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Pocket Casts makes its podcast app free and launches a subscription service

Pocket Casts, a popular podcast app, is changing its strategy to make money and launches a subscription service. The company previously charged users between $ 4 and $ 10 to download the app, depending on the operating system and platform. The app is now free, but users have the option to pay $ 0.99 per month or $ 10 per year for a premium service.

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The subscription service, called Pocket Casts Plus, offers access to desktop apps, exclusive app icons and themes & 10 GB cloud storage for people who want to upload their audio and video content. People who have previously purchased the desktop app will receive three years of free Pocket Casts Plus.

Owen Grover, CEO of Pocket Casts, imagines that podcast makers use the cloud storage to listen to or watch a program before they publish it. He also says that people who like Pocket Casts functionality can use it for all their media. Regarding the new subscription model, Grover says the team realized that the one-off download costs were "outdated", so they dropped it.

"Not because we are trying to move users to Pocket Casts Plus and recover that revenue, but so that we can better adapt to the open-access philosophy of our public media ownership," he wrote in an email The edge. "In fact, we predict that only a small percentage of main users will choose Pocket Casts Plus." (NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and This American life Pocket Casts acquired in 2018.)

If Pocket Casts does not expect most people to pay for its premium service, it is unclear how it will recoup the lost revenue from app downloads. Grover says the company will have more information about generating revenue in the future.

Pocket Casts always competed with Apple Podcasts on iOS, but was also considered one of the best podcast apps for Android. However, now that Spotify wants to capture more of the podcast listener market and launch Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts has more competition and it is harder to get people to buy a podcast listener.