Photo credit: TechCrunch
Among the many changes coming with iOS 17, Apple will also introduce a new feature that will allow users to connect a content subscription they are using in an App Store app to Apple Podcasts to access a range of additional benefits . For example, if a subscription-based news publisher also offers exclusive podcasts to its subscribers, it might choose to make those subscriber-only episodes available through Apple Podcasts via this new feature. Previously, if a content publisher wanted to offer podcasts via paywall, they had to start a separate Apple Podcasts subscription.
Publishers and their subscribers may not have liked this facility because it required paying customers to pay again for the exclusive podcast content.
Perhaps because of this complication, the New York Times launched its own audio streaming app last month, making all of its podcasts available, including some that are only for paying subscribers. However, it’s not clear if consumers are actually interested in installing and using a separate app outside of their favorite podcast player just to access NYT’s audio content.
Under the new iOS 17 configuration, a publisher like the NYT could instead take advantage of the new linking mechanism to ensure its subscribers can access their exclusive content in the Apple Podcasts app, which many customers are already using.
Apple also simplifies linking and authentication. In fact, after updating to iOS 17, the first thing users see is a screen informing them of their existing subscriptions, which will automatically connect if they originally subscribed to the publisher’s app via an in-app purchase on the App Store.
In the meantime, those who have subscribed elsewhere — including directly on the publisher’s site — can go to the podcast’s channel page and click a link that says “Already a subscriber?” They can then log in and authenticate themselves via the web.
As for the exclusive content itself, Apple says it really could be anything they want to offer as long as it’s audio.
Launched in 2021, Apple Podcasts subscriptions have typically been leveraged to give paying customers an added benefit, such as ad-free listening, early access to episodes, bonus content, archive access, or the ability to support favorite creators, among others.
Apple expects the new feature to be most popular on news apps, health and fitness apps, and kids and family apps.
The company has a handful of early adopters who will make their paid audio content available to subscribers from day one of iOS 17’s launch. These include Bloomberg, Calm, The Economist, L’Équipe, Lingokids, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and WELT. (We noticed that The NYT isn’t on this list – but there’s still time!)
In addition to this update, Apple is also making it possible to listen to paid audio stories from its own subscription service, Apple News+, through Apple Podcasts. This includes professionally narrated audio stories from top magazines and newspapers previously only available in the Apple News app.
The Podcasts app itself is also updated with an updated “Now Playing” theme, with a background that shows the podcast graphic, improved queue management controls, support for episode graphics, and a redesigned Up Next section .