What do Apple’s new subscriptions mean for podcast advertising?

What do Apple’s new subscriptions mean for podcast advertising?

Apple’s recently announcement that publishers will be able to offer premium subscriptions to listeners has people curious about what this means for podcast advertising. Let’s dive into the specifics.

Publishers can choose between free, freemium, or paid

Apple Podcasts has always supported free shows, but they are now introducing 2 new options. Freemium shows can be regular RSS feeds with additional benefits for paying subscribers in Apple Podcasts. Paid shows are only available for paying subscribers in Apple Podcasts.

Publishers can craft their subscriptions however they want

Ad-free listening” is a suggested way that a publisher can add value to their premium offering, but there’s no set benefits that a publisher has to include in their premium offering. They can continue to release ad-supported episodes and give paying subscribers bonus episodes or other perks.

Apple’s staying out of the relationship between brands and publishers

On the subject of advertising, the “Apple Podcasters Program Agreement” states:

Subject to the Apple Requirements and applicable law, You may include advertising, sponsorship or other similar commercial messages in Your Podcasts, and for the avoidance of doubt, no amounts are owed to Apple with respect to any proceeds related to such advertising.

Premium content cannot have dynamically-inserted content

The content in Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is not served from the publisher’s RSS feed. It is uploaded directly to Apple as a WAV or FLAC file. So any advertising in premium content will need to be embedded.

Premium content can only be measured by Apple

With the content coming from Apple, a publisher’s host and measurement partners can’t get performance data outside of Apple’s own podcast analytics, which excludes data from listeners who opted out of sharing their diagnostics and usage information.

What does this mean for podcast advertising?

I’d bet that most publishers that choose to offer a premium subscription will remove ads from their premium content. Listeners will expect this as a perk of their subscription, and reconciling analytics from multiple sources will complicate the value they are pitching to brands, especially if they are working with a measurement partner to help brands understand how their ads is performing across multiple shows, publishers, campaigns, platforms, etc. In conclusion, I expect very little will change for the world of podcast advertising.