Monday, July 2, 2018

Netflix of Podcasts

Scott Porch:

The podcast business has been wringing its hands for years about when a “Netflix for podcasts” would emerge to generate subscription revenue for contact creators–either in place of or in addition to advertising revenue. Now CastBox is introducing a paid-podcast platform similar to Stitcher’s Stitcher Premium–though, technically speaking, both resemble Hulu—allowing subscribers to pay a little bit extra to ditch the ads—more than Netflix.


Currently, Apple is the closest thing the podcast business has to a Netflix–albeit one which doesn’t charge–but dominant players don’t dominate forever. Apple Podcasts and iTunes’ share of the U.S. podcast player market slipped from 69.3% in May 2017 to 63.3% in May 2018, according to data provided to Fast Company by podcast hosting company Libsyn. That six-point slide was largely Spotify’s gain, and Google’s new Google Podcasts app for Android is entering the market at a time when smart speakers like Google Home are just beginning to show up in the listening metrics.

Matt Birchler:

I believe the “Netflix of podcasts” nomenclature is misleading. Netflix disrupted the video market by making it cheaper and easier to watch the movies and TV shows that you love, and to do it all form a unified interface. It’s already cheap to listen to the shows you love in the unified interface of your choice, and it’s pretty darn easy to find the shows you want. The types of services suggested by Stitcher and CastBox would make listening to podcasts less unified, cost more, and Mayne, just maybe be a little easier to subscribe to. You know, how Google Meet only works in Chrome for some stupid reason, or how many sites only worked in IE6 years ago.

Update (2018-07-03): Marco Arment:

Nobody wants a “Netflix of podcasts”.

Producers already control their own distribution and monetization, and have no reason to add middlemen.

And listeners don’t want to use (or pay for) many separate apps and services to get all of their podcasts.

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