Who doesn’t love a good podcast? Podcasts are incredibly versatile, they can be informative, engaging, enraging, or just good old-fashioned escapist entertainment. However, it seems as though at least one streaming service is looking to make podcasts the foundation of future projects. According to a report from Forbes, Apple is looking to bulk up its future series and movie offerings by investing in podcasts.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the media giant had signed a deal with the podcast studio Futuro, in which Apple will provide funding for future podcast ventures. In return, Apple receives the first right of refusal when any of the studio’s podcasts’ rights are sold for TV or movie development.
Apple has already developed two podcasts into series for its streaming service Apple TV+: “WeCrashed” and “The Shrink Next Door.” Apple lined up major stars including Anne Hathaway, Jared Leto, Paul Rudd, and Will Ferrell for these shows, suggesting that the company sees podcast adaptations as potentially significant drivers of subscriptions and views.
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Apple isn’t the only company that is signing podcasters to exclusive deals either. Amazon has also made deals to exclusively distribute podcasts, such as the wildly popular “My Favorite Murder.” There has been no attempt as yet to adapt those podcasts for Prime Video, but as of 2020, “My Favorite Murder” was averaging 35 million downloads every month, according to another Forbes report. Such numbers are not easy to ignore, and Amazon does not typically forgo attempts to cash in on popular properties.
In 2018, Julia Roberts and Bobby Cannavale headlined the Prime Video series “Homecoming,” which was based on the Gimlet Media psychological thriller podcast of the same name. The next year, Jessica Biel and Stanley Tucci starred in the Facebook Watch series adaptation of the popular fiction podcast “Limetown”
Content based on podcasts is also very popular at the moment. Apple TV+’s Emmy-nominated comedy “Only Murders in The Building” stars Steve Martin, Selena Gomez, and Martin Short as three friends who start their own true crime podcast, is one of Hulu’s most popular shows.
Apple has already invested $10 million in podcast development deals in recent months, so clearly, the streamer’s commitment to the medium is very real. While it’s unclear if these development deals involved TV and movie rights like the Futuro agreement did, all of the deals were negotiated by the Apple TV division of the company, so the chances are good that there will be more podcast-to-series orders in the future for the streamer.