The battle for Podcast audiences is set to continue in 2020. Over the past 12 months the podcast industry has seen a massive increase in interest and with it many innovative content idea’s have surfaced from the key players in the entertainment content sphere. The first big player to make a splash was undoubtedly Spotify which publicly announced its intention to invest heavily in the sector, over the last year it spent more than $400 million to buy several podcast producers such Gimlet and Parcast as well as Anchor, an app-service that allows anyone with an internet connection and smartphone to upload their own show.
While Apple still accounts for over half of all Podcast listenership when both it’s dedicated Podcast and Apple Music App are combined, Spotify’s investment strategy has seen it rise to become the biggest single Podcast listening app. The aggressive investment tactics saw the Swedish tech giant sign the exclusive rights to various original shows and commission dozens more.
Their efforts closed a huge gap and seized upon the rapidly growing popularity of Podcasts. As revenue from podcasts is primarily made by direct sales of advertising by the owners, it wasn’t clear how they were going to profit from it directly. However, their efforts helped them to keep more users on the platform as paying subscribers and now Apple is looking to take steps to maintain it’s lead while promoting its other offerings.
Apple have now they have seemingly stepped into the game for the first time in a new way that will give it a new edge. The San Francisco based iPhone maker was reported to have approached several podcast producers last year asking them pitch idea’s which relate in some way to its Apple TV+ programming, a similar report regarding Apple funded podcasts came out in July last year but we are yet to see any Apple-only podcast surface.
The move would be somewhat similar to Marvel, who teamed up with Sirus XM to launch various series about its stories as well as original stories made for the medium. While Apple is definitely signalling it’s arming to combat Spotify in the Podcast arena, the decision would also simultaneously help it compete with Netflix on another vertical.
By producing shows related to its original shows and programming it would seem they are hoping this would drive more users to it’s Apple TV+ offering, and these related shows could even be distributed on competing platforms such as Spotify to help them market their offerings. Among the Apple TV+ shows currently on offer are “The Morning Show” starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Steve Carrell, “Oprah’s Book Club”, and “Little America” which is produced by Alan Yang who co-created “Masters Of None”.
Netflix already produces podcasts that give its viewers behind the scenes of shows such as “The Crown”, “The Witcher”, “The Irishman” and “Orange Is The New Black”. Meanwhile, they produce related cultural content such as “You Can’t Make This Up” which looks into the stories of how Netflix producers makes its famed True Crime documentaries as well as insightful profiles of its employees and prominent black members of the entertainment industry such as “Strong Black Lead”.
With Apples deep connections in entertainment as well as big bankroll, you could imagine the platform could create a vast network of interesting Podcast content from not just Apple TV+ but also around the history and design of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, and especially it’s upcoming music bio-pics including Billie Eilish and Beastie Boys.