Since August 2018, in addition to keeping more than 270 million monthly active users dancing to their favorite music, Dawn Ostroff’s most important task has been shaping Spotify’s content strategy as Chief Content Officer. Judging by Spotify’s most recent deals (and the over 700,000 shows available to users as we speak), podcasts are a key component to reaching those goals. Read on to learn more about Ostroff, her vision at Spotify and why you don’t want to miss her keynote at OMR20 this May 13.
Dawn Ostroff’s career began as a teenager pulling the graveyard shift at a local Miami radio station. She then climbed the ranks in the TV and film business and went on to run multiple television networks and the digital content operation at Conde Nast Four decades on, however, and she’s still got a passion for audio—and aims to connect the next generations of creators and audiences on Spotify.
700,000 Podcasts and growing
Since she joined Spotify, the platform has made a big investment in podcasts. In February 2019, there were 185,000 pods available on the platform. Today, that number has exploded by nearly 400% to over 700,000. She told the LA Times that “the amount of content that we can make is endless. Seeing how many of the existing talents in the Hollywood community and the news community are interested in migrating toward this new medium, it really makes it a lot easier.”
Between late 2018 to late 2019, Spotify says the amount of time users spend on the platform consuming podcasts jumped by 200%. In its financial statement for Q4 2019, Spotify clearly lays out why podcasts are so highly thought of by the company. “We have a growing body of evidence showing that there are significant benefits to engagement, retention, and conversion of users from Ad-Supported to Premium stemming from consumption of Podcast content,” the report states. Spotify is also planning on releasing additional exclusive shows in international markets. This strategy, which focuses on in-house productions, is similar to the successful strategy Netflix employs with video.
The boldest audio company on the planet
Ostroff is playing a key role in expanding Spotify’s podcast offering through building a multi-country global studios operation as well as a series of deals that have made international headlines. In 2019—shortly after joining Spotify—the company acquired ”Gimlet Media” and podcast software provider “Anchor” for a reported USD 340 million; the acquisition of podcast studio “Parcast” for USD 56m followed a short time later. And just a couple of weeks ago Spotify was back in the news with its acquisition of “The Ringer,” an LA-based culture publisher that produces over 40 podcasts in addition to its own website.
Taken together, Spotify has spent over half a billion US on podcasts with Ostroff at the helm of content. One more feather in her cap: she landed an exclusive podcast deal with President Barack and Michelle Obama. Higher Ground, the Obamas’ production company, will develop a variety of shows for Spotify—some of which will feature the pair. No wonder then that founder Daniel Ek hopes users spend 20% of their time on Spotify consuming podcasts.
You can see Dawn Ostroff live on stage in Europe for the first time at the OMR Festival 2020 this May.
Something special brewing and Europe’s biggest TikTokers
In addition to Dawn Ostroff, we’ve got a couple of other names to announce today—and don’t forget to take a closer look at our Speaker page. We’re very excited to announce that co-founder and CEO of “The Morning Brew,” Alex Liebermann is coming to OMR20. Alex has been the driving force in amassing more than 1.7 million subscribers to a tech newsletter. At OMR, he’ll divulge concrete details on the clever growth levers that helped expand the company’s reach.
Sky & Tami—Europe’s biggest TikTokers—are in an entirely different league when it comes to reach. Their international backgrounds (she’s Japanese, he’s originally from Ukraine and grew up in Argentina; today they live in Spain) has helped propel them to 12.9 million followers and more than 3 billion views on their dance and comedy videos. The pair has already worked with major brands including BMW and NIKE. At OMR20, they’ll talk about how TikTok works and which tips and tricks they have for generating reach on the world’s hottest platform.