Gimlet Media

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Gimlet Media
FoundersAlex Blumberg
Matthew Lieber
HeadquartersNew York, New York, United States
Key people
Alex Blumberg (CEO)
Matthew Lieber (President)
Reply All
Surprisingly Awesome
Science Vs
The Pitch
Mystery Show
Twice Removed
Every Little Thing
The Nod
Number of employees
73 (July 2017)[1]

Gimlet Media is a digital media company and podcast network, focused on producing narrative podcasts, founded by Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber, who serve as the company's CEO and president respectively. Gimlet is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.[2]

History[edit | edit source]

Gimlet was founded in August 2014 with the launch of its flagship podcast StartUp hosted by Alex Blumberg. Originally billed as the American Podcasting Corporation (APC), Blumberg was eventually convinced to change the company's name. After working with Lexicon Branding, Blumberg and Lieber chose the name Gimlet Media for the venture.[3]

The company raised $1.5 million in seed funding at a $10 million valuation.[4] After raising most of its initial capital from investment firms Betaworks, Lowercase Capital, and Knight Enterprise Fund, Gimlet invited the listeners of its shows to help raise the last $200,000 through crowdfunding platform Quire.[5] The company was estimated to bring in $2 million in advertising revenue in 2015.[6] In December 2015, Gimlet closed a Series A round of funding that raised $6 million at a $30 million valuation.[7]

In July 2015, Gimlet announced it would add the option to pay for membership, a decision motivated by a desire to diversify revenue streams to include more than advertising. Members were given early access to pilots for new Gimlet shows, a Gimlet t-shirt, and access to the company's Slack channel.[8] Gimlet then hired Blumberg's spouse and former Rachel Maddow Show producer Nazanin Rafsanjani to explore other ways to diversify the company's revenue.[5] Rafsanjani spearheads Gimlet Creative, a wing of the company that "creates highly produced narrative audio in partnership with brands."[9]

On August 2, 2017, Gimlet announced it closed a $15 million Series B investment round, led by Stripes Group.[10] Emerson Collective, Graham Holdings, Betaworks, and Cross Culture Investors also contributed to the round.[11]

In September, 2017, British advertising firm WPP announced it was investing $5 million in Gimlet for a minority stake in the company.[12][13]

Even as several of Gimlet's programs make the jump to film and television, the founders remain committed to growing the podcasting medium. Co-founder Lieber says, "We want to build the HBO of audio."[14]

People[edit | edit source]

Alex Blumberg, an award-winning radio journalist, producer for This American Life, and co-founder of Planet Money, came up with the idea of a for-profit podcast network after the success of a t-shirt fundraising campaign for Planet Money. He chose to document the foundation of Gimlet in the first season of StartUp, the company's first show.

Gimlet's co-founder, Matthew Lieber, holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, is a former radio producer at WNYC, and worked as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group.

Timeline of shows[edit | edit source]

Current shows[edit | edit source]

Title Host(s) / Cast Genre Debut
StartUp[15] Alex Blumberg (Season 1−) and Lisa Chow (Season 2−) Business documentary April 8, 2014
Reply All[16] PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman Internet culture November 23, 2014
Science Vs[17] Wendy Zukerman Science July 28, 2016[18]*
Heavyweight[19] Jonathan Goldstein Documentary September 23, 2016[20]
Homecoming[21] Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, David Schwimmer Radio drama November 16, 2016'[21]
Crimetown[21] Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier Documentary November 20, 2016'[21]
Every Little Thing[22] Flora Lichtman Documentary April 17, 2017[23]
Mogul[24] Reggie Osse Documentary April 27, 2017[24]
The Pitch[25] Josh Muccio Business Documentary June 14, 2017[26]**
The Nod[27] Brittany Luse & Eric Eddings Culture July 17, 2017[27]
Uncivil Jack Hitt and Chenjerai Kumanyika History October 4, 2017[28]

* Science Vs was originally launched and produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as part of ABC Radio's First Run digital-first podcast program, before Gimlet announced in October 2015 the podcast was moving to and relaunching on their network in 2016.

**The Pitch was originally launched as an independent podcast in July 2015 and joined Gimlet in 2017.

StartUp[edit | edit source]

StartUp's first episode aired on September 5, 2014, and was hosted by Alex Blumberg. Through documentary-style storytelling, the podcast shares Blumberg's experience building Gimlet Media from an idea through to a startup business. In episode 12 of season 1, Blumberg announced his new co-host, Lisa Chow.

