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Spotify Parts Ways With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

“Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.”

Maddy Troy

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A photo of the Spotify logo

Archewell Audio — the podcast company featuring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which was part of their reported $20 million deal with Spotify in 2020 — will not be returning for a second season, despite discussions.

The show, hosted by Meghan Markle, focused on exploring labels that hindered women and featured notable guests such as Trevor Noah, Mariah Carey, Mindy Kaling, and Serena Williams.

In a joint statement released on Thursday, Spotify and Archewell Audio stated, “Spotify and Archewell Audio have mutually agreed to part ways and are proud of the series we made together.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are said to be reconsidering their partnerships and seeking new opportunities for their content. It is possible that Archetypes may find a new home elsewhere.

In late April, Meghan Markle signed with talent agency WME, which also represents Archewell, the couple’s content creation label. WME’s focus is on developing the duo’s film and TV productions, brand partnerships, and overall business ventures.

Archetypes made a strong debut on Spotify’s podcast charts in August, reaching the top position. It also received a People’s Choice Award and achieved international success upon its release.

The news of Spotify’s separation from the Sussexes comes in the wake of the company’s decision to lay off 200 employees, primarily audio engineers. This follows a previous round of staff reductions earlier in the year when 6% of Spotify’s workforce was let go.

One significant departure was Dawn Ostroff, a TV veteran and former head of Condé Nast Entertainment, who played a key role in securing high-profile talent deals for Spotify. During Ostroff’s tenure, Spotify invested over $1 billion in acquiring podcast assets and securing exclusive deals with talents like Joe Rogan and Dax Shepard.

Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, stated in late April that the company would be cautious in evaluating future podcasting investments as several talent deals approached renewal. Currently, talent-driven shows such as The Joe Rogan Experience, Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper, Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain, Distractible with Markiplier, and Armchair Expert are among Spotify’s top 25 chart-topping shows.

Although Spotify experienced significant user growth, adding an estimated 83 million monthly users worldwide in the fourth quarter of last year, the company also faced substantial losses.

In 2022, it reported a net loss of $470 million USD from revenues of $12.8 billion USD. Spotify’s monthly user count reached 515 million worldwide in 2023, a 22% increase from the previous year. This strong growth has resulted in a 44% increase in Spotify’s stock, reaching $152.18 million USD compared to a year ago.

The Wall Street Journal initially reported the news of the Sussexes’ departure from Spotify.

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Media Business

Warner Bros. Discovery Sees 14% Drop in Ad Revenue in Q4

“This business is not without its challenges.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of the Warner Bros. Discovery logo

Warner Bros. Discovery hosted its fourth-quarter earnings call Friday, and while the company reported hundreds of millions in losses, it was trying to view that as a positive.

The company reported a loss of $400 million, which is down sharply from the loss of $2.1 billion it experienced in the same time frame in 2022.

Additionally, Warner Bros. Discovery — the parent company of CNN — saw a 14% decline in advertising revenue during the final three months of 2023.

“This business is not without its challenges,” Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav said during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call, according to CNBC. “Among them, we continue to face the impacts of ongoing disruption in the pay TV ecosystem and a dislocated, linear advertising ecosystem. We are challenging our leaders to find innovative solutions.”

The comapny did report an 86% increase in free cash flow, which now sits at $6.16 billion.

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Media Business

Jeremy Boreing: Every Outlet ‘Suffering From Facebook’s Massive Shift Away From News’

“Mark Zuckerberg remade the news landscape when he moved his company into the space, and then gutted it when he moved out.”

Barrett News Media

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A photo of Jeremy Boreing
(Photo: The Daily Wire)

In recent years, Facebook has shifted its focus away from a news and link-sharing platform to become more focused on social interactions between users. That shift has been detrimental to news publishers, according to The Daily Wire co-founder Jeremy Boreing.

In a statement to Mediaite, the digital media executive wasn’t shy about his stance that the shift from Facebook has been detrimental not only to his organization but to the industry as a whole.

“Everyone is suffering from Facebook’s massive shift away from news. Mark Zuckerberg remade the news landscape when he moved his company into the space, and then gutted it when he moved out,” Boreing said. “A capricious trillion dollar company can crush entire industries without much effort. Daily Wire is disproportionately impacted because we were built with a focus on Facebook. Now, our focus has shifted to more premium content.”

The comments from Jeremy Boreing coincide with a report that conservative digital outlets have seen a dramatic drop in viewership, especially compared to figures seen in 2020. One outlet — Breitbart — has seen a drop in traffic of 87% compared to the tumultuous 2020 year that included the start and heights of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a contentious presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

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Media Business

Court Approves Audacy Reorganization Plan

“We have achieved a speedy confirmation of our prepackaged Plan, which will enable Audacy to pursue our strategic goals and opportunities in the dynamic audio business.”

Barrett News Media

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Audacy Logo

A United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas has approved a plan for Audacy to reemerge from its bankruptcy proceedings.

Under the plan, Audacy will equitize more than $1.5 billion of funded debt, which reduces its debt load by 80%, down from $1.9 billion to $350 million.

Audacy Chairman David Field was encouraged by the development.

“Today’s announcement marks a powerful step forward for Audacy, positioning the Company for an exciting future,” said David Field, who also serves as the President and CEO of Audacy. “As expected, we have achieved a speedy confirmation of our prepackaged Plan, which will enable Audacy to pursue our strategic goals and opportunities in the dynamic audio business.

“We aim to drive accelerated growth and financial performance, capitalizing on our scaled, leadership position, our uniquely differentiated premium audio content and the robust capital structure that we will have upon emergence,” continued Field. “I also want to express my gratitude to our team, who continue their outstanding work to serve our listeners and customers with excellence and fulfill our commitments without missing a beat.” 

A statement from the company claims the restructuring “will enable Audacy to continue its strategic digital transformation and capitalize on its position as a scaled, leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company differentiated by its exclusive, premium audio content.”

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