Luminary Media is launching later this year as a premium podcast service, where users pay monthly for exclusive content, ad-free.
Today, it announced a line-up of over 40 exclusive series, with new shows from big names like Trevor Noah, Guy Raz, Lena Dunham, Bill Simmons’ The Ringer and Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg’s Pushkin Industries.
The company says it will launch in the first half of 2019 with over 1,000 hours of content across news, politics, comedy, true crime, sports, pop culture and scripted fiction. The exclusive shows will be available to premium subscribers, paying $7.99 a month after a one-month free trial period.
“Our model has targeted the two biggest opportunities for podcasts: a sustainable content funding model through subscription and the value of technology investment for listeners,” stated Luminary CEO Matt Sacks.
The company also touts its content discovery and management features.
Other original shows launching on Luminary include “Anthem: Homunculus” from John Cameron Mitchell, Bryan Weller and Topic Studios, featuring 31 original songs performed by 40 actors.Luminary will be the new home for existing podcasts as well, including “Under the Skin” with Russell Brand, “IAMRAPAPORT,” “Love and Radio,” “Note to Self,” “Handsome Rambler” with Hannibal Buress and “Guys We F****d.”
“We want to become synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming,” Sacks told The New York Times. “I know how ambitious that sounds. We think it can be done, and some of the top creators in the space agree.”
Luminary has 70 employees in New York and Chicago, and $100 million in funding, according to The New York Times.
By next year, annual podcast ad revenue will reach $659 million, according to an IAB forecast.
Last month, Spotify paid about $337 million for podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor FM, signaling the streaming giant sees podcasts as an industry with significant growth potential.
Spotify also offers exclusive podcast shows from celebrity comedians like Amy Schumer and a premium version of the streaming platform for $10 a month.
Luminary will provide a space in the app for listeners to access any free podcast available — with ads, making it a potential direct competitor of podcast apps from Apple and Google.
Luminary is offering a pre-sale program today, giving early subscribers the chance to win events and experiences with Luminary podcast creators.The Luminary app will be available to download on Apple and Android devices and through the Luminary website later this year, in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.