Recode Media-logo

Recode Media


What happens when media, entertainment, and technology collide? Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians and podcasters to get their take. Produced by Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network.


United States




What happens when media, entertainment, and technology collide? Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians and podcasters to get their take. Produced by Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network.




An SVB (phew!) update + Benedict Evans on the future of (almost) everything

First: A Silicon Valley Bank check-in with Dan Primack of Axios. Why, exactly, did so many tech companies (and, um, media companies) bank with SVB, and what happens next? Then, Peter Kafka has a great, wide-ranging conversation with tech analyst / thinkfluencer Benedict Evans. They talk about artificial intelligence, Amazon’s ad business (or whatever we should call it), YouTube’s place in the streaming wars, and what the metaverse and jetpacks have in common. Plus, cow hooves! Featuring: Dan...


Science fiction pioneer Neal Stephenson on the metaverse, the movies and why he still believes in blockchain

Mark Zuckerberg wants to build the metaverse. Neal Stephenson created the meta verse three decades ago. The author’s 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash popularized the use of the term “avatar” in a digital context, inspired the makers of Google Earth, and, of course, imagined (and named) the dystopian metaverse that Silicon Valley is racing to make a reality. Stephenson has also tried his hand at actual science - helping Jeff Bezos build his private rocket ship business, and later working...


Meet the woman who got De La Soul streaming

De La Soul was legendary for their trail-blazing approach to hip-hop. But in recent years the trio become notable for another reason: You couldn’t hear their music on any streaming platform. This means that generations of fans - including Recode’s Peter Kafka - couldn’t find them on the likes of Spotify, and potential new fans would never hear them at all. Today that’s changed, thanks to Reservoir Media's CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi, who purchased the company that owned the trio’s music, and...


Real-life “Succession”: Jim Stewart on Sumner Redstone’s sordid saga

Veteran business journalist James B. Stewart specializes in getting behind the scenes to tell the stories of rich, powerful, and complicated subjects. He has a doozy with “Unscripted”, the new book he co-wrote about the last days of media mogul Sumner Redstone, who at one point was one of the most powerful men in the industry, and whose decline fueled years of fighting between his family, his employees, and his mistresses. If you like tawdry tales of sex, avarice, and greed — or wanted to...


We quiz BuzzFeed’s CEO about AI

It used to be that a human would have to write a BuzzFeed quiz about “Which Fictional Artificial Intelligence Are You?” But now, BuzzFeed writers are using real artificial intelligence tools — from Open AI, the company behind ChatGPT — to help craft the site’s famous quizzes. Investors love the idea. Not all of BuzzFeed's employees are quite sure about it, though. Recode’s Peter Kafka talks to BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti about the new technology, which one of this show’s producers used to go...


Why is tech in trouble if the economy is ok?

Tech and media companies (including the one that brings you this podcast) are laying off workers left and right. Meanwhile, the latest national jobs report is shockingly strong. So… why? Do the excuses make any sense? First, Recode’s Peter Kafka talks to Vox’s Emily Stewart about the overall economy, the likelihood of a recession, and when we’d actually know if one is happening. Then, New York Times correspondent Mike Isaac is back to dive into the specifics of the tech sector. Featuring:...


Land of the Giants: The Hidden Hand Behind Your Swipes

This week, we bring you an episode of The Cut and The Verge’s latest season of Land of the Giants: Dating Games. This episode is all about Match Group, the company that went on an acquisition spree and now controls two-thirds of the dating apps market. To hear more stories about how dating apps became a billion-dollar industry and the algorithms that control your love life, subscribe to Land of the Giants wherever you subscribe to podcasts. Hosted by Sangeeta Singh Kurtz (@sangeetaskurtz)...


Don't tell investor Li Jin that Web3 is dead

Investor Li Jin helped popularize the idea of the Creator Economy — the theory that many people who make stuff online could and should get paid for that work. Then she merged that pitch with an embrace of crypto/Web3 — and by 2021 the New York Times was calling her the “It Girl in venture capital.” Now many of the people who embraced both creator economy investments and crypto want nothing to do with that. But not Jin, who says she’s still all in. She talks to Recode’s Peter Kafka about...


How The Last of Us went from hit game to hit zombie tv

The critically-lauded video game The Last of Us is now a critically-lauded HBO series. It's about a global pandemic that turns much of the world’s population into zombie-like monsters. Executive producer (and former roommate of Ted Cruz) Craig Mazin talks to Recode’s Peter Kafka about what makes the game special — and adaptable into prestige television. Mazin dives into how he went from writing The Hangover sequels to making Chernobyl, and the science and emotional math of storytelling....


"Resist trying to make things better" - a conversation with internet security expert Alex Stamos

A new study in the journal Nature Communications finds "no evidence of a meaningful relationship" between Russian disinformation and voting behavior in the 2016 election. If disinformation maybe isn’t as effective as we assumed, does that change social networks’ responsibility to control it? Recode’s Peter Kafka discusses it with Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook and director of the Stanford Internet Observatory. They touch on the insurrection in Brazil, and Hunter...


