Amazon Wants People to Pay for Podcasts

An anonymous reader shares a Bloomberg report: There are several hundred thousand podcasts available through Apple’s podcast app, and all of them cost the same amount: nothing. Starting today, you can have access to a far smaller slate of podcasts for a few bucks a month over at Audible, the audio books service owned by Amazon. Audible is betting that avid podcast fans will pay $4.95 per month for Channels, an exclusive selection of ad-free original podcasts, comedy performances, and audio renditions of written articles. The subscription is free for current Audible members. While Apple has always loomed large over podcasting, other big companies like Amazon, Google, and Spotify are beginning to inch into the space. Channels is Amazon’s first major foray into the business and puts it in a position to be both a platform for and creator of new shows. “They are doing to audio what they did with Prime Video — it’s vertical integration, and it puts them in a position where they can firmly participate in the larger development of culture,” said Nick Quah, who writes the podcasting newsletter Hot Pod.Is the right move? Will people for it? AdAge writes:A lot of people don’t think there will be a Netflix of podcasting. Andy Bowers, chief content officer of Slate’s Panoply Network, said the best chance for a subscription model to work would be to offer one that offers ad-free versions of many of the most popular podcasts that exist today. “Short of that — and I don’t see anyone doing that at the moment — I think the ad-supported version is here to stay for a while,” he said. Still, a handful of other podcasting businesses have begun experimenting with paid premium services. Acast, a podcast app, created an option for its podcasters to begin charging for content earlier this year. Midroll Media charges $4.99 a month for a service called Howl that offers access to original shows and archives of popular podcasts like “WTF with Marc Maron.”


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