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Apple Strikes Deal to Turn Podcasts into TV Series, Movies

David Satin

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.

The Shrink Next Door

November 11, 2021

Inspired by the true story of Marty and the therapist who turned his life around…then took it over. When he first meets Dr. Ike, Marty just wants to get better at boundaries. Over 30 years, he’ll learn all about them—and what happens when they get crossed.

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.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is a subscription video streaming service for $6.99 a month that includes high-quality originals shows and movies including Best Picture winner “CODA,” popular sitcom “Ted Lasso,” and dramas like “The Morning Show” and “For All Mankind.” Apple TV+ is also home to MLB baseball games on Friday nights.

They have titles coming from Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jason Momoa, J.J. Abrams, M. Night Shyamalan, Jennifer Garner, and Octavia Spencer.

If you purchase an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV, you can get a free year of Apple TV+.

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