From Shifty Jelly’s blog:
That’s an easy question to answer for those that know a bit about the podcasting industry. The industry is amazing because it’s open. Anyone can publish a podcast and distribute it everywhere. No podcast is treated differently than another. However, “open” is not the default state of markets as they mature, as we’ve seen in other content businesses. When power is consolidated into the hands of just a few closed platforms, creators rarely win. And we care deeply about the fate of podcast producers everywhere.
It’s our mission to ensure that this doesn’t happen. If we succeed, we all benefit. If we lose, well, we feel it was a thing worth attempting. In the meantime there are some steps we need to take to get where we want to go, and we’ll talk about those when we’re ready. It’s early days, but we’re really excited for the future. Hope you all are too!
That’s what the guys at Shifty Jelly were doing before they were bought — building an open community around an open medium. I hope I’m wrong, but historically when a private company buys a product, it isn’t to further an “open” agenda, but to benefit their own product(s) at the cost of those who care that podcasts remain the way they are. Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but while I believe everything they are saying now (I’m sure they believe it too), I’m willing to bet this will slowly change over time, as it has so frequently in the past.
Chris Welch, on The Verge:
Pocket Casts, widely considered to be one of the best mobile apps for podcast listening, has been acquired by a collective group that includes NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago, and This American Life. “This unprecedented collaboration furthers public radio’s leading role as an innovator in audio discovery and distribution, while ensuring the continued support and growth of one of the most popular listening platforms on the market,” the companies said in a press release announcing the news. That team of stations and podcast producers are responsible for some of the format’s biggest hits like This American Life (duh), Serial, Radiolab, and Planet Money.
Moving forward, Pocket Casts will operate as a joint venture between the new owners. Philip Simpson and Russell Ivanovic, who formed Shifty Jelly (Pocket Cast’s developer) in 2008, will have unspecified “leadership roles.” The existing staff and development team is staying put. Owen Grover, a veteran of iHeartRadio / Clear Channel, has been named as Pocket Cast’s CEO. NPR’s apps including NPR One will remain in development.
Rest In Peace Pocket Casts, good luck Russell and Philip.
Everyone on iOS go get Overcast [App Store]. I have no clue what you should do if you’re on Android.