Pocket Casts Addresses Acquisition Concerns

Pocket Casts addressed some of their customer concerns over their recent acquisition by NPR, WNYC, WBEZ Chicago and This American Life. They included a paragraph from the new CEO, Owen Grover:

Our commitment to build an open platform stems directly from the mission-driven approach of our public radio partners — and we promise to ALWAYS respect your privacy. We also promise to take bold leaps with great new features that help you find your next favorite podcast, and most of all, have FUN!

The whole thing is worth a read, but the meat of it is this: the public radio consortium want to own a significant distribution channel so they can influence the podcast industry to keep it an open ecosystem and defend against the likes of Pandora, Stitcher, and Spotify.

In a previous post I took the position of devil’s advocate and tried to argue why the centralization of podcasting might be good. I still try and keep open mind about the open vs centralized debate. My main problem with the open side of the argument is that the most vocal proponents are those who are already successful in the industry so of course they don’t want it to change. What about the new talent and aspiring podcasters? How do they feel about the current state of affairs? Having spent so long listening to and thinking about podcasts I find it very easy to forget what the experience is like for the new-comer who wants to know how to listen to a podcast.

I think in the next few years we are going to see more innovation and attempts to win over listeners and creators from Apple, Pandora, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Anchor. And I’m pretty excited about it.