global startup platforms. Listen are the current APAs Production Company of the Year and recently won Best Startup Agency at the 2022 ALF awards.

The team has created award-winning global podcasts for clients including BBC Sounds’ 28ish Days Later and That Gemma Collins Podcast, Audible’s Titting About with French and Saunders, Michael Caine: Heroes and Sky Bingo’s Ry-Union, plus award-winning content for Spotify, Amazon Music, BMW, Vodafone, MTV and Comedy Central.

Building on the agency’s success, Listen will now deliver its first ever podcast originals slate, brought to life by the newly appointed Director of Content. In his role, Dorras will bring creative leadership to the agency and drive bold, innovative originals, while continuing to grow its award-winning work for brands.

Dorris’s joins after a decade at Somethin’ Else, part of Sony Music Entertainment, as an industry-leading Executive Producer. He’s created podcasts for clients from the BBC to Bloomberg to Vanity Fair, been instrumental in the growth of Somethin’ Else’s branded podcast work, and delivered a creative vision that’s helped shape a globally successful originals slate.

Dorras’ years of experience also span across radio: exec’ing weekly strands and dramas for Radio 4, docs for Radio 2 and 4, series for the Audio Content Fund and he was the creative force behind the pan-industry radio spot, The Mental Health Minute. Previously Dorras had an insatiable appetite for food content, leading both BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and Somethin’ Else podcast Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner to become two of the UKs top food audio shows, winning multiple Guild of Food Writers and Fortnum and Mason Food Awards.

Dorras is a multiple BPA, ARIA and NYF Radio Awards nominee and winner, as well as being a ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 Alumnus and winner of the prestigious ‘The Gold Award” at the APAs. As someone with a physical disability, he is a passionate advocate for creating a more accessible, diverse audio industry and is the Founder of Disabled People in Audio.

Amber Bateman joins as an Executive Producer with significant experience as Creative Lead at Mags Creative, working with commissioners and global brand clients including Google, Meta, Spotify and Puffin. She has a track record for developing successful wider podcasting brands that have topped charts and won awards. She is excited by the potential that ‘vodcasts’ bring to the traditionally audio-only landscape and is passionate about employing a 360-brand approach to podcasts: connecting crucial moments and conversations as part of a multi-channel strategy. In 2021, she was one of the Radio Academy’s 30 Under 30.

Josh Adley, Listen’s MD, said: “From our first conversation that Darby was the right person to drive us forward creatively as we develop and launch our first slate of original shows. His wealth of experience across genres speaks for itself and his creative energy is a force to be reckoned with. I’m equally delighted that Amber was inspired by our vision to join the team, adding to our existing heavyweight exec producers Suzy Grant, Nick Minter and Paul Thomas. As we move forward, expect more premium shows bolstered by a fresh slate of original podcasts. We are only just getting started.”

Darby Dorras, Listen’s Director of Content added: “I’m hugely excited to be joining Listen. In just three years, they’ve built an industry-leading team who are delivering a diverse range of standout audio content. I can’t wait to bring my experience and creative leadership to the company as we enter this next phase at a crucial moment in podcasting. Expect big, bold, innovative, and provocative ideas that will underpin our new originals slate, and continue to feed and grow our work-for-hire.

Platform and Listen Announce Strategic Partnership

Creative Content group Platform and leading UK audio producer Listen have announced a strategic partnership. The two companies will collaborate on building brands around high-profile projects already in the works featuring some of the biggest names in the country, the partnership will open up unique opportunities for creative talent to build long-term projects in which they share a stake.

Launched in May, the Platform group is the home of venture including: Wildfire, a social agency specializing in video, content distribution and communications; media technology business Format; and multimedia storytelling company Folding Pocket, whose co-founders include renowned actor James Nesbitt and former England rugby stars Mike Tindall and James Haskell.

Folding Pocket’s programming includes: Rob Brydon’s Spotify-exclusive podcast: Brydon & John Bishop and Tony Pitts Amazon Music exclusive Three Little Words; boxing champion Carl Frampton’s Inside Fighting; and The Good, The Bad & The Rugby, the world’s biggest rugby show.

Listen, the UK’s leading independent audio producer, crafts high-quality shows with millions of listeners. Working across all genres, its podcasts and radio projects include commissioned shows, branded podcasts and TV sister shows. The company works with high-profile talent including Claudi Winkleman, French & Sanders, Edith Bowman, reality star Gemma Collins, chef Levi Roots and boxing promoter Frank Warren.

As well as shows for Audible, the BBC and national commercial radio networks, Listen has created award-winning branded content for brands including BMW, Vodafone, Starbucks, Sky Bet, Churchill, Fiverr and The Open University.

Matthew Sherry, CEO, Platform, says: “Listen is the UK’s pre-eminent creative force in the world of audio, so we are thrilled to be joining forces with them. Their 25 years of experience are a huge asset to Platform, supercharging the scalability of our core business model. As a creative partner, they will complement Platform in the development of market-leading ideas and IP. As a production partner, they will instantly give us the capacity to deliver a higher volume of prestigious shows.

“Platform users its cross-section of companies to transform podcasts into premium brands. Listen shares our drive and ambition in ensuring that podcasts not only rise above the saturated marketplace, but have the capacity to deliver significant commercial media value, so we are delighted to be working with them in this way.”

Josh Adley, Director of Commercial & Client Relations, Listen, adds: “Platform’s keen awareness of building brands and developing talent are in perfect harmony with our own values. Their unique combination of creative skills and distribution expertise makes them the perfect partner for us.

“Talent brands and platforms are increasingly looking for more than just an audio studio. They want to establish programming brands through strong distribution, discoverability, and visibility. Our collaboration with Platform allows us to do just that, creating a one-stop-shop for those who are wanting to create, or own, ambitious programming.”