UK public broadcaster, The BBC, has overnight invested an undisclosed amount of capital into podcast service Pocket Casts at a time when one of its competitors, Spotify, has been building exclusive content and pay walled services.
However, its seems that Pocket Casts have been gaining allies in public broadcast media as an alternative to pay walled content player’s like Spotify and Pocket Casts CEO Owen Grover has been quick to point out the BBC’s support of the company’s vision:
[The BBC is] incredibly aligned with the model that we’re pursuing. We’re focused around open ecosystem. We’re thinking about the necessity of a sustainable future for the medium. We stand for open access rather than walled gardens.
While the exact amount invested hasn’t been disclosed, the partnership with the BBC does more for Pocket Casts than just helping pay the bills and keep the lights on. Mr Grover pointed out that the support of public media companies like the BBC can also help the app grow its audience with radio hosts potentially encouraging listeners to try the app out or to even tune into their regular programm via a podcast on the app.
It does seem that this strategy is somewhat paying off, according to the company’s internal data, with Grover explaining in an interview with The Verge, that:
Obviously our goal is both to continue to grow the audience, leveraging the reach of our partners, and to drive sustainability for our platform long-term through our monetization efforts. Obviously, those are not intrusive. They are all, we think, reasonable, and we think fit with our brand image or brand approach.
Now while Pocket Casts does offer a premium subscription service that allows users access to a desktop app, as well as other in-app features, Grover has said that the team is also experimenting with “paid placement,” which allows and gives podcast shows a more prominent spot in the app for a certain price.
With this investment from the BBC along with major reputable programs putting their weight behind Pocket Casts it remains to be seen if this strategy will pay off in the long term, but short term it’s good to see a major public broadcaster invest in a little Aussie tech outfit.