In the wake of a seismic deal in the podcast industry that will see top host Joe Rogan bring his show exclusively to Spotify for a reported $100 million, Apple — which will lose distribution of Rogan’s show come 2021 — is revamping its own podcast approach.
According to Bloomberg, Apple — an early distribution platform for podcasts that is also the largest hub for the medium stateside — is now seeking an executive to lead development of original audio series. The exec would report to Ben Crave, Apple’s head of podcasting. (This isn’t the first time that reports have surfaced indicating Apple intends to invest in original audio).
Additionally, Bloomberg reports that the hardware giant is looking to purchase shows that it would host exclusively. These acquisitions would fall into two categories — both interwoven with Apple’s nascent TV+ streaming service, per Bloomberg. They include: spin-offs of existing movies and series on Apple TV+, and original programming that could eventually be adapted into TV+ content.
On the Apple TV+ front, a recent report pegged the service’s subscriber count at 10 million in February — with a 50% retention rate in terms of active users. So affiliated podcasts could potentially help bolster the fledgling service. And in addition to readying originals, Bloomberg reports that Apple has asked some podcast producers to provide ad-free version of existing shows, suggesting that a audio subscription offering — either within or separate from TV+ — could be in the works.
Beyond the Rogan deal, Spotify has spent hundreds of millions of dollars in podcast acquisitions in recent months, including of Bill Simmons’ podcast-focused media company The Ringer, as well as podcast networks like Gimlet Media and Parcast.