The second season of StartUp focused on online dating company Dating Ring.[29] Dating Ring differentiates itself from other dating companies by offering access to offline matchmakers, as opposed to purely algorithm based date-generating.[30] The company was incubated at Y Combinator.[2] The second season explored the difficulties of gaining success in the competitive online dating market, as well as the sexism ingrained in Silicon Valley culture.[31] The third season changed the format, exploring a different business every episode, while the fourth season focused on American Apparel founder Dov Charney.[21] Seasons five and six both focus on a variety of businesses in various stages.[15]

Reply All[edit | edit source]

On November 24, 2014, Gimlet's second show, Reply All, made its debut. The show is billed as "a show about the internet," and is hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. Vogt and Goldman previously worked on WNYC's On The Media before creating and hosting the technology and culture podcast TLDR.[32]

In February, 2017, Variety reported that Richard Linklater will direct a movie based on the Reply All episode "Man of the People."[33] The film, which as of August, 2017, remains untitled, will star Robert Downey Jr. as John Brinkley, and will be produced by Annapurna Pictures and Team Downey.[34][35] In addition to Linklater and Downey, three members of the Reply All team are signed on as co-producers, including PJ Vogt, Tim Howard, and Chris Giliberti.[36]

Science Vs[edit | edit source]

In October 2015, it was announced that the podcast "Science Vs" hosted by Australian science journalist Wendy Zukerman would move to Gimlet Media[37][38] after previously having a season of the show produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) as part of ABC Radio's First Run digital-first podcast program.[39][40]

The program dissects fads that are framed as scientific facts. The second season started on July 28, 2016.[18]

Heavyweight[edit | edit source]

In September 2016, Gimlet released the first episode of the podcast Heavyweight with Jonathan Goldstein. The company describes the format as stories "about journeying back to the moment when everything went wrong."[19]

A second season of Heavyweight began on October 26, 2017.[41]

Homecoming[edit | edit source]

Homecoming, announced in November 2016, is Gimlet's first fictional podcast. It is a psychological thriller starring Catherine Keener, David Schwimmer and Oscar Isaac.[21][42]

In December, 2016, Universal Cable Productions purchased the rights to produce Homecoming as a TV series.[43] Amazon gave the show a two-season order. In July, 2017, Variety reported that Julia Roberts was set to star in the series, replacing Keener’s role from the podcast.[42][44] Sam Esmail, who created Mr. Robot, will produce, direct, and write the show. The podcast's original staff, including Eli Horowitz and Micah Bloomberg, as well as other Gimlet staff members, will assist in writing and producing the show.[45][46]

Season two of Homecoming began on July 19, 2017, and ran for six episodes.[47]

Crimetown[edit | edit source]

The third new series in Gimlet's line-up for the fall of 2016 is a documentary series "centered on organized crime," with the first season focusing on Providence, Rhode Island.[21] The show is hosted by Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier. The two previously worked together on the HBO documentary series The Jinx, and the documentary film Catfish.[48]

Every Little Thing[edit | edit source]

Every Little Thing premiered on April 17, 2017 as the successor to Surprisingly Awesome.[23] In finding a new host in former Science Friday producer Flora Lichtman, Gimlet decided that what they were creating was "a whole new thing" and decided to change the show's name to reflect that.

Mogul[edit | edit source]

Mogul is produced by Gimlet in collaboration with Loud Speakers Network and premiered on Spotify on April 27, 2017 with a general release via other channels on June 16, 2017. The series is a six-episode documentary podcast that tells the story of Violator's Chris Lighty and his career as a music executive.[49]

The Pitch[edit | edit source]

In June 2017 it was announced that the podcast "The Pitch" hosted by Josh Muccio would move to Gimlet Media[26] after previously being produced independently.

The program features entrepreneurs in need of venture funding as they pitch to a live panel of angel investors, similar to ABC's hit TV series Shark Tank.[50]

The Nod[edit | edit source]

The Nod is a culture podcast designed to "gleefully explore all the beautiful, complicated dimensions of Black life." Anchored by Mogul producer Eric Eddings and former Sampler host Brittany Luse,The Nod premiered in July 2017, supplanting their former self-produced For Colored Nerds podcast.[51]

Uncivil[edit | edit source]

Hosted by journalists Jack Hitt and Chenjerai Kumanyika, Uncivil confronts the official version of the Civil War with previously-untold stories about covert operations, corruption, resistance, mutiny, counterfeiting, and more, looking to trace their effect to the modern political climate.[28] The show debuted on October 4, 2017.

