Apple Inc. plans to fund original podcasts that would be exclusive to its audio service, according to people familiar with the matter, increasing its investment in the industry to keep competitors Spotify and Stitcher at bay.
Executives at the company have reached out to media companies and their representatives to discuss buying exclusive rights to podcasts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the conversations are preliminary. Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy, but has said it plans to pursue the kind of deals it didn’t make before.
Apple all but invented the podcasting business with the creation of a network that collects thousands of podcasts from across the internet in a feed on people’s phones, smartwatches and computers. The Apple Podcast app still accounts for anywhere from 50% to 70% of listening for most podcasts, according to industry executives.
The news sent shares of Spotify down as much as 2.7% to $150.09 in New York on Tuesday, marking the biggest intraday decline in three weeks. The stock had been up 36% this year through Monday’s close.
After years without making substantial changes to its podcasting business, which first launched in 2005, Apple has recently focused on upgrading its app and has added new tools for podcast makers. Still, new entrants have encroached on Apple’s once-indomitable position, attracting new users by offering exclusive access to original podcasts. Read more