In its bid to expand its brand and reach more users, WordPress.com and Tumblr owner Automattic has now acquired the podcast platform Pocket Casts. The company didn’t announce how much insight about the purchase but there is potential future integration within the WordPress system at some point later on.
“As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new),” the post states. “We will explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts.”
The service was launched as far back as 2010 and was then sold to NPR and a group of other public media groups by 2018. Pocket Casts is well-loved by a number of users and even media companies across the internet. The fact that the service is available on multiple platforms makes it even more useful.
There is also a premium-based service where the service makes money by charging a monthly subscription fee for features like desktop app access and a standalone Apple Watch application.
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As for the acquisition, there was an initial attempt to get the company sold back in January after its board of public media members voted to get rid of it and the reason for this is due to the fact that the company was losing money.
Pocket Casts is currently free to download and despite Pocket Casts Plus which is the premium service, they still lost some money. The report says NPR lost about US$800,000 LAST YEAR.
Even though Automattic might eventually integrate Pocket Casts within WordPress.com, Spotify-owned Anchor announced a partnership with WordPress.com back in February in a bid to let content creators turn their blog posts into audio content with a few clicks.
Although the feature relies on text-to-speech technology, which isn’t as personal and human-sounding as, well, a real human, the broad idea clearly speaks to WordPress’ interest in helping bloggers communicate through podcasts.
The acquisition of Pocket Casts is definitely meant to further enhance its reach and build the system in its own way. Although Pocket Casts is a listening app, it’s also well-known for its discovery features and curation. It’s possible Automattic could push people toward content from its WordPress users.