Apple launches paid subscriptions service in its podcast app
Apple continues to move towards the development of various subscription services. A big change is coming in the Apple Podcasts business, with the company launching a subscription platform at today’s event. Apple announced that people would subscribe to in-app content for additional perks like free and bonus content or early access. Next month, the service will be launched immediately in 170 regions and countries.
Initial partners include Pushkin Industries, QCODE, and NPR. Content creators will have to pay Apple a flat $ 19.99 per year to offer subscriptions, while Apple will also charge 30% of its subscription revenue for the first year and 15% for the following.
The app has also received a channel redesign to help people find content curated by their favorite authors. These channels will contain illustrations, titles, and descriptions unique to Apple’s podcasts, some of which will be free, and others will be paid. One of the earliest providers of such channels will be Luminary, a subscription-based podcast application. Other innovations include a Smart Play button that will allow listeners to automatically start shows that are aired in separate broadcasts from the newest episode and serialized episodes from the beginning of the next episode. Listeners can also save individual episodes for offline playback.
Overall, Apple seems to be showing more interest in authors who use its platform to reach listeners. People speculated that Apple would launch a subscription service to promote its own original content, focusing on shows that complement Apple TV + and books. Instead, Apple sees an opportunity to make money from the podcasters themselves without investing in their own exclusive programs. This makes Apple a more direct competitor to platforms like Patreon, which supported podcasters. However, Patreon only charges 9% of subscription revenue, so advertisers have little incentive to stake on the Apple Podcasts platform. On the other hand, Apple’s services reach a significant audience.
On the Apple platform, people actively listened to podcasts for years until Spotify took it seriously in 2019. Apple’s share is shrinking: eMarketer estimates 28.2 million people will listen to podcasts in the US on Spotify this year, versus 28 million on Apple. A Voxnest report last year also showed that Spotify is gaining traction in the US and is at times overtaking Apple.