WarnerMedia will work with the iHeartMedia Podcast Network to co-produce a slate of podcasts for HBO Max. The podcasts, which will focus on the new digital TV network’s catalog of original and legacy shows, will be featured on iHeartRadio and HBO Max itself.
As part of the wide-encompassing deal, iHeartMedia will also get a first-look priority to produce HBO Max companion podcasts during the term of the agreement.
In an increasingly crowded streaming video marketplace, WarnerMedia sees audio podcasts as a way to promote HBO Max. The $15 per month subscription service launched May 27 with content from HBO and its sister networks. Under the iHeart-Warner alliance, both companies will promote the new podcasts and other HBO Max content across the iHeartPodcast Network and iHeart’s broadcast radio and digital platforms.
It could be just the beginning for the two companies as iHeartMedia may also produce podcasts for WarnerMedia’s other television networks, including TNT, TBS and truTV. The alliance with iHeart comes despite the launch of the in-house WarnerMedia Podcast Network.
“We look forward to working with iHeartMedia as we continue to find new ways to break ground and create opportunities for our storytellers to do what they do best,” said Kevin Reilly, who is President of TBS, TNT, and truTV and Chief Content Officer at HBO Max. “Today’s streaming fans are hungry for more content the second they finish an episode of their favorite shows, and podcasts are a great way to keep those fans engaged while also giving our roster of creative talent additional tools to extend the worlds of their shows and stories.”
The initial slate of HBO Max companion podcasts will stand on their own as podcasts, but the companies say the shows will frequently center around HBO Max programming as a way to help promote the newly-launched service.
“We’re beyond thrilled to forge this new partnership with WarnerMedia Entertainment to create an exciting slate of companion podcasts based on the incredible content coming to HBO Max,” said iHeartPodcast Network President Conal Byrne. “WarnerMedia Entertainment’s networks and brands have long been a marvel in the entertainment industry, and we’re ecstatic for the opportunity to be a part of their legendary storytelling and to bring this trove of new content to the iHeartPodcast Network.”
The first podcasts to debut will include companion podcasts for the comedy thriller series “Search Party,” created by Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers and Michael Showalter. Primarily set in New York City, Search Party follows a group of privileged, self-absorbed twenty-somethings whose search for a long-lost missing friend leads them down a dark and shocking path of no return. The first two seasons of the show are currently available on HBO Max and all episodes of the third season will debut on the streamer on June 25.
The other podcast in cue is tied to the sci-fi drama “Raised by Wolves,” directed and executive produced by Ridley Scott. The TV series centers around two androids, Father and Mother, tasked with raising human children on a mysterious new planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.
Podcasts have been part of the HBO Max game plan since the video streaming service was announced last fall. When WarnerMedia unveiled its plans, it pointed to The Chernobyl Podcast as one example of a show that will be on the HBO Max app. The audio component to the TV series “Chernobyl” launched last year and quickly saw downloads surpass ten million.
WarnerMedia’s alliance with iHeart comes despite the launch of the in-house WarnerMedia Podcast Network. The division launched last May and currently produces a variety of podcasts tied to other Warner-owned properties.