Podcast war heats up as Apple plans subscription tier to fund original content

Staff Writer
Apple Music, Spotify

In a bid to remain the biggest podcast distributor of the decade, and stave off Spotify’s advances, Apple is planning to launch a podcast subscription service later this year.

Bloomberg, which broke the story, reported that Apple would use the extra revenue to fund existing content and create new original shows and series.

It would gamble that current users, who are used to free access, would consider content strong enough to start paying for it.

It is part of Apple’s strategy to expand its revenue streams from its service division which includes music, app store, TV and, more recently, Apple Arcade and Apple Fitness.

It is said to have already begun discussions with various companies to create and market new podcasts.

In September 2020, Apple acquired Scout FM, to create streaming radio stations from podcast content which could be directly integrated with CarPlay.

The tech giant was in talks to buy out the Wondery podcast network, when it was gazumped by Amazon for an undisclosed sum.

Spotify, which entered the podcast market later, has proven successful with its big spend (US$800 million so far,) on original content including the Obamas and the controversial Joe Rogan, and buying up podcast companies such as Gimlet, The Ringer, Megaphone and Anchor.

Amazon – Audible is also a major player, investing in original material and also experimenting with a pricing scheme.

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