Apple in April unveiled Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favorite creators alongside millions of free shows on Apple Podcasts.
Listeners in more than 170 countries and regions can sign up for premium subscriptions that include a variety of benefits curated by creators, such as ad-free listening, access to additional content, and early or exclusive access to new series. Listeners will be able to enjoy premium subscriptions from independent voices and premier studios, including Tenderfoot TV, Pushkin Industries, Radiotopia from PRX, and QCODE, to leading media and entertainment brands, including NPR, the Los Angeles Times, The Athletic, Sony Music Entertainment, and many more.
The podcast medium is massive, with about 40% of Americans age 12 and older listening to podcasts monthly. Apple made a brief yet important announcement related to its podcast offering at its Spring Loaded event in April: a global podcast marketplace, in which listeners can subscribe to individual shows that creators put behind a paywall. A week later, Spotify announced a similar marketplace. The market reaction was that Apple was finally ramping its competitive efforts with Spotify for podcast supremacy. After helping mainstream podcasts through the iTunes store in 2005, Apple has done little with the medium since. Meanwhile, Spotify has aggressively pursued the podcast opportunity, investing hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire ad technology and exclusive content.
Apple’s and Spotify’s approaches to podcasts have some competitive overlap, as both companies want to reach more listeners and help creators better monetize an under-monetized medium. That said, we view Apple’s and Spotify’s podcast strategies as largely divergent.
For Apple, podcasts appear to fall into the hobby category, primarily aimed at:
• Maintaining leadership in an important content category.
• Providing high-margin incremental Services revenue.
For Spotify, podcasts are central to its long-term success, primarily aimed at:
• Increasing profitability, as podcasts offer the company better margins than music.
MacDailyNews Note: There’s much more in the recommended full article here.