A recent report from Bloomberg claimed Apple was considering making original podcasts related to its Apple TV+ streaming service shows. Now we have further confirmation that these companion podcasts are indeed in the works. In an interview with Forbes, an executive producer of the Apple TV+ anthology series “Little America,” Lee Eisenberg, talks about the benefits of working with Apple — noting, by the way, that the show will have a podcast as well as a playlist featuring music from the series.
Neither of these has yet to launch, but are in line with what Bloomberg claimed Apple has been planning.
The audio programs — basically Apple’s own original podcasts — would help to market some of Apple TV+’s more high-profile shows. “Little America” was mentioned in Bloomberg’s report as one possibility, given the rave reviews it received from critics. Golden Globe nominee “The Morning Show,” which also won Jennifer Aniston a best actress award at the Screen Actor Guild Awards, was another.
Eisenberg, speaking to Forbes, confirmed the plans to cross-promote the new show across Apple’s platform.
“Apple is such a worldwide and multi-faceted brand,” he said. “We’re doing a podcast to delve more into the stories and the music on the show. There’ll also be a playlist for every episode. We’re putting out a book too. Apple has an infrastructure that just felt like it would be able to touch all of the different pieces that we wanted,” he added.
The comment was meant to highlight one of the benefits of working with a company like Apple, in a piece that laid out how different Apple’s approach is from rival networks and streaming services. For example, Apple was passionate about “Little America,” which focuses on the immigrant experience in America, even when traditional networks had passed with concerns over subject matter and lack of star power. In fact, Apple sold itself and its streaming service to “Little America’s” producers and creators, not the other way around.
It’s unclear when the “Little America” podcast or episode playlists will go live or to what extent Apple will be involved when they do. Apple has not responded to requests for comment on the matter.
Such a move would represent a big jump by Apple into the world of original podcasts, if and when it comes to pass. Today, the company’s selection of Apple-produced podcasts are limited to things like Apple keynotes, special events and quarterly earnings calls — not really what you think of as original audio programming.
Apple is alone among the top streaming services in terms of not having some sort of original audio programming play. Spotify has heavily invested in podcasts, and now has hundreds of originals and exclusives available to its users. It also acquired several podcast networks and podcast startups, including Gimlet, Parcast and Anchor. It’s now said to be in discussions with The Ringer.
Pandora is leveraging the assets of new parent SiriusXM to turn its talk shows into podcasts and develop a new podcast-and-audio format, called Pandora Stories.
Meanwhile, Amazon Music — now close to Apple in user numbers — wraps in a premium collection of Audible podcasts with its Prime membership. That means Amazon Prime subscribers get both free music as well as exclusives audio shows from Audible.
Even a smaller player, Stitcher, offers its own network of originals.
It seems original audio programming is something that’s now becoming table-stakes in the streaming music wars. Apple’s entry may be belated, but it will at least be differentiated as its podcasts will promote its shows and vice versa, instead of only being connected to music.