Apple eyes expansion of original podcast material, moves to make deals with media companies
Apple will reportedly aim to expand its podcast platform by licensing exclusive and original podcasts, to “pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before,” according to Bloomberg. The financially focused news outlet additionally claimed that Apple executives have already begun to open dialogues with media companies to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcast programming.
Apple’s Podcasts app for iPhone and iPad has been in existence since 2012. To date, Apple has facilitated the platform in a mostly passive manner: although the tech giant has hosted podcasts for years, it has not actively invested in original podcasts or devised plans to roll out its own content via Podcast to any great extent. By contrast, Apple Music competitor, Spotify, pledged up to $500 million to the development of podcasts and even recently struck a multi-year deal with Barack and Michelle Obama’s production company, Higher Ground, which will produce podcast content for the Swedish streaming giant. Spotify additionally owns podcasting firms Gimlet Media, Parcast, and Anchor.
Spotify isn’t alone in its effort to expand its podcast content. Not long after it acquired Pandora, SiriusXM instituted the music streaming service’s first-ever content team, which will devote its creative energy to the development of Pandora’s own original podcast material. Moreover, Apple, Spotify, and SiriusXM alike are interested in striking podcast partnerships with prominent artists.
The entities’ commitment to not only broadening their respective platforms’ podcasting content, but to conceptualizing podcasts specific to their own brands is timely, to say the least. The podcast’s rise in popularity reflects in Edison Research’s 2019 Infinite Dial Survey, which found that more than 50 percent of Americans aged 12 or older have listened to a podcast. Edison Research noted that this is the very first time that this figure has ever surpassed the halfway mark. One-third of the United States population—90 million listeners—meanwhile stated that they’d streamed a podcast in the last month, comprising 40 percent of American youths aged 12 to 24.