Podcasts are more popular than ever, and paid Apple Podcast subscriptions have risen remarkably in the last year. Apple informed Digiday that the number of paid podcast subscribers climbed more than 300 percent since June of 2021. Apple didn’t provide numbers on either the number of paid subscribers or podcasts that offered paid subscriptions. On the other hand, the company highlighted that more than a quarter of the 100 “Top Shows” offer a subscription option.
What’s the big deal with Apple Podcast Subscriptions? They offer select podcasts with benefits like being free of advertising. For NBC’s Dateline true crime podcasts, listeners get ad-free listening, early access to new episodes and series, and bonus episodes. A subscription to Dateline Premium is $2.99 monthly or $29.99 annually, with a 7-day free trial. Apple grabs 30% of that fee for commission in the first year, while dropping to 15% in the second and subsequent years.
The subscriptions give the podcasters — in this case, NBC — a new way to package and sell content to consumers. Since the listeners sign up through the Apple Podcasts app, NBC doesn’t benefit from demographic information. On the other hand, the company gets a new revenue stream and doesn’t have to protect listener privacy.
With Dateline, that revenue stream could be significant for NBC. In July, audio versions of the Dateline TV broadcasts had over 30 million downloads. Offering premium content may increase that number and Dateline’s standings in the podcast charts. Podtrac showed Dateline as being in sixth place for the top 10 July podcasts, while Apple’s charts showed Dateline in eighth position.