Jordan's Sowt acquires UAE podcast company Finyal

The acquisition was financed by Sowt and Media Development Investment Fund

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Sowt Media, a Jordan-based podcast platform that provides audio content for Arabic speakers globally, has bought Dubai’s podcast production company Finyal Media.

The move will strengthen Sowt’s content, audience and commercial opportunities, the company said in a statement on Monday.

The acquisition was financed by Sowt and Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), a New York-registered non-profit organisation, the company said, without disclosing details of the transaction.

“This acquisition marks a big step for the audio industry in Mena [Middle East and North Africa] and for Sowt,” its chief executive Ramsey G Tesdell said.

“We are excited about the potential growth that joining forces with Finyal provides [to] listeners … we are proud of what Sowt has accomplished and are excited about what the future holds,” Mr Tesdell said.

Leila Hamadeh, Finyal’s co-founder and chief executive. Victor Besa / The National

Founded in 2016, Amman-headquartered Sowt — which means voice or sound in Arabic — produces podcasts, audiobooks and audio articles focusing on Arabic-speaking audience.

Some of its originals, including Eib, Domtak, Manbet, Matryoshka and Almostajad, have been featured in international media and topped podcast charts on services like Apple Podcasts, Anghami and Deezer.

The Mena region has recorded 33 exits in the first half of the year, according to Magnitt. The UAE recorded the highest number of exits (10), followed by Egypt (nine) and Saudi Arabia (five).

The global podcasting market size is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 31.1 per cent from 2021 to 2028, from $11.5 billion in 2020, according to market research and consulting company Grand View Research.

The acquisition marks a “major milestone” in the development of the Mena podcast industry, Leila Hamadeh, Finyal’s co-founder and chief executive, said.

“We are very proud of all the work that has gone into creating Finyal Media’s award-winning podcasts and we see strong a fit for our shows within Sowt’s incredible portfolio of content,” Ms Hamadeh said.

Dubai-based Finyal Media has produced some of the top Arabic podcast fiction and branded content. Its leading podcasts include 1001 Nights, Juha, Sindibad, Al Silah and The Basement.

“Sowt is a clear leader in the Arabic-language podcast space, producing original, high-quality content, and we are a long-term admirer of their work,” said Bilal Randeree, MDIF’s programme director for Africa and Mena.

“Sowt has assembled a young and talented team, bringing together backgrounds and skills that allow them to continuously innovate and experiment in this sector, and we are looking forward to working with the company as it continues to expand its work.”

Updated: September 12, 2022, 1:32 PM