Was YouTube’s NFL deal a $2 billion mistake?

For the first time in 3 decades, NFL’s Sunday Ticket - a subscription service that lets viewers watch many but not all of the NFL’s games each week - has a new home: YouTube TV. The deal will cost YouTube/Google/Alphabet $2 billion a year. Was it it worth it? There’s no one better to answer that question than Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand. He joins Recode’s Peter Kafka to talk about the deal — and what it tells us about other moves by tech giants to get into big-time sports....


Apple’s new goggles; Hollywood’s new streaming pitch.

Before we face the reality of 2023, we discuss the state of virtual reality — specifically, the still-unannounced VR/AR headset Apple’s been developing for years. The Information’s Wayne Ma joins Recode’s Peter Kafka to share the details of his latest report on the device, which he predicts will cost $3,000 and debut this year. Then, Jeremy Zimmer, the CEO of United Talent Agency, talks to Peter about Hollywood’s economics and the way he’d like them to change, particularly as streamers like...


Reader Mail!

Recode’s Peter Kafka answers listener questions about Twitter, niche content streaming, print media microtransactions, regional sports networks and more. Peter’s producers and son also make appearances in descending order according to age. Host: Peter Kafka (@pkafka), Senior Editor at Recode More to explore: Subscribe for free to Recode Media, Peter Kafka, one of the media industry's most acclaimed reporters, talks to business titans, journalists, comedians, and more to get their take on...


An Elon-free year in review

The Earth has just about completed its latest orbit around the sun, which means it’s time to take a look at what was happening over the past 584 million miles. Joining Recode’s Peter Kafka is Bloomberg’s, Lucas Shaw. Together, they tackle what Avatar: The Way of Water means for Disney, why concerts are doing well and in-person movies are doing meh, and HBO Max and Netflix’s pivot to gaming. Plus, they have a Tik Tok-length discussion about Tik Tok. Featuring: Lucas Shaw (@Lucas_Shaw),...


A n00b’s guide to the Microsoft / Activision deal the FTC wants to stop

The FTC wants to (candy) crush Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Inc., the makers of games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush. Meanwhile, Microsoft, the maker of Xbox, assures Call of Duty players they’ll still be able to shoot Nazi zombies on rivals’ consoles. For an overview of the gaming business in general and this acquisition in particular, Recode’s Peter Kafka talks to Bloomberg’s Jason Schrier, co-host of the podcast Triple Click and bestselling author...


Why the media landscape is “dire” with WSJ’s Jessica Toonkel

Layoffs, Disney CEO take-backsies, and the Netflix of it all — this week, Recode’s Peter Kafka catches up on the not-that-upbeat media industry with Jessica Toonkel, deputy media editor at The Wall Street Journal. They discuss why Big Media companies of every variety are struggling to please investors, advertisers and users, and why good news isn’t coming anytime soon. Also: WTF is Netflix’s video game business going to be? (And if you do want to check out a Netflix-branded mobile game,...


How Eventbrite survived the pandemic, and why it’s not fighting Ticketmaster

Selling tickets for live events can be… tricky, as Ticketmaster has proven yet again. But Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz runs a much smaller ticketing business and says she’s learned valuable lessons after the pandemic brought her revenue to zero. She talks to Recode’s Peter Kafka about growing once again — and how she’s preparing for a potential recession. Featuring: Julia Hartz (@juliahartz), CEO of Eventbrite Host: Peter Kafka (@pkafka), Senior Editor at Recode More to explore: Subscribe for...


It’s not TV it’s HBO — the book

HBO’s 50-year-old history tells you a lot about culture, business, and TV’s past and future. This perhaps explains why we’ve seen two HBO books in the last 12 months. Felix Gillette is the co-author of the newest one: It’s Not TV: The Spectacular Rise, Revolution, and Future of HBO. He sits down with Recode’s Peter Kafka to talk about HBO’s story, and the impact his book made before it even hit the shelves. Featuring: Felix Gillette (@felixgillette), editor for Business Insider and Author...


How to watch a complicated World Cup

Qatar is hosting the 2022 World Cup, casting a pall over one of the globe’s most-watched sporting events. Men With Blazers co-host Roger Bennett joins Recode’s Peter Kafka to talk through the geopolitical awareness and cognitive dissonance required to enjoy this year’s tournament. First they tackle the human rights abuses of Qatar and the perennial corruption of FIFA. Then, they get into the games — players to watch, which countries have a chance, and we learn that PETER KAFKA WAS BORN IN...


Life, the internet, and everything with Garbage Day’s Ryan Broderick

Ryan Broderick is very online so you don’t have to be. His internet culture Substack ‘Garbage Day’ is a mix of thought-provoking analysis, trend reporting, and, when you read all the way to the end, dumb memes. In this wide-ranging coversation with Recode’s Peter Kafka, he talks about the big topic of the day: An explanation of NyQuil chicken. But before that, Twitter — and Ryan reminds us that there are some places on the internet where people are actually having a good time. Plus, a whole...