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New York Times acquires 'Serial' producer

The headquarters of The New York Times
The headquarters of The New York Times ANGELA WEISS AFP/File
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New York (AFP)

The New York Times said it will acquire Serial Productions, which created a hugely popular long-form news program credited with sparking today's podcast boom.

Created by the producers of "This American Life," the gold standard of US public radio shows, Serial Productions introduced the podcast called "Serial" in 2014.

It popularized the "true crime" documentary genre but also delved into investigative work of its own.

In its first season, Serial probed the case of Adnan Syed, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of his former girlfriend, which he said he did not commit. The 12-part podcast prompted a court to reopen the case, which went all the way to the US Supreme Court, but in the end it left in place a ruling that he must stay in prison for life.

The four seasons produced by Serial were downloaded a total of 625 million times.

Terms of the acquisition were not announced.

After the purchase, Serial Productions will keep making podcasts with that brand name and be amplified by the Times, the paper said in a statement Wednesday.

The acquisition will also allow Serial Productions to produce more series than it had in the past.

Serial Productions is preparing to launch its first podcast as a unit of the Times on July 30, called "Nice White Parents."

"To understand what’s wrong with our public education system, you have to look at what’s arguably the most powerful force in our schools: White parents," the paper said in an ad for the series.

The Times entered the world of podcasts in 2017 with a current events program called "The Daily," which instantly became one of the most popular in America.

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