Pandora Picks Up “Serial,” “This American Life” With Streaming Exclusive

Pandora is going to be the exclusive streaming partner for season 2 of “Serial,” the Peabody Award-winning podcasting phenomenon.  Pandora will feature new episodes of the show every Thursday morning once season 2 officially launches, but the exact launch date has yet to be announced.

Pandora will also add season 1 of Serial to its service later this month, and start to stream new episodes of “This American Life” in early 2016. “Serial” and “This American Life” hope to find new audiences with the Pandora partnership, said “This American Life” host Ira Glass: “‘Serial’ is the biggest podcast in the world, but only 17% of Americans listen to podcasts at all. That’s why it’s so exciting for us to work with Pandora.”

“Serial” and “This American Life” will continue to be available as podcasts, and the latter is obviously also still airing on public radio stations across the country. in fact, one could argue that the exclusivity of the streaming partnership only exists on paper: Many podcasting apps stream shows offer the option to stream podcasts these days, as the lines between downloads and streams continue to blur.

However, for Pandora, getting these two marquee podcasts likely is as much about blocking other streaming services from striking similar deals as it is about growing its audience. Google Play Music, Rdio, TuneIn and others recently have made inroads into non-music content by adding podcasts and live radio programming to their apps and services. By locking up two of the most popular podcasts, Pandora is making sure that it’s not left behind.

The move should also help the company with investors, who have grown impatient with Pandora’s continuing losses. Pandora’s latest lackluster earnings report resulted in a massive sell-off last week, causing its stock to crash around 40 percent. Upon Monday’s news, Pandora’s stock regained around 4.5 percent.

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