Luminary officially launched today with a big bet — that you will pay for podcasts.
The paid podcasting app is already backed by $100M in venture funding pre-launch, claiming to bring “Netflix for podcasts” to the public. Starting today, Luminary will offer both a paid and free tier. The free tier will include many publicly available shows. The paid tier will give users access to 40 new exclusive podcasts, including new shows from personalities like How I Built This host Guy Raz, Daily Show host Trevor Noah, Girls creator Lena Dunham, Queer Eye's Karamo Brown and Planet Money's Adam Davidson.
However, Luminary's platform will be missing some of the biggest shows in the industry, including The New York Times' The Daily and Gimlet Media's Reply All.
To be sure, Luminary's model is like Netflix. A paid subscription will run you $8/month and the exclusive content will be ad-free. But what Luminary is really betting on is that you will pay for premium audio content. 💸
It's worth noting that Spotify is also taking a big bet on premium content, having just acquired Gimlet Media and Anchor for high-quality, proprietary shows to level up again Apple. Apple is the current market leader in podcasts.
Will Luminary — a late player in the podcasting world — be competitive with Spotify and Apple? 🤔
Based on existing streaming services, the current market indicates that arriving first gives a big advantage. As of November, Netflix reported 137 million subscribers, far beyond Hulu's reported 20 million subscribers. However, Amazon Prime (which includes Prime Video) has over 100M subscribers from its integrated services, making it somewhat of a close competitor to Netflix.
Something else worth noting: TV streaming services are starting to partner with audio streaming services. Earlier this month, Hulu and Spotify expanded their partnership to offer unlimited access to both services for $12.99/month.
A winning strategy for Luminary could look something like this — especially if it partnered with, say, Netflix.
One more thing: The podcast business in China is 23x more valuable than it is in the U.S. because of paid subscriptions, so Luminary could be onto something.
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