Former iHeartRadio executive VP launches podcast investment firm

Company plans to take major stakes in content across audio and podcast companies worldwide

A new podcast investment firm has been launched by a number of media and investment veterans, including the former podcasting executive vice president of iHeartRadio, Chris Peterson.

Peterson co-founded the new company, DWNLOAD media, in partnership with venture capital company Red Seat Ventures founders Christopher and Kevin Balfe, and investment company Co_Made with its head of investment Edward Lindqvist Wilbrand. 

“Incredibly excited to announce my new venture, DWNLOAD Media!” said Peterson in a post on LinkedIn. “We believe that podcasting is in the early stages of growth and DWNLOAD Media will be investing in the creators and technology that will define the future of audio.”

According to an interview with Axios, the investment firm aims to mostly take majority stakes in audio and podcast companies that are primarily in the content space - both in the US and on a global scale - in order to help them grow their brand outside of just audio to include brand extensions like merch and live events. 

The company also told Axios that tech giants that are currently investing in audio, like Amazon, Apple and Spotify, mostly favour content from the biggest creators but claimed that this will change as platforms start to pull back from buying audio companies to start licensing rights to more shows.

In addition to working at iHeartRadio for three years, Peterson was also the former president of Kindred Media and is currently the CEO of audio strategy advisory Modish Media, which he founded in September 2022. 

Despite challenges in the economic environment, companies are still choosing to invest in podcasting as the market proves to be resilient. According to the IAB’s latest annual US Podcast Advertising Study, podcast ad revenue in the US grew by 26% year-over-year - amounting to $1.8 billion (£1.4B) - and continues to be one of the fastest growing digital channels. 

Other firms have been following similar strategies to DWLOAD, including international podcast investment company PodX which has made deals with a number of podcast companies across Europe and Latin America including Suomen Podcastmedia in Finland, independent podcast production studio Filt in Sweden, podcast production company Posta in Argentina, podcast studio Nouvelles Écoutes in France, and audio fiction company Goldhawk Productions in the UK.