×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Podcast Platform Himalaya Raises $100 Million, Launches Apps With Tipping Function

San Francisco-based podcasting startup Himalaya Media has raised $100 million in funding to establish itself as a new force in the podcast distribution space. The company has launched apps for Android and iOS, and is getting ready to roll out a series of exclusive shows.

Himalaya’s main investor is Ximalaya, China’s biggest spoken word audio platform. Other investors include General Atlantic and SIG. Himalaya has also struck content partnerships with the Dallas Mavericks, Starburns Industries and Studio71.

Some of the original shows scheduled to debut on the platform include a podcast by “Vanderpump Rules” star James Kennedy, a weekly food podcast hosted by Atlanta-based celebrity chef Hugh Acheson and a show starring OZY’s editor-at-large Eugene S. Robinson. Himalaya is also working on a podcast from Mavericks player Luka Doncic.

Himalaya is distributing these shows via its website as well as Android and iOS apps, which also offer access to a catalog of some 20 million syndicated podcast episodes. “Himalaya seeks to be the cleanest, most intuitive app that also does the most for its partners and the community, said the company’s vice president of global partnerships and marketing Peter Vincer.

News of Himalaya’s launch comes just as Spotify is doubling down on podcasts: Earlier on Wednesday, the streaming music service announced that it has acquired podcast studio Gimlet Media and podcast monetization startup Anchor.

One of the differentiators that Himalaya wants to use to attract podcasters to its platform is a tipping feature that allows fans to support their favorite shows with micro-payments.

Over time, Himalaya is also looking to add paid content to its app. “The U.S. market has shown that it can support paid content and other large international markets have developed models even stronger in premium,” Vincer said. “We see potential in the future to add greater in-app premium capabilities, and we are strategically planning for this future.”

One service Himalaya may take inspiration from for such premium content plans is Ximalaya FM. Run by Himalaya’s biggest investor, Ximalaya FM has become the largest spoken word audio sharing service in China, with a self-reported 400 million app downloads.

The two companies appear closely linked, but Vincer was quick to declare independence when asked about the relationship between the two companies this week. “We have access to the expertise and resources of Ximalaya, but are lucky and thankful to operate with an independent vision and unique goals,” he said.

Setting up Himalaya as an independent entity may have been a strategic decision in light of the current tension between the U.S. and China, as well as the constraints a spoken word platform operates under in that country. The setup also helps to ensure that Himalaya isn’t associated with some of Ximalaya’s more peculiar efforts: Last year, the Chinese company launched a dedicated version of its smart speaker for members of the Chinese communist party.

More Digital

  • hdhomerun roku app

    HDHomerun App Brings Live TV to Roku Devices

    Roku users are getting another way to watch live television with the help of their favorite streaming devices: Silicondust, maker of the HDHomerun TV tuners, has released a beta version of its HDHomerun app for Roku TVs and streaming devices. “We need to start out by saying this is very much a beta product,” the [...]

  • Vox Media

    Vox Media Staff Ratifies First Union Contract, Negotiated by Writers Guild

    Staffers at Vox Media, which includes Curbed, Eater, Polygon, Recode, SB Nation, The Verge and Vox.com, have ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with more than 90% in support. The staffers are represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Vox Media’s 350-member unit began bargaining their first contract in April 2018. The campaign to [...]

  • Joslyn Davis, Lily-Marston - Shared Media

    Clevver’s Joslyn Davis, Lily Marston Launch Their Own YouTube Media Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Here’s the latest chapter in the saga of Clevver, the entertainment/lifestyle YouTube network marooned by the shuttering of former parent Defy Media and subsequently snapped up by Hearst Magazines. Two of the principal creatives behind Clevver — Joslyn Davis and Lily Marston — together with Clevver Media co-founder Jorge Maldonado have launched Shared Media, their [...]

  • Money-Diaries-Refinery29

    Refinery29 to Produce Interactive Series Funded by Eko (EXCLUSIVE)

    Refinery29 has been bitten by the “Bandersnatch” bug. The millennial-female-focused digital media and entertainment company inked a pact with Eko, an interactive-video platform developer whose backers include Walmart, to produce several “choose-your-own-adventure”-style series based on Refinery29 content properties. The companies have started development on their first project: an interactive scripted adaptation of Refinery29’s popular “Money [...]

  • Dan Howell

    YouTube Star Dan Howell Comes Out as Gay: 'It Gets So Much Better'

    It’s Pride Month, and popular YouTube vlogger Dan Howell had a message for fans that he’d been working on for a year: “Basically, I’m Gay,” he shared in a video Thursday. In the 45-minute video, Howell discussed coming to terms with his sexual orientation and his thoughts on labels that people use to define themselves [...]

  • Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment

    Netflix Expands Korean Content Commitment as Industry Deepens

    Global streaming giant, Netflix is expanding its involvement in the Korean film and TV industries by greenlighting several new shows and renewing others. “When we started three years ago, we had a high degree of confidence that Korean drama would work well in Asia, but we had no internal metrics of our own,” Korean content [...]

  • Instagram Logo

    Instagram Outage: Facebook’s Photo Sharing Service Went Down For Multiple Hours

    Instagram faced another major outage Thursday afternoon, with users from around the world reporting that they weren’t able to access Facebook’s photo sharing service via its app and website. An Instagram spokesperson told Variety around 5pm PT that the issue had been resolved: “Earlier today, a technical issue caused some people to have trouble accessing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content