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Apple’s relationship with the Podcast is complicated; it may have been pretty much responsible for the success of the Podcast, but it’s also been criticized for its treatment of the downloadable audio medium. However, a new report called Future of Podcasting 2015 has found that perhaps Apple has been doing enough after all – 82% of mobile podcast listeners do so on iOS.
Furthermore, 78% of that use the native iOS Podcasts app.
The report, put together by social audio streaming service Clammr, found that the majority of podcast listens come via iOS (Android made up 16% while other platforms managed only 2%), but that this becomes even more impressive when it’s considered that Android has a larger smartphone marketshare – 53% to iOS’ 41% (Other makes up 6%).
The report draws various explanations and conclusions, noting that a lack of a podcast directory has limited Android’s podcasting growth. Of course, iTunes has a directory built within iTunes of shows that have been manually submitted by Podcast-creators. The majority of third-party ‘Podcatcher’ apps that are available on Android (and plenty in the iOS App Store too) gather and pull in RSS podcast feeds, but the approach appears less intuitive (to consumers at least) without an authoritative storefront like Apple’s.
In addition, Apple’s Podcast app has been installed as a native app on iOS since iOS 8, increasing the visibility of both Apple’s platform and the medium itself.
Further conclusions delve into the monetization of Podcasts. The majority are free, but increasingly ads now feature, and some have been known to implement paywalls. The report says that “Podcasting needs to become move discoverable and social in order to drive audience growth”, while Podcasters themselves need to be better at seeing a “pathway to monetization.”
When it comes to solutions, or platform-providers, the report says that solutions must account for “a smartphone OS ecosystem that features fragmented tools on Android and vertical integration of playback experience on Apple.”
A brief history
Podcast’s are synonymous with Apple, and its original iPod technology. The term was first coined in 2004 by a Guardian journalist that created a portmanteau out of the terms ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’.
Of course, the road has been rockier since then. Independent developers of podcasting platform technology found themselves for a period on the receiving end of some Apple cease and desist letters for using the term ‘pod’, which Apple believed was synonymous with iPod, and therefore its trademark.
Eventually, in June 2005, Apple introduced native support for podcasts within iTunes 4.9. Though this brought the technology to millions more, it could also be said that the advancement of the podcast medium by independent developers ceased.
However, it appears that Apple’s support has paid off and it continues to lead in the development, or at least the awareness, of Podcasts.
The full report can be viewed on Slideshare.