Automattic, which runs Tumblr and WordPress, is buying a popular podcast app — Pocket Casts — from a collective of public radio groups, including NPR and BBC Studios. The company said that Pocket Casts will be joining Automattic, making it easier for podcast fans to discover new content and customize their listening experience.
- Built-in features: With built-in features like variable speed playback, trim silence option, volume boost, a sleep timer, personal media storage and standalone playback for Apple Watch, Pocket Casts delivers a streamlined and customized listening experience that users love, the blog post reads.
- Full-time entertainment: “As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new),” a WordPress.com blog post stated. “We will explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts,” it added.
- Innovations: The co-founders, Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson will remain in charge of the Pocket Casts team. It seems Automattic is already thinking about ways of incorporating the multi-platform app into its blogging tools.
- Integrated platform: Both blogs and podcasts use RSS feeds for distribution, so integrating the two platforms makes sense. Earlier this year, Spotify-owned Anchor teamed up with WordPress.com to turn written material into podcasts via text-to-speech tech. It’ll be interesting to see how the Pocket Casts deal factors into that partnership, if at all.
- Famed past life: Pocket Casts launched in 2010 and sold to NPR and a group of other public media groups eight years later. It’s been well-received, particularly from sites like The Verge, because it’s available across platforms. It started monetizing through a program called Pocket Casts Plus, which charges users a monthly subscription fee for features like desktop app access and a standalone Apple Watch app, in 2019.