Former shows[edit | edit source]

Title Host(s) Genre Debut Last Episode
Mystery Show[52] Starlee Kine Mystery May 22, 2015 July 31, 2015
Sampler[53] Brittany Luse Podcasts January 20, 2016 October 17, 2016
Undone[21] Pat Walters Documentary November 14, 2016[21] January 23, 2017
Surprisingly Awesome[54] Adam Davidson and Adam McKay (2015-2016)
Rachel Ward (2016)
Documentary November 3, 2015 April 12, 2017
Twice Removed[55] A. J. Jacobs Genealogy December 16, 2016[55] June 16, 2017

Mystery Show[edit | edit source]

Mystery Show, Gimlet's third show, was launched on May 22, 2015.[56] The show featured host Starlee Kine solving mysteries that could not be solved by using the Internet, brought to her by listeners and friends.[57] The mysteries tended to deal with missing objects, people, or other day-to-day questions.[58][59][60][61]

The final episode of Mystery Show's first season was released in July 2015. On October 6, 2016, Alex Blumberg announced on an episode of StartUp that Mystery Show had been canceled.

Sampler[edit | edit source]

In January 2016, Gimlet launched the podcast Sampler, hosted by Brittany Luse, which, according to the producers, was "devoted to bringing you the best moments from the world of podcasting" by presenting excerpts from other, non-Gimlet podcasts and interviewing their makers.[62] On October 17, 2016, Blumberg and Luse announced on the Sampler season finale that the podcast had been canceled.

Undone[edit | edit source]

In November 2016, Gimlet described their new documentary series Undone as a show about "the things that happened when you weren't looking."[21] It was hosted by Pat Walters who'd previously been a producer for Radiolab. For the show's season finale, Walters announced that Undone would not be returning for another season.

Surprisingly Awesome[edit | edit source]

Gimlet launched Surprisingly Awesome, originally featuring Adam Davidson and Adam McKay, on November 3, 2015.[63] Producer Rachel Ward filled in for Davidson or McKay throughout season 1 when one or both were unavailable. On October 5, 2016, Ward announced at the beginning of season 1 episode 22 that Davidson and McKay had left the podcast. In episode 23 on January 19, 2017, Ward announced that she would be moving on to another Gimlet project and the show was then replaced by Flora Lichtman's Every Little Thing.

The premise of the show was to take seemingly uninteresting topics and, by exploring their stories, show that they are actually of interest.

Twice Removed[edit | edit source]

Twice Removed was Gimlet's first family history podcast, which aimed to prove "we're one big family." The show was announced on December 5, with the first season debuting on December 16, 2016.[55] Featured individuals included Abbi Jacobson of Broad City, Ted Allen of the Food Network and writer Dan Savage.[64] On June 16, 2017, Gimlet announced that no new episodes would be produced beyond a series finale released that same day.[65]

Gimlet Creative[edit | edit source]

In 2016, Gimlet launched Gimlet Creative, the company's branded podcast division. Gimlet Creative works with sponsors to create podcasts that are then released under Gimlet Creative's channel, with a clear distinction drawn to separate from the company's editorial and journalism shows. This team is headed by creative director Nazanin Rafsanjani. Branded podcasts from Gimlet Creative include:

In addition to individual shows, Gimlet Creative also produces the ads featured on other Gimlet podcasts.[71]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "StartUp Podcast by Gimlet Media on Apple Podcasts". Apple Podcasts. Retrieved 25 October 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bloomgarden-Smoke, Kara (2 February 2015). "Can Former Planet Money Host Build the 'HBO of Podcasts'?". New York Observer. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  3. Documenting the Journey From Public Radio to Start-Up Owner - Eilene Zimmerman, The New York Times, December 9, 2014
  4. Manjoo, Farhad (17 June 2015). "Podcasting Blossoms, but in Slow Motion". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Zinsli, Christopher (11 November 2014). "'This American Life' Producer Raises $1.5 Million for Podcast Startup Gimlet". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  6. Bond, Shannon (22 July 2015). "Scripps deal tunes in to podcast growth". The Financial Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  7. Quah, Nicholas (8 Dec 2015). "Hot Pod: Panoply's parent company takes a stake in Gimlet Media". Nieman Lab. Retrieved 8 Dec 2015. 
  8. "Gimlet Media's latest membership perk? A Slack channel for die-hards". Poynter. 2016-08-23. Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Mullin, Benjamin (20 June 2016). "Gimlet Creative, an early entrant to branded podcasting, is now open for business". Poynter. 
  10. Heater, Brian. "Podcast network Gimlet Media scores $15 million in funding | TechCrunch". Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  11. Kafka, Peter (2017-08-02). "VCs don't love podcasting, but Gimlet Media has raised another $15 million anyway". Recode. Retrieved 2017-08-03. 
  12. "WPP takes minority stake in US podcasting group Gimlet Media". BOLSAMANIA. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  13. "Podcast network Gimlet Media has raised another $5 million — this time from ad giant WPP". Recode. Retrieved 2017-09-16. 
  14. Spangler, Todd (2017-10-06). "Brooklyn Podcast Company Gimlet Media Wants to Become HBO of Audio". Variety. Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 "Gimlet Media » StartUp". Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
  16. "Gimlet Media » Reply All". Retrieved 15 November 2015. 
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  18. 18.0 18.1 "Sneak Preview". Gimlet Media. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016. 
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  20. "Gimlet Media » Heavyweight » Episode 1". Retrieved 27 September 2016. 
  21. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 "Gimlet's Bringing You a Fiction Podcast With Catherine Keener, Oscar Isaac, and David Schwimmer, Plus a New Crime Series From the Makers of The Jinx". Retrieved 1 November 2016. 
  22. "» Hello, we are Every Little Thing". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "» Introducing Every Little Thing". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
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  27. 27.0 27.1 "The Nod - Gimlet Media". Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Introducing Uncivil, A New Kind of History Podcast about the Civil War - Gimlet Media". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  29. Bellstrom, Kristen (23 April 2015). "Why these founders are airing their dating startup's dirty laundry on a podcast". Fortune. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  30. Zimmerman, Eilene (22 April 2015). "Start-Up Blends Old-Fashioned Matchmaking and Algorithms". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  31. CNN Money (8 May 2015). "He touched my breast. Is that harassment?". CNN. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  32. Farivar, Cyrus (2015-01-10). "Why I love Reply All and you should too". Ars Technica. 
  33. Saperstein, Pat (2017-02-14). "Robert Downey Jr. to Star in Richard Linklater Movie Based on Podcast". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  34. "Richard Linklater and Robert Downey Jr. to Get Nuts for Dr. John Brinkley Biopic". The Film Stage. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  35. Untitled John Brinkley Biopic, retrieved 2017-08-04 
  36. "Robert Downey Jr, Richard Linklater Join Con Man Movie". Slashfilm. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
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  47. "Homecoming - Gimlet Media". Retrieved 2017-11-12. 
  48. "Marc Smerling, Zac Stuart-Pontier, and the Expanding Web of Crimetown". Interview Magazine. Retrieved 2017-06-22. 
  49. Quah, Nicholas (20 April 2017). "New Podcast Mogul Tells the Story of Visionary Hip-Hop Executive Chris Lighty". Retrieved 7 May 2017. 
  50. "The Pitch Podcast Is Like Shark Tank Except Ten Times More Realistic". The Hustle. 2016-02-25. Retrieved 2017-06-11. 
  51. Quah, Nicholas (May 11, 2017). "Summer 2017 Podcast Preview: The 12 Shows We Can't Wait to Hear". Vulture. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
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  55. 55.0 55.1 55.2 "» Introducing Twice Removed – The Podcast that Sets Out to Prove We're One Big Family". Gimlet Media. Retrieved 2016-12-10. 
  56. Locker, Melissa (17 July 2015). "Mystery Show: the podcast that has amateur Columbos hooked". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
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  62. "Sampler Trailer". Gimlet Media. Gimlet Media. Retrieved 11 March 2016. 
  63. "New Podcast: Surprisingly Awesome". Gimlet Media. Gimlet Media. Archived from the original on 19 November 2015. Retrieved 6 November 2015. 
  64. Yin, Maryann (December 9, 2016). "A.J. Jacobs to Star in the Twice Removed Podcast Series". GalleyCat. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  65. "#6: Ginny - Gimlet Media". Retrieved 2017-06-16. 
  66. "Tinder Just Launched a Branded Podcast About Dating With Gimlet Creative". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  67. "Virgin Atlantic's First Branded Podcast Tells the Stories Behind Pioneering Entrepreneurs". Retrieved 2017-06-12. 
  68. ".future | Gimlet Creative". Gimlet Creative. Retrieved 2017-06-21. 
  69. "The Secret to Victory | Gimlet Creative". Gimlet Creative. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  70. "Blue Apron Launches New Branded Podcast "Why We Eat What We Eat"". Fast Company. 2017-10-04. Retrieved 2017-10-12. 
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External links[edit | edit source]