Celebrity-driven network PodcastOne made podcasting news yesterday when it announced it will be removing all of its shows as well as shows it represents to advertisers from the Stitcher streaming-media app. From a statement released by PodcastOne:
Stitcher continues to sell and distribute programming without the proper rights, consent and compensation PodcastOne and its talent are due.
(PodcastOne) has repeatedly tried to work with Stitcher, and requested the removal of programming without verbal or written consent to distribute, in addition to the discontinuance of video ads as post, pre-roll and pop-ups attributed to these podcasts. Stitcher continues to make PodcastOne programming available on the home screen of their app to listeners who are already ‘following’ the programs.
Also, PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz was quoted as saying:
In some cases, Stitcher has absolutely no rights to carry our programs, and in others, no rights to sell or monetize our exclusively represented content in any way. This has been an ongoing problem, and enough is enough. You can’t just steal content without permission. Podcasting is breaking through big time, not only with consumers but with advertisers as well. I see new players coming into the market, all touting technology that will allow them to grab podcasts for their subscribers. Let this be a message – make sure you have secured the rights from content suppliers before you distribute programing you don’t have the rights to.
I surveyed PodcastOne’s “Top 25” shows and found that most of them are no longer listed with Stitcher. Exceptions include podcasts that don’t originate with PodcastOne, such as Radiolab and The Laura Ingraham Show.
PodcastOne’s stance is that Stitcher was using PodcastOne’s shows without the company’s consent. Given Pattiz’s statement, it looks like he’s unhappy with Stitcher running ads against PodcastOne’s content. Speculation has flooded podcasting forums since the news broke as to what exactly is happening here. Is PodcastOne falling back on its roots as a radio syndicator (Westwood One) and trying to get Stitcher to pay PodcastOne to distribute its shows? Did Stitcher offer PodcastOne any kind of revenue sharing for running ads against its content? If so, could the two parties not reach a mutually beneficial agreement? How do the shows PodcastOne represents for advertising feel about PodcastOne wanting them to leave Stitcher as well? The mind reels with possibilities.
Regardless, this isn’t the first time that Stitcher has run afoul of a notable podcast network. Back in 2011, Nerdist had its own drama that ended up in its shows being removed from Stitcher. That situation has since been cleared up, so there’s some potential for PodcastOne and Stitcher to heal their divide.
One thing is certain. As podcasting enters its tenth year, we can expect more of these types of disputes. Big players are here and in some cases, big money is at stake. This case of PodcastOne vs. Stitcher is only the beginning.