Pocket Casts, one of the most popular cross-platform podcast clients (and among the top ones listeners use to download episodes of AppStories), has been acquired by a consortium of public radio stations and podcast companies. Here's Shifty Jelly's Russel Ivanovic, writing on the company's blog:
Today we’re excited to announce a partnership with some of the biggest producers of podcasts in the world to take Pocket Casts to the next level. We’ve had a lot of companies in the past contact us about acquiring us and or Pocket Casts and we’ve always had one simple answer for them: thanks, but no thanks. In talking to each of them it was obvious that they didn’t have the best interests of our customers or us at heart and as much as cashing out and walking off into the sunset is a nice ideal, it’s a crummy outcome for all of you and in turn for us. You see we care so damn deeply about what we’ve built and our relationship with each and every one of you that we know deep down inside that would just eat away at us. That’s why when a combined group comprised of WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life approached us with the goal of partnering for the good of the entire podcast industry, we knew that this opportunity was something else entirely. Everything from their not for profit mission focus, to their unwavering belief that open and collaborative wins over closed walled gardens resonated deeply with us. Together we have the passion, scale and laser focus needed to achieve some truly great things. We’re not ready to talk about what those are just yet but we do want to quickly cover some questions you might have.
According to Ivanovic, Pocket Casts will remain a standalone, open, and premium podcast client in the short term. I'm curious to see how Pocket Casts will change over the next several months though. Large radio stations and podcast companies seem to have a certain affinity for locked-in ecosystems and proprietary listening features at the expense of the open nature of podcasting. I won't be surprised if Pocket Casts eventually prioritizes programming by the companies that own the app. However, I also hope that the folks at Shifty Jelly will be able to continue making the open, elegant, and powerful podcast app I've used over the years.
See also: Chris Welch's story at The Verge.