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Does Apple Plan Exclusive Podcasts? ↦



Much money is pouring into podcasting, especially from Spotify, which buys podcasts and finances original creation, Spotify audio programming only. But the industry's largest player, Apple, has refrained from making any moves in this area, despite the renewed focus on paid services – at least so far.

But here comes a report from Bloomberg suggesting that it may be changing: [19659003] Company executives have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss the purchase of exclusive podcast rights, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the calls are preliminary. Apple has not yet outlined a clear strategy, but has said they plan to implement the kind of deals it has not done before….

"You are nowhere in the podcasting if you do not have shows listed in Apple podcasts," said Lex Friedman, Art1

9's main revenue manager, who provides services to podcasts such as Wondery Media and Tribune. But considering all the recent activity from the competition, "it would surprise me if Apple didn't do anything about exclusive."

Given Apple's deep pockets and focus on services, I can't see how the company would at least investigate the possibility of adding original audio content to the portfolio, both to strengthen the podcast draw and increase the value of one of those existing services or an upcoming service bundle.

As I wrote back in February: "With Spotify on the move, I have to wonder if Apple will need to take a more active approach in this area. The economy that runs Apple Music and Spotify is quite similar; I'm a bit surprised that Apple hasn't invested in premium, just subscriber audio content (because if it's just a subscriber, it's not really podcast) for Apple Music subscribers. We hear about Apple spending billions on video content for its new streaming service, but not a clue that Apple is using its power in podcasting to increase Apple Music or at least keep Spotify's expansion in check. Perhaps Apple's light touch on the podcasting world will continue, at least until a competitor does something to get the attention. "

Maybe Spotify finally has Apple's attention.

[Read on Six Colors.]
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