Updated: April 26, 2021 9:02:24 am
When Apple does something it usually ends up having an industry-wide impact. The Apple Podcast Subscriptions, announced at the Spring Loaded event earlier this week, has the potential to make the segment more lucrative for the creators and thus offer more options for the listeners. Interestingly, Apple has had a part to play in the podcast segment from as early as 2005.
The move has already had an impact on the fast-growing, but still niche podcast segment with rival Spotify suggesting the launch of a similar service, one where creators will be able to keep the entire revenue, unlike Apple which does take a 30% commission.
So how does Apple Podcast Subscriptions work?
When it goes live in May, Apple Podcasts Subscriptions will be available in over 170 countries including India. To create monetisable podcasts, creators will need to enrol for the Apple Podcasters Program through Apple Podcasts Connect. The program will come with the tools needed to offer premium subscriptions but will entail an annual cost of Rs 1,799.
Once set up, the creator will be able to set pricing for shows with monthly or annual billing. They will also be able to offer free trials and sample episodes offered by creators. Listeners will be able to use Family Sharing and share a subscription with up to six family members.
Apple has also lined up an overhaul of the Podcast app with a better Search tab with Top Charts and categories, new show and episode pages with the Smart Play button.
Why is Apple going for a subscription model?
Podcasts have always struggled to be monetised, especially since audio ads are still not that popular in many markets. Apple, with its head, start in Podcasts, by now would have millions of users hooked to different shows — there are over 1.6 billion Apple devices with the Podcast app on it. So a subscription service will offer the creators of shows with unique content and loyal audiences a monetisation opportunity.
What kind of controls will the creators get?
Podcasters will have complete control over what content they want to offer behind a paywall and at what monthly subscription. They will even have the option of offering something as paid in a certain geography and free in another, or just putting archival content as paid even as new content is made available free. They will also be able to put shows behind a freemium model, where just some parts or episodes will be limited for paid subscribers while regular episodes will be free.
Apple is giving creators the freedom to make multiple channels to curate their shows for different audiences and subscription strategies. So both channels and individual shows can now be offered behind a paywall. The option can also be to offer ad-free and long-form versions of shows exclusively to paid users. Plus, there will be analytics on listener behaviour, which is very hard to come by as of now.
Will there still be free shows and will creators be able to offer their shows on other platforms?
Yes, free shows will continue and creators are free to keep them so as long as they want. Creators will be able to define in which context they want to offer subscriptions for a show, if at all. It will also be up to the creators to offer the shows elsewhere, though it might not make great business sense to offer a paid show on Apple for free elsewhere.
Can anyone open a paid channel?
Yes, everyone from an individual podcaster to a large media house can use the platform as long as they become part of the Apple programme and take a membership.
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