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If you’re an avid listener to all things BBC, including its podcasts – this news will hurt. Podcasts are the best things that came to the internet – you get to do other things while catching up on your favourite news or entertainment content. A quick look over the Google Podcast app and you’ll find that BBC has pulled off most of its podcasts.

Podcasts are a great way to unwind and since they can be found in almost every platform, this recent discovery will alarm fans of BBC podcasts. In a distribution row, Google’s app and Assistant have been blocked from accessing BBC podcasts and other content it produces early this month.

The British Broadcasting Corporation issued a statement concerning this issue. In the statement, the network said that they required Google to sign a license to link its podcasts – this includes the sharing of user data from the giant search engine company. If podcasts apps don’t meet BBC’s Terms of Use and the BBC’s Distribution Policy, then its contents are restricted from being accessed.



This requirement is unreasonable since the podcast apps link back to the original source sound file so that the podcast producers can get all the necessary metrics. User data such as location, device and total downloads is already available to producers. In the statement, it’s not made clear how Google violated these terms of use.

To block Google from accessing its content, the BBC uses a specific instruction in its robot.txt file to restrict access to its RSS feed. Google voluntarily respects this type of files unlike other podcast apps that don’t read them and that’s why you can find BBC podcasts on them. No new podcasts have appeared and older ones have been pulled off.

The BBC has been pulling off podcasts and other content it produces off of free distribution third-party podcast apps restricting them its proprietary BBC Sounds platform which is currently not available outside the UK. The app has received lukewarm reviews when compared to the previous app, BBC iPlayer Radio.

This also comes after Spotify new strategy for exclusive podcasts after purchasing Gimlet Media and Anchor. Channels, news and podcast platform from Amazon-owned Audible already has a subscription-based model with exclusive content.


So far, news bulletins haven’t been affected.

Are open podcasts coming to an end? Probably. The recent trend now is towards walled gardens and with podcasts going exclusive to certain apps, it’ll be difficult to find your favourite podcasts in some apps and you’ll be forced to deal with the inconvenience of downloading multiple podcast apps.

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