Merchant Innovation

Amazon Joins The Podcast Business

Amazon is hoping customers will want to pay for podcasts.

Apple’s podcast app has thousands and thousands of podcasts available entirely for free, but Amazon is banking on the fact that its Audible service can entice podcast enthusiasts to fork over $4.95 per month for its new podcast-dedicated Channels service.

Channels offers “an exclusive selection of ad-free original podcasts, comedy performances, and audio renditions of written articles,” according to Bloomberg Technology.

Amazon is hoping its podcast service will catch on quickly and has already lined up some exclusive content to premiere, including a series of sketches featuring American presidents and an eight-part “scientific and cultural examination” of the human breast.

“I’ve heard customers refer to podcasting as a flea market, where you’ll find some treasures, and it’s surrounded by a lot of junk,” Eric Nuzum, senior vice president for original content development at Audible, told Bloomberg. “You have to be in the mood to sort through the junk to find the treasure, and people don’t want to do that all the time.”

Although podcasting has been around for years, it’s still a largely untapped digital industry. No one has really figured out how to monetize it yet, so if Amazon and Audible can do that, it could introduce a new revenue stream to the online retail giant while at the same time detracting from Apple’s ad-supported model and further undercutting their brand.

According to Edison Research, only about one in every three people in the U.S. have ever listened to a podcast – but the demographic that has done so is wealthier and better educated and likes to listen to lots of podcasts.


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