Fox Backs Wondery Podcast Network Launched By Former Exec Hernan Lopez

Hernan Lopez, former CEO of Fox International Channels, is launching the podcast network Wondery that has received an investment from 20th Century Fox.

Lopez’s goal is to turn Wondery into a hub for curating existing podcasts in addition to creating new titles. He’s calling it an audio on-demand network focused on mobile users, building on the fact that many people listen to podcasts on their smartphones while on the move.

“Hernan has an exceptional understanding of the ways in which new technologies allow companies to build media brands on a global scale, and we look forward to his success with this new venture,” said Fox Networks Group chairman-CEO Peter Rice.

Wondery has teamed with San Francisco-based ART19 tech firm to help with distribution infrastructure and dynamic ad insertion across multiple podcasts.

“Monetization in podcasting has been held up by antiquated technology,” said ART19 CEO Sean Carr. “With targeting, measurement and back catalog advertising, our technology will provide Wondery with the tools it needs to sell to major brands.”

Lopez earlier this week exited Fox as CEO of Fox International Channels. He spent nearly 20 years at Fox, rising through its international TV ranks. But he began his career in radio and has been fascinated by the growth and diversity of podcast offerings in recent years.

Wondery is designed to become a network that offers an umbrella brand, technological and administrative support and a desirable demographic profile for its podcast partners.

“Creating a network of audio on demand gives you the same advantage as a (TV) network brand,” Lopez told Variety. “We’ll be able to sell more shows to advertisers and to make who come for one podcast aware of others. It is the perfect time for a new company to enter this space.”

The Los Angeles-based Wondery will launch its website next week with the goal of offering its first curated podcasts by the spring.

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