TheOften times the programs themselves are still freely available, but the software’s authors will be able to offer enhanced formats with rewards, such as “listening without advertisement or accessing additional content” or even “exclusive episodes or previews, a detailed statement from the California Collection.”
Thus Apple tracks the movement of patronage or donations, which provides many podcasts with the potential to attract their most loyal listeners to finance part of their production, in addition to ads.
“You can now help your favorite animators build their business model and contribute to their creativity,” said Tim Cook, president of Apple, during a marketing event that was streamed online to introduce new products.
The new feature will be available from May in more than 170 countries. Each podcast producer will be able to set their subscription price.
In response to a question by Agence France-Presse, Apple did not specify whether it would impose a commission on the amount of the subscriptions.
Internet music-broadcasting giant Spotify already announced in February a similar initiative, thus breaking the dominant process, which relies mainly on advertising and completely free access.
For Apple and Spotify, this new feature will bring tech sponsorship sites like Patreon, the leader in this market. It allows creators to monetize their podcasts, from these platforms, through both ads and optional paid subscriptions.
This initiative is also part of the current search for viable business models for podcast creators, whose popularity has taken a new dimension during the pandemic, but who must face unprecedented competition.
According to Podcast Industry Insights, the number of podcasts has grown, in 11 months, from one million to two million on Apple Podcasts.
If Apple basically contacts creators offering their podcasts for free and in a “premium” format with benefits, it will also be possible to offer fully paid content.
Subscription service Luminary, one of the few to offer exclusive programming only, announced on Tuesday that it will now offer its paid show via Apple Podcast.
Luminary was launched in 2019 after raising about US $ 100 million, and has so far struggled to reach critical mass. Unlike music, there are very few listeners today willing to pay to listen to a podcast, according to several studies.
Apple Podcasts launched 15 years ago with around 3,000 titles, and now offer millions. Tim Cook said the platform has been completely overhauled and will be easier to use, with channels and recommendations.
Apple’s announcement will make it possible to “monetize” its platform, analysts at Wedbush Securities believe, who expect the Apple-based company to announce exclusive partnerships “to compete with Spotify in this arms race.”
Since the launch of Apple Podcasts, the tech giant has already adopted a passive stance and wasn’t making much income from the platform.
For several months, rumors had sparked the possibility of launching a sealed paid subscription offer to Apple, on the model of Apple Music, which was to offer exclusive content.
But the California group finally decided to keep a free template as default, while opening up the possibility to create paid formulas for creators.