Tag Archives: Stitcher

Stitcher Releases Lineup of Original Podcasts



Stitcher RadioPodcast-consumption app Stitcher has gone thru a lot of changes over the last few years. Once hailed as the second-largest destinations for podcast listeners after Apple Podcasts, Stitcher’s fortunes have faded somewhat during this transitional period. The service was sold twice, with the latest acquisition coming from Scripps/Midroll/Earwolf. Last year, it was announced that Howl, Earwolf’s premium content platform, would be migrated into Stitcher. But the company isn’t stopping there. Stitcher announced this week it would be launching a collection of original shows of its own that won’t be kept behind a paywall:

…with a handful of popular shows joining together to form a new network. Shows on the new Stitcher network are available for free everywhere listeners access podcasts, including iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Soundcloud and Stitcher itself, and are supported through advertising.

Stitcher’s new original show lineup consists of these podcasts:

  • Katie Couric podcast (news, politics. current events, pop culture)
  • The Sporkful (food)
  • First Day Back (serialized non-fiction narrative/documentary style podcast)
  • The Longest Shortest Time (parenting)
  • Tell Me Something I don’t Know (gameshow)

Stitcher also announced it has an upcoming show that focuses on reading hosted by LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow fame.


Stitcher Launches Stitcher Premium Subscription Service



Stitcher RadioPodcast syndication platform Stitcher has launched a new premium tier. Appropriately called Stitcher Premium, the new paid version of the service was announced in a recent e-mail:

…we are launching Stitcher Premium, a new premium subscription option for Stitcher listeners. Stitcher Premium includes:

*Ad-free Listening – Premium removes the extra ads that Stitcher includes in our free product and also includes completely ad-free episodes of top shows like ‘WTF with Marc Maron,’ ‘Comedy Bang! Bang!,’ ‘Stranglers’ and many more.
*Bonus Episodes – extra bonus episodes of popular shows available exclusively on Stitcher Premium. Listen to bonuses from ‘Game of Owns,’ ‘Superego,’ and ‘Harris Football,’ with more still to come.
*Stitcher Originals – over 40 exclusive shows created and produced by Stitcher, from the comedy adventure of ‘Uncle Bertie’s Botanarium’ to the parody of ‘Hardcore Game of Thrones.’ The Stitcher Originals catalog is growing into the largest catalog of ad-free premium audio.
*Comedy Albums – listen to over 120 comedy albums from comedians like Louis CK, Maria Bamford, Aziz Ansari, and Hannibal Buress.

According to its FAQ, Stitcher Premium will replace Stitcher’s previous premium service, Stitcher Plus. Stitcher Premium launch pricing is $4.99/month or $34.99/year. Also from the FAQ, Stitcher reveals that Stitcher Premium will eventually replace Midroll’s Howl app (Midroll parent E.W. Scripps acquired Stitcher earlier this year) :

(Q) I’m also a Howl app subscriber – weren’t you guys bought by Midroll and isn’t this content the same that comes with Howl?
(A) Yes! You can still access your Howl content via the Howl app. We are working on a migration plan for Howl subscribers to Stitcher Premium – stay tuned!

In the e-mail quoted above, Stitcher also noted that podcasters who are currently listed with Stitcher can ask to be included in Stitcher Premium by contacting Stitcher directly. But the e-mail doesn’t say anything about what benefits, if any, come from being included in Premium. Will podcasters who get accepted into Stitcher Premium receive a revenue share from subscriptions? Is Stitcher Premium only for “premium” content that’s not available thru a podcast’s public RSS feed? Hopefully, these questions will be answered soon.


E.W. Scripps Buys Stitcher



Stitcher RadioE.W. Scripps has acquired the popular podcast listening service Stitcher. Those of you who have a podcast on Stitcher may have received an email about this acquisition.

Stitcher is one of the most established and popular streaming audio listening brands. It is accessible via free iPhone and Android apps, on the dashboard of more than 50 car models, and at stitcher.com Stitcher facilitates discovery and streaming for more than 65,000 podcasts to 8 million registered users.

Both E.W. Scripps and Stitcher have stated that Stitcher is now part of Midroll Media. The Stitcher announcement states that Midroll is a podcast production company and advertising network. It is the parent company of the Earwolf network, the Howl premium subscription service, and the Midroll advertising network (which is owned by E.W. Scripps).

Stitcher states that Stitcher listeners will continue to have access to audio through Stitcher’s apps. Email that was sent to podcasters who have their podcasts available on Stitcher states that those podcasts will still be available via the Deezer platform. The E.W. Scripps press release states that Scripps and Deezer agreed to a $4.5 million cash purchase price.

The email sent to podcasters who have podcasts on Stitcher states that there are no plans to shut down the Stitcher service. Instead, they plan on accelerating improvements to the Stitcher platform as well as launching new content partner services in the coming year.

The Wall Street Journal says that a person familiar with the acquisition called it an “acquihire”. Stitcher’s dozen employees will join Midroll.


Podcasts Now Available thru Deezer



Deezer logoIt seemed inevitable that podcasts would eventually come to Deezer, the streaming service that acquired Stitcher last year. Earlier this month, Deezer added over 20,000 podcasts and radio shows to its catalog. Previously, the platform had only been delivering music to its subscribers.

Deezer is based in France. As such, the new spoken-word content is being rolled out first in its home country as well as European neighbors Sweden and United