Podcasts – the last internet landgrab?

Estimated reading time: 2 min

Podcasts are growing so fast that the big-money VC community have started to throw funding towards podcasting platforms. Last year Spotify got in on the act with three podcast business acquisitions and now the mega-big guns of Luminary will launch with a premium paid offering of exclusive podcast content.

Internet land grabs for all

Since the utopian early days of 2006 when this blog started, the internet has been carved up into big business ownerships first around blogging, then around social media and podcasting is clearly the next target in the sights.

Luminary is funded to the tune of $100m and will launch this week as (yet) another podcasting app. Its point of difference is the paid-for exclusive podcasting content which it has negotiated with big-name media stars like Russell Brand and Trevor Noah.

Luminary podcast logo
Luminary logo

The backlash from the little folks (like myself) who have built the podcasting part of the internet was predictable. A big network offering an advertising-free podcast service using media stars is hard to compete against. Particularly as the ground for competition is not only the content, but also the advertising funded model.

Independents withhold their shows

And so the war starts. Big-name networks and podcasting apps like Anchor and Parcast (owned by Spotify) are withholding their content from Luminary’s app. Read the reports from Podcast Business Journal and The Verge.

My view?

I believe firmly in the RSS feed as the tool which enables, enhances and mediates between the podcast creator and her audience. As a distributed form of content, podcasters are uniquely reliant on RSS and apps chosen by listeners as their preferred download, stream and listen medium. We are pretty powerless to influence how aggregators like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and others handle our feeds. They set the rules.

Watch this space.

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