Podcasts were first brought to iTunes in 2005, and after a strong push, they seem to have fallen to the wayside. With the release of Apple’s Podcasts app this week, could Apple be announcing to the world that they’re finally taking podcasts seriously?
No longer are podcasts simply another section in the iTunes app, they’ve now been brought to the forefront with a great dedicated app, similar to what Apple did with iTunes U not long ago. There are several reasons why Apple may have decided to do this. The first, and most obvious reason is that podcasting as a medium of distributing information has surged in popularity recently. Even just within the technology space podcasts are becoming a popular way to spread information.
Apple is always on the lookout for ways to monetize content, and podcasts could become a perfect way to add to their cash pile. Currently, Apple makes nothing from having podcasts available on iTunes, and podcast creators need to find sponsors to make their ventures profitable.
iOS 6 may change all this. The new Podcasts app Apple released has a feature only visible currently to iOS 6 beta users. A “Redeem” button, similar to ones found in the iTunes and App Stores, is present in the app, if you’re running iOS 6 on your device. Currently all podcasts are free, so a “Redeem” button makes no sense. But, if Apple started a paid subscription model for podcasts, then it all starts to come together.
A subscription system could be handled the same way Apple does the App Store. Publishers would charge a subscription fee, and Apple would take its 30% commission right off the top. Everyone wets their beak. It’s an income stream for the content providers, and for Apple. Apple would then have some incentive to start promoting podcasts more than they currently do.
This is all speculation at the moment, but it’s an intriguing idea. I think we all look forward to seeing how Apple “Redeems” this.