Our DNA is written in Swift

Establish Podcasts as Payable Content

Ben Lang commented in a blog post “Hey Apple, iOS 5 Needs Newsstand for Podcasts!”

The usual method to get Apple to do something is to file a Radar. So I did. I filed this feature request with number 10277643 to suggest a new business opportunity to Apple iTunes. It aims to establish a new model that would allow professional podcasters to offer podcasts under a for-pay subscription model to eliminate the need for advertising.

You are welcome to dupe the request or add your comments below.

Right now podcasts are treated differently than music:

  • you cannot be a PING fan of a podcaster and follow him
  • you cannot subscribe to podcasts in a way that would get my episodes automatically delivered
  • there is no business model that Apple offers for compensation. Due to this most podcasting networks have to have annoying advertisements to finance their operations.

I propose to elevate iTunes podcasts to a premium distribution channel for professional podcasters. The option for publishers would be to make podcasts dependent on an iTunes subscription (monthly, annually) and have the content optionally be FairPlay encrypted.

The free option would still be available, though it would lack the convenience of auto-delivery. The idea is to make such a service so attractive to iOS users that they would be willing to pay a couple of dollars subscriptions for each feed just for the convenience.

You create APIs that allow developers to enable background downloading of podcast episodes just like Newsstand. It would then be in the Publishers best interest to direct their audience to get an iTunes subscription or else they won’t get the content. Apple would earn 30% of this just like with everything else.

Of course this would integrate with iCloud, which would maintain a shared database which episodes of which feeds have already been listened to and how much. So you could have a built-in podcast player (iPod) on your iPhone to start listening and then continue to listen on your AppleTV from where you left of.

Just like with Music the local iTunes teams would then also curate the best premium podcasts and feature select channels to the audience.

I believe that by tying in the social media creation power of the internet coupled with the convenience of iTunes and iOS can enable a new broadcasting revolution.

Categories: Apple

1 Comment »

  1. I’d love to see this. The only real problem from Apple’s side that I can think of is the bandwidth size of regular podcasts; their 30% cut of an app or song only has to pay for downloading it a reasonably small number of times over their lifetimes, but a weekly podcast would use a lot more (some apps update a lot, but are the exception). They might have to impose a minimum price fo a given number of megs or something.