Apple funding exclusive podcasts could send shockwaves through the market

Avi Salzman for Barron’s:

Podcasts were once widely accepted as a free and open medium, easily accessible if you had a free podcast app. But with news that Apple is looking to buy exclusive rights to certain podcasts, the old model looks like it’s bound to disappear.

Podcasting could become a lot more like television — with shows siloed on different services and companies competing to host must-have content. That means you might have to pay up — or at least listen to extra ads — to hear your favorite podcasters.

Apple is the biggest player in podcasting, though it isn’t profiting from the ads that run on the podcasts it hosts on its app. It hasn’t missed out on much revenue so far. The industry is still small, pulling in about $479 million from ads last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC. The most successful ads are generally read by the hosts themselves, a trend that makes user-targeted ads more complicated. More recently, though, automated ads have started taking off, and they could help expand the industry.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple laid the foundation for podcasting. The name “podcast” itself is derived from Apple’s revolutionary iPod. Apple’s podcast listeners are a strong demographic with disposable income and the proven will to spend it. Apple is smart to bankroll exclusive podcasts to help drive their services business.

Sleep tight, Spotify.

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