Apple is teaming up with NPR to offer its first news content on its iTunes Radio streaming audio offering, Re/code reports. The new channel goes live today, offering 24 hours of live news and previously recorded programming including All Things Considered. Local affiliates will also start offering their own custom channels sometime in the coming weeks.
The NPR arrangement provides iTunes Radio with its first non-music offering, and it’s unclear whether this will lead to more offerings from other broadcasters in the future. The ad-supported iTunes Radio generally licenses tracks from record labels for playback to its users, so the relationship on the commercial side for this new arrangement isn’t exactly clear.
NPR’s digital broadcasts via the web and its apps garner the public broadcaster over 30 million unique visitors per month, according to Re/code, but iTunes Radio integration puts it in front of a considerable new potential audience. For Apple, it offers a way to help it differentiate its services in the face of strong competition from legacy services like Pandora. Rumors also suggest we’ll see Apple expand iTunes Radio to additional markets, including UK and Canada, early this year.
We’ve reached out to Apple to learn more, and will update if they provide additional comment.