EXCLUSIVE: Criminal Productions, the burgeoning podcast studio founded by Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer, has been acquired by Vox Media.
This is the latest major acquisition in the audio space and follows Amazon’s purchase of Wondery, a slew of deals for Spotify, and the New York Times Company’s acquisition of Serial Productions.
Vox Media, which owns publications such as New York Magazine, Eater, Recode and Vox, has expanded its podcast business with the acquisition of Preet Bharara’s Cafe Studios, and sales and distribution partnerships with The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway, Longform, Gastropod and Waveform: The MKBHD Podcast.
Criminal Productions is the source of successful podcasts Criminal is love and Phoebe reads a mystery. The company was started in 2013 by Judge and Spohrer, who previously worked together at the public radio station WUNC.
Criminal, which features ending episodes lasting up to 30 minutes, tells stories of people doing wrong, being wronged, or getting caught somewhere in the middle, while It’s love investigates life’s most enduring mystery.
The deal will allow Criminal Productions to double its workforce, expand Criminal into a weekly show, and launch a range of new serial shows. The company will also look to expand franchises beyond podcasting, potentially including subscription products, additional investments in live events, and intellectual property development. Both shows are in development on the television side.
Vox Media Podcast Network will handle advertising sales of podcasts from January, switching from PRX’s Radiotopia podcast network.
“Having produced these shows independently for the past seven years, we are delighted to join Vox Media’s talented team of journalists and podcasts. This new chapter provides us with an ideal home to develop Criminal, launch new shows and bring even more stories to our listeners, ”said Phoebe Judge.
“Criminal broke new ground in the arts when it launched, and Phoebe and Lauren have made it an impressive company. As a long-time admirer of their work, I am excited to see how we can take it to the next level as part of VMPN, while also expanding the reach of the network to new genres, ”added Marty Moe, President of Vox Media Studios.
AGM Securities, a subsidiary of United Talent Agency, advised Phoebe Judge and Lauren Spohrer and Criminal Productions, while Sklar Kirsh served as legal counsel to Criminal Productions. Arent Fox was an external legal advisor for Vox Media.