The end of podcasting as we know it
Or how all content on the internet is eventually closed
I don't think the world of podcasting as we know it today is long for this world. When any media reaches a sufficient size it naturally forms into a power curve where the majority of all people consume a small percentage of all of the content.
With podcasting gaining in popularity many of the most popular podcasts are generating a lot of money. A lot of these podcasts are also produced by traditional media outlets like NPR. The increase in popularity is bringing money to the medium and with that advertisers want to be able to measure the efficacy of their ads. Big publishers also want the tools to be able a/b test their podcasts to see how they can improve them.
The New York Times recently reported that Apple has met with some big podcasters to hear about their frustrations. It's largely thought that data is the primary thing requested by the publishers. Marco Arment, a popular podcaster and developer of a podcatcher, wrote a reaction about his opposition and fear that Apple will give this data to the publishers.
All of Marco's fears are dead on, but it's already too late. NPR has made their own app that gives them all this data and more publishers will follow. It's in their best interest to. This leads to only two foreseeable outcomes:
- Podcatchers provide data or don't get access to the content
- Major publishers limit access to content from only their own apps
As long as podcasting continues to increase in popularity it seems highly unlikely that one of these outcomes wouldn't come to pass. Given these options I'd rather give up the data than the user's experience. Unfortunately if Apple shares Marco's unwillingness to share data I can very easily see customers having to download each publisher's app independently.