Peter Kafka: Apple Discussed Podcast Deal With Bill Simmons

Peter Kafka, writing for Recode:

And more recently, Apple showed interest in signing up former ESPN star Bill Simmons to an exclusive audio podcast deal. Apple media boss Eddy Cue discussed the idea a couple of times with Simmons this summer, say people familiar with the talks, who say that they were preliminary at best.

In July, Simmons ended up signing a “major exclusive multi-year, multi-platform agreement” with HBO; an HBO rep says that deal includes a podcast that should debut in October. It’s reasonable to assume that those podcasts will be available on Apple’s iTunes platform, as well as other outlets.

Interesting idea, but I wonder how the exclusivity would have worked? Would listeners have to use Apple’s Podcast app? Would they use DRM on the audio? If they didn’t, what would keep people from listening to the show using non-Apple devices? Podcasts have always been like websites — something anyone can consume using any app on any device. The complete opposite of “exclusive”.

SiriusXM has exclusive audio shows (most famously, Howard Stern), but to listen to them on your phone, you have to use their app, and their app is absolutely terrible. Update: Maybe that’s what Apple was thinking with Simmons — it wouldn’t be a “podcast” really, but a show you can listen to on Apple Music?

Thursday, 3 September 2015