Simon Morris joins independent podcaster Novel

Simon-Morris-Novel

Novel, the independent premium podcast company, has named entertainment industry pioneer Simon Morris as its chairman.

Morris is one of the UK’s most successful creative entrepreneurs, with an unrivalled track record in entertainment brands.

He joins from Amazon, where he was Chief Creative Officer, having taken up the role when Amazon acquired LOVEFiLM (now Prime Video), which he co-founded in 2004.

Simon Morris

Morris is joined on Novel’s board by award-winning editor Dan Rookwood, formerly Nike’s global editorial director and Mr Porter’s US Editor.

Always at the forefront of seismic shifts in entertainment, Morris has been a major player in some of the UK’s most iconic media moments.

He launched Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog in the 90s, and pioneered youth culture TV as Managing Director of Chris Evan’s production company, Ginger, maker of groundbreaking shows such as TFI Friday.

As Consumer Marketing Director at BskyB, he was part of the revolution in satellite broadcasting before co-founding digital publisher 365 Corp; Football 365, Music 365 – which went from start-up to IPO in just four years.

Morris said: “Podcasting and streaming is the most exciting place to be in entertainment right now, and Novel has an amazing track record of creating hit shows.

“I see something in Novel that I’ve seen in all the successful entertainment organisations I’ve been part of: an obsessively high creative bar.

“My job is to help steer this ambitious independent company on its growth journey, harnessing its potential by scaling Novel’s success and taking its world class content across platforms and borders. Novel’s growth trajectory is unstoppable.”

Novel said it is the only independent podcast production company to have cracked the US market, leading the way in content that stretches from podcast to streaming to TV.

A majority of its shows are produced in ongoing partnerships with leading US podcast networks including Wondery, iHeart, Audible, Apple and Gimlet.

The stack of chart-topping, award-winning podcasts produced by Novel includes Stolen Hearts, which recently reached the world number one spot, as well as Harsh Reality and Superhero Complex.

Sean Glynn, founder and CEO of Novel, said: “Simon’s unbelievable energy and experience will be game-changing for Novel.

“His iconic track record – from LoveFilm to Amazon – is precisely what we’re looking for. He gets us, our vision, and will be key in driving our business and brand to the next level.”

Dan Rookwood

Novel’s board is further bolstered by the addition of Rookwood who now serves as Operating Partner and Head of Brand at VGC Partners, the growth fund that invested £5m into Novel in late 2022.

Rookwood’s primary remit is to ensure that Novel’s brand strategy is integral to its business strategy as the brand grows internationally.

A journalist by trade, Rookwood started his career at The Guardian before moving into consumer magazines.

He has a deep well of editorial experience to draw from, including podcasts having led the team that makes Nike’s health and wellness-focused podcast, Trained.

“To have the backing of investors like Dan with such deep appreciation and flair for editorial craft is a rare thing,” said Glynn.

“VGC’s commercial savvy, operational excellence and unrivalled network make them ideal partners for Novel as we move into an exciting new phase of expansion.”