Writers Guild of America, East announced that the writers and producers at Gimlet Media and The Ringer, two of the first podcast production companies to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), both ratified first collective bargaining agreements. Gimlet Media and The Ringer are owned by Spotify.
The Guild negotiated both three-year agreements concurrently, and the contracts were unanimously ratified by the 48 bargaining unit members at Gimlet Media and 65 bargaining unit members at The Ringer.
Both of the groundbreaking union contracts include:
- Significant increases to salary minimums, with The Ringer establishing $57,000 plus overtime as an entry-level floor, and Gimlet Media beginning at $73,000 for Associate Producers.
- Establishment of new senior titles.
- Limitations on the use of contractors within bargaining unit positions. Contractors must either be offered a full-time job after 10 months, or the companies must inform them 30 days in advance that there will not be a position available for them.
- Minimum of 2% guaranteed annual increases.
- Minimum severance of 11 weeks for all employees, regardless of tenure.
- Spotify benefits, with no change in benefits for the duration of the contract.
- Editorial standards that guarantee that the company will not modify or fail to publish content based on the direction of advertisers, and that bargaining unit employees will not be required to work on advertising and branded content.
- Funding for Diversity Committees, with representatives from both management and the bargaining unit.
- Language guaranteeing that 50% of candidates for open unit positions who make it to the stage after the phone interview will be from traditionally under-represented groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, military veterans).
- Elimination of post-employment non-compete agreements for all employees who make under $155,000, and removal of post-employment non-competes in individual agreements.
- Formation of a Labor Management Committee.
- Just cause and union security.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “The collective bargaining agreements at Gimlet Media and The Ringer demonstrate that the people who make podcasts, from writers to producers to editors, bring enormous value to the major platforms for whom they create content. Collective bargaining ensures creative professionals have a seat at the table to address issues like inclusion and equity, intellectual property concerns, and sustainability of careers.”
The Ringer seeks an associate podcast producer to join its Los Angeles-based digital audio team. The ideal candidate will be creative and self-motivated, will possess experience in all aspects of production, and who loves audio storytelling and knows how to convey stories that are entertaining and engaging.
The associate podcast producer will provide support to the podcast producers and talent covering topics that drive The Ringer universe: sports, popular culture, technology, politics, food, and more.
- Work closely with the audio staff in support of production needs
- Act as edit or production support for a full range of podcasts, including research and creating outlines for new episodes of existing Ringer podcast series
- Covering studio sessions as needed
- Organizing and coordinating show delivery schedules
- Provide audio engineer functions to the video team
- Aid in the operation of studio or field production equipment as necessary
- Minimum of two to three years experience in a professional digital media production role
- Must have prior experience as an audio producer, demonstrating an understanding of creating content on the latest social media platforms
- Must show a fundamental ability to make sound editorial judgements and balance conflicting priorities
- An ability to convey complex information and stories in a clear and engaging way
- Knowledge of what makes a story relatable, dramatic and interesting and what makes compelling audio and sound
- Deep understanding of news and story lines, with sound journalistic ethics and judgement
This is a permanent, full-time position with comprehensive medical, dental, vision, and life insurance benefits. The Ringer would like applicants to attach a cover letter, and samples of previous work if applicable.
Visit The Ringer’s Linkedin to learn more details about this job and how to apply for it.
Spotify announced today that the company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Ringer, a leading creator of sports, entertainment and pop culture content. The Ringer was founded by Bill Simmons in 2016.Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
With this acquisition, Spotify continues to deliver against its goal to become the world’s leading audio platform. The Ringer will bring to Spotify its industry leading sports and entertainment team, podcast catalog and website, further expanding Spotify’s content offering and audience reach. With its popular show lineup, The Ringer also offers new opportunities for monetization along with a continued focus on deepening audience engagement and innovating formats within Spotify’s business model. Not only has Simmons been a podcast pioneer in sports, he has also been a dominant force in the podcast pop culture arena.
“We look forward to putting the full power of Spotify behind The Ringer as they drive our global sports strategy,” said Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content Officer, Spotify. “As we set out to expand our sports and entertainment offerings, we wanted a best-in-class editorial team. Bill Simmons is one of the brightest minds in the game and he has successfully innovated as a writer and content creator across mediums and platforms. The Ringer’s proven track record of creating distinctive culture content as well as discovering and developing top tier talent will make them a formidable asset for Spotify.”
“Spotify has the unique ability to truly supercharge both content and creator talent across genres,” said Bill Simmons, The Ringer founder, and podcast host. “We spent the last few years building a world-class sports and pop culture multimedia digital company and believe Spotify can take us to another level. We couldn’t be more excited to unlock Spotify’s power of scale and discovery, introduce The Ringer to a new global audience and build the world’s flagship sports audio network. We’re joining one of the best media companies in the world. It’s an incredible day for us.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020 and subject to customary closing conditions.
Vox reported that Spotify is in conversations to buy The Ringer. It seems to me that Vox would likely have some insight on the situation. Vox owns Recode, which has a commercial relationship with The Ringer.
According to Vox, The Wall Street Journal was the first to report about Spotify being in talks to buy The Ringer. The Wall Street Journal reported that Spotify and The Ringer teamed up in September to launch a podcast hosted by Bill Simmons, The Hottest Take. That podcast streams exclusively on Spotify.
The Wall Street Journal described The Ringer this way:
The Ringer, a sports and pop-culture outlet founded by former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons in 2016, has a podcasting network that attracts more than 100 million downloads a month. In addition to “The Bill Simmons Podcast”, the Ringer produces “The Watch,” a discussion show about TV and pop-culture; “Binge Mode”, which dives deep into pop-culture franchises, and “The Rewatchables,” a show that breaks down popular movies.
Vulture points out that these talks are early, and states that there is a good amount of details that probably need to be ironed out if a deal is to materialize. In other words, it is probably best to wait and see what happens, rather than speculate that this is already a done deal.