The podcast business is getting competitive. Popular android podcast app, Pocket Casts has gone free for its app download and they have launched a subscription service under a new business model. The app had a $3.99 price to download the app from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store which was probably the reason not a lot of people downloaded it when you have free access to podcasts on Spotify and Google Podcasts. Pocket Casts has now removed this fee.
Users will now get to experience the clean user interface and powerful playback features the app has for free. You will also get to play around with other features such as offline listening, easy discovery of podcasts(under lists like this one), publishers, and hosts or dive deeper with episode search, playback controls, audio effects like trim silence and sorting, cross-platform sync and dark mode themes(Dark, Extra Dark and Light).
The free app will still get new features for you to enjoy.
To generate revenue even after ditching the asking price, the app now has Pocket Casts Plus that serves as as a monthly $99 cents or a $10 yearly subscription that will enable paying subscribers to have access to the desktop app, cloud storage and exclusive themes and app icons. You also get 10GB of cloud storage to upload and save custom files where you can listen to or watch podcast episodes before publishing, or storing audiobooks, lecture notes, and other long-form audio.
For existing users, they get three free years of Pocket Casts Plus.
This makes sense for Pocket Casts as it tries to compete with the likes of Spotify that use a freemium model, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.
Early this year, Spotify acquired Anchor and Gimlet media. They also signed an exclusive multiyear deal with Higher Ground Productions, Barack and Michelle Obama’s media company to produce podcasts for them. Spotify has begun to reap the benefits from its investments on podcasts with podcast audience doubling up since the year began and has grown by over 50 per cent since the last quarter.
Pocket Casts says that this new move is more closely aligned with the open-access model of its public media ownership – NPR, WBEZ Chicago, WNYC Studios, and This American Life are its co-owners The app owners predict only a small percentage of power users will opt for Pocket Casts Plus.
Owen Grover, Pocket Casts CEO adds that they will have more details on monetization in the future.