Is A Podcast War Brewing?


The Verge’s Nilay Patel and Ashley Carman sit down with Nick Quah to ponder that question. They discuss who will be left standing: Apple, Spotify or Luminary? And, of course, the Netflix of podcasting is part of the debate. And, why not, we haven’t written a story about that dreaded topic for about a week.

The team at The Verge conclude that a war is coming. Here’s Patel’s take: “I think the question of “why isn’t the podcast industry more like TV” is because all of those TV companies have their own distribution. NBC owns antennas in the world, and they control a massive distribution point: cable companies they sell to other cable companies, and that’s a massive distribution point. Netflix has an app with stuff we all want. But podcasts, for the longest time, have had one distribution point that mattered, which was Apple Podcasts. This is what I would describe as a lumbering organization that hasn’t really pushed innovation and distribution. And so all of the other business model innovations require new distribution. And I think it’s only now that you see Spotify getting into the game and you see Pandora getting in the game and Luminary getting in the game that the idea that this market will fragment has appeared.”

Carman agrees with Patel, the war is coming: “Because Apple had the majority share of where listeners were coming from, they were the winner, but they didn’t care. But now with Spotify having a large portion of the audio market and the ability to bring podcasts to so many more people.”

And Quah, the podcasting expert in the group sets them straight: “I don’t think we’re there yet.”

And how can you argue with Quah? It’s hard to say a war is brewing when Apple still receives over 60% of all downloads with Spotify a distant second (9.6%) and Luminary not even a player yet. Until proven otherwise free content is what the majority of consumers want.


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