Alex Cooper Goes For Gold 🥇

The podcast creator and entrepreneur heads to the Olympics

Good morning. To celebrate becoming the world’s most-subscribed YouTube channel, MrBeast invited 50 creators (including Logan Paul, Valkyrae, and Marques Brownlee) to compete in a series of challenges for $1,000,000. Yesterday, MrBeast revealed that the ensuing video is dropping on Saturday—is it too early to find an optimal viewing sofa and start popping the popcorn?

Catching Up on Alex Cooper

Alex Cooper (left) appears on NBC’s “TODAY” to announce her upcoming show “Watch With Alex Cooper” (right) / TODAY

Alex Cooper, the creator of the Call Her Daddy (CHD) podcast and founder of the Unwell Network, is taking the global stage in her latest role: host for NBC’s coverage of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

How she got here →

  • In 2018, Cooper launched sex- and relationships-focused CHD under Barstool Sports and grew it to become one of the most-listened to podcasts on Apple and Spotify.

  • In 2021, she inked an exclusive three-year, $60 million deal with Spotify. As the show grew, Cooper evolved CHD into an interview-style format covering subjects like politics and women’s empowerment. 

  • Last summer, Cooper launched media brand Trending and talent management company Unwell, signing creators like Alix Earle and Madeline Argy. 

Which brings us to now: Cooper will host Watch With Alex Cooper on Peacock (NBC’s streaming platform), where she’ll be joined by celebrity guests to commentate live on the games. NBC Olympic Executive Producer & President Molly Solomon told the Washington Post that the “fit was obvious” given that both Cooper’s audience and the bulk of Olympics viewers are primarily women. 

“We know that women in their 20s are watching less television, and they’re on their phones and on social media and listening to podcasts.” Solomon said, “How do we convert them into Olympic fans?” That’s where Cooper (who has sports cred of her own as a former college soccer player and the daughter of a TV sports producer) steps in.

Zoom out: Now that Cooper’s exclusivity with Spotify has ended, she’s making plans to build an empire—both for herself and her brands. In the last two weeks, Cooper hosted (and sold out) an event with the Boston Red Sox and signed two new Unwell creators—lifestyle creator Hallie Batchelder and comedian Owen Thiele. The WSJ reported Cooper’s also looking to land a $100 million podcast distribution deal with another platform.

Spotify Adds Podcast Comments to Keep Pace With YouTube

YouTube tops podcast streaming platforms while competitor Spotify invests in video / Illustration by Moy Zhong

YouTube is now the most popular platform for podcast consumption in the US—topping Spotify and Apple by a wide margin, according to a new report from Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights.

  • As recently as 2021, YouTube was in third place behind its two main audio streaming peers.

  • 31% of podcast listeners now say they use YouTube the most, followed by Spotify (21%) and Apple (12%).

So how’s the competition responding? Spotify is doubling down on video and (as of yesterday) adding comments to podcasts.

  • Podcast creators are increasingly uploading video to Spotify since the multimedia feature went live in 2022. The company told TechCrunch last month that it had passed 250,000 video shows, up from 100,000 in 2023.

  • The rollout of comments (which creators can approve, like, and respond to) is intended to help “podcasters and their fans…connect on an even deeper level,” Spotify said in a statement.

Big picture: YouTube’s podcasting dominance (and Spotify’s new features) come as trends in podcast consumption have shifted. In the final quarter of 2023, 16 of the top 30 podcasts in the world offered video—up from just seven in 2021, according to The New York Times.

A Creator Exodus for Auto YouTube

Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips (left) shares his take on Donut’s acquisition / LMG Clips

The YouTube auto community is getting its own BuzzFeed moment—with a handful of “why I left” videos from creators who previously worked at channels including Donut and Hoonigan. 

A common thread: Both Donut and Hoonigan were acquired by larger companies in 2021. Some creators have noted that those deals brought about significant changes.

Here’s what creators are saying →

“Donut was the case of corporate acquisition not being the end of the channel that I thought about when thinking to accept [a sale of Linus Tech Tips],” tech creator Linus Sebastian said in a video. “Maybe it’s not possible for a channel to keep its soul [after acquisition].”

“Being on the internet is all about listening to your audience, making sure they got what they came for, and taking care of the people you work with,” Car creator Alanis King said in a video. “Brands like Donut and Hoonigan…can reignite an audience by revamping things and giving them something special.”

“The expectations are the highest they’ve ever been for ‘Car YouTube,’” auto creator David Patterson said in a video. “I think a lot of people don’t realize how expensive it is to build cars. Investment lets you expand your team, but it can just keep going…A lot of big corporations can’t do [the YouTube] formula, and that’s scary when you have mouths to feed.”

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