Pocket Casts has a new owner. Automattic, which runs WordPress.com and recently bought Tumblr, today announced it has acquired Pocket Casts, the well-regarded podcast app. The blog post announcing the purchase didn’t offer much in terms of an overview, but it did tease potential future integrations.
“As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features you need to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new),” the post read. “We will explore creating deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, which will make it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts. “
Pocket Casts was launched in 2010 and sold to NPR and a group of other public media groups eight years later. It has been well received, especially from sites like The edge, because it is available on all platforms. It started monetizing through a program called Pocket Casts Plus, which charges users a monthly subscription for features like access to desktop apps and a standalone Apple Watch app, in 2019.
Pocket Casts initially went on sale in January after its public media board voted for it. The app, which can be downloaded for free, was losing money, and NPR reportedly lost $ 800,000 last year. We’ve reached out to Automattic for feedback on how it plans to monetize the app, as well as whether all of Pocket Cast’s employees are staying full-time. We will update if we hear back.
Interestingly, the Spotify-owned Anchor app announced a partnership with WordPress.com in February this year, which allows people to turn blog posts into audio content with just a few clicks. While the feature relies on text-to-speech technology, which isn’t as personal and human as a real human, the general idea clearly speaks to WordPress’ value in helping bloggers communicate through podcasts.
Presumably, he will continue to build on that vision with his acquisition of Pocket Casts. Although Pocket Casts is a listening app, it is also famous for its discovery and curation features. It is possible that Automtic will push people to the content of its WordPress users.