BBC invests in open podcasting champion Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts Home Page on Galaxy S9
Pocket Casts Home Page on Galaxy S9 (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The BBC has invested an undisclosed amount of capital into Pocket Casts.
  • The public broadcaster is throwing its weight behind Pocket Casts' vision of an open and free ecosystem for podcasts.
  • This is in contrast to Spotify, which has recently been trying to grow its subscriber base by offering more exclusive content.

Unlike Spotify's plans for building a massive library of exclusive content, Pocket Casts argues for an open and free ecosystem for podcasts. And its found natural allies in the world of public media, the latest of these being the BBC, which has decided to invest in the Spotify-competitor.

While neither party has disclosed the amount of the investment, Pocket Casts CEO Owen Grover was quick to point out the BBC's support of his company's vision:

[The BBC is] incredibly aligned with the model that we're pursuing. We're focused around open ecosystem. We're thinking about the necessity of a sustainable future for the medium. We stand for open access rather than walled gardens.

Leaving aside the apparent dig at Spotify, the partnership with the BBC does more for Pocket Casts than just helping pay the bills. Grover points out that the support of public media companies can also help the app grow its audience, as radio hosts encourage listeners to try the app out or to even tune into their regular programming via a podcast on the app.

The strategy has shown some success according to the company's internal data, Grover told The Verge in an interview. Whether this support can help it effectively compete with Spotify's vastly superior resources in the long term, however, remains to be seen.

If you bought Pocket Casts' web app, you now get Pocket Casts Plus for life

Muhammad Jarir Kanji