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Executive has plan to turn Spotify into the ultimate podcast hub

Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Business News

At the CW, Ostroff helped the company target young audiences when illegal downloading of shows on the internet was rampant.

"It was the exact moment when young audiences were starting to migrate to digital platforms," said Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studios & ABC Entertainment, who is Ostroff's friend and former co-worker at Fox. "There are a lot of programmers and executives at that point who would have bailed on that strategy."

But Ostroff leaned into moving shows online and across other platforms. She decided to make episodes of the teen-drama series "Gossip Girl" available on iTunes before they aired on the CW's TV channel.

"We were able to kind of dispel a lot of myths," Ostroff said. "We had to because we had nothing to lose."

Walden believes Ostroff's bets played a key role in the CW network landing a lucrative deal in 2011 to distribute its shows on Netflix, which made the CW network profitable. Netflix was estimated to have paid approximately $600,000 per "Gossip Girl" episode.

"It was 100% the result of her commitment to programming for young audiences and offering a genuine alternative to what those viewers were getting on traditional broadcast platforms," Walden said.

 

After the CW, Ostroff became president at Conde Nast Entertainment in 2011, where she built the company's digital video business and oversaw its film and TV operations. The digital video unit produced more than 5,000 videos per year and drove more than 1 billion views each month. She took IP from Conde Nast's publications to create TV shows and movies even as the publishing company struggled in other areas.

After speaking to Spotify's staff about her work at Conde Nast, the company's co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek asked to meet with her. He shared his plans to make Spotify the world's largest audio platform and offered her a job. "It became a very interesting proposition," Ostroff said.

She joined Spotify in August of 2018 and hit the ground running. Although she oversees content partnerships in music and video, growing podcasting has been a top priority.

Spotify is growing its library by producing original podcasts, landing exclusives and making it easier for podcast production companies to upload programs to the platform.

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