Podcasting is having a bit of a moment. Advertising revenue from the format is expected to pass $1 billion by the end of this year, and the number of adults in the US who listen to a podcast is growing steadily, with more than one in three now listening each month.
These trends haven’t gone unnoticed by Apple. According to Bloomberg, the tech giant is planning to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service, in a move to stay ahead of competitors like Spotify and Stitcher.
Executives at Apple have allegedly reached out to media companies to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, although the conversations are said to be in the very early stages. This would be a huge change in Apple’s positioning in podcasts, as it has previously taken a very neutral distribution role.
It’s not the only move Apple has made to stay ahead of the podcasting game recently. Late last year, they rolled out Podcast Analytics, which to date still offers producers the most comprehensive view of how podcasts are listened to through their platform.
It has also recently brought its dedicated Podcasts app to Mac computers, as well as launching a web interface to allow people to listen to podcasts via their computers.
For many in podcasting, Apple is a huge driver of listeners, with reports of the Apple Podcast app (recently split out from the wider iTunes product) driving between 50-70% of listening on average for podcasts. Spotify, Apple’s biggest rival in the podcasting game, has just 15-20% of listeners worldwide.