A group of American public radio networks have joined together to purchase popular Podcasting app Pocket Casts in what is a big deal for the podcasting industry.
Created by Russell and Philip in South Australia under their crazy company “Shifty Jelly” the Pocket Casts app is one of the most popular apps for listeners to podcasts and is famous for it’s focus on listeners, as well as their light hearted app update notes.
In a blog post today, founder Russell Ivanovic spoke about the deal : “Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level. We’ve had a lot of companies in the past contact us about acquiring us and or Pocket Casts and we’ve always had one simple answer for them: thanks, but no thanks.”
“In talking to each of them it was obvious that they didn’t have the best interests of our customers or us at heart and as much as cashing out and walking off into the sunset is a nice ideal, it’s a crummy outcome for all of you and in turn for us. You see we care so damn deeply about what we’ve built and our relationship with each and every one of you that we know deep down inside that would just eat away at us. That’s why when a combined group comprised of WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely.”
The “FAQ” on their website is trademark fun from Shifty Jelly but also makes it very clear nothing is going to change with the app – though you could expect perhaps some tweaks here and there.
It seems clear that the intention of the acquisition is less around controlling the app, and more about learning more about the habits and scale of podcast listening to better inform their own content choices.
Which begs the question – why did the the Public Radio stations get this acquisition and not a big Commercial Radio venture?