Serial inks deal with Pandora, becomes service's first podcast

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An average of 8 million people downloaded each of the 12 episodes that comprised the first season of Serial, a non-fiction whodunnit podcast which started as a spin-off of the popular radio program This American Life.

Today, The Verge is reporting that the program has parlayed all of that success into an exclusive streaming deal with Pandora. While the series’ second season has yet to set a start date, Season One will hit Pandora on Nov. 24, 2015. When Season Two does begin, new episodes will be available every Thursday at 6 A.M.

While 8 million per episode is a colossal number of downloads for a podcast, Pandora claims 78 million monthly listeners, and will undoubtedly give the show access to a much broader audience. Serial Editorial Advisor and This American Life Host Ira Glass described the deal thusly “for people already listening to Serial and This American Life, nothing will change. But we believe lots of people who’d like our shows simply haven’t heard them, or haven’t started listening to podcasts.” Glass also cited the fact that only 17 percent of Americans listen to podcasts monthly, meaning that the show was drawing from a well of around 46 million potential listeners, far fewer than Pandora’s user base alone.

When Serial becomes available on the service, it will mark the first time that Pandora has ever distributed a podcast, so it will be interesting to see whether there are any hiccups in its delivery. The streaming music giant reportedly plans to break up each podcast into smaller, 5-minute chunks but episodes will be formatted so that they play without interruption, unless the user indicates otherwise.

Chronicling the true story of a Baltimore murder, Serial has grown into a genuine phenomenon. So if you’re like some of our staff and have grown tired of your friends’ and family’s strong-armed, how-is-it-possible-that-you-don’t-listen-to-this-show appeals, it just got a whole lot easier for you to give in and get hooked.

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