Apple invests in original podcasts to turn into Apple TV+ shows, report says

Apple has inked a deal with Futuro Studios to develop original podcasts, a Bloomberg report states. Apple’s TV studio reportedly led the investment, which will support the Pulitzer Prize-winning, non-profit media company in exchange for first dibs on any on-screen adaptations of new shows. Existing Futuro podcasts like “Suave” and “La Brega” use investigative journalism and non-fiction storytelling to explore topics like criminal justice and Latinx experiences.

Although Apple literally created the idea of the “podcast,” it’s no longer the industry leader. Now, more listeners in the U.S. get their podcasts from Spotify than Apple Podcasts. This could be because Spotify has invested over a billion dollars into acquisitions of studios like Gimlet and The Ringer, distribution tools like Anchor, and advertising and monetization companies like Megaphone, Whooshkaa and more. Meanwhile, SiriusXM owns Stitcher, and the New York Times acquired Serial Productions.

Apple’s commitment to podcasting hasn’t been as intense. Apple ramped up its creator-facing tools in an attempt to woo podcasters, but its investment in original content has mostly come from its TV arm, spurring non-fiction podcasts like “Hooked,” “Missed Fortune” and “Run, Bambi, Run.” Though Apple hasn’t shared many details about the progress of its TV streaming network, analysts estimate that Apple TV+ may have between 20 and 40 million subscribers, generating at least $1 billion in revenue, which is only a small fraction of Apple’s $400 billion annual revenue.

Like Apple, Amazon also has its own streaming platform, Prime Video, but its podcast investments seem to be relatively separate. Amazon acquired the studio Wondery, as well as some shows from Exactly Right Media like “My Favorite Murder.

According to Bloomberg’s report, Apple has spent up to $10 million on deals with studios like Futuro. Compared to Spotify’s hundred million dollar investments in individual studios, that number doesn’t seem too staggering.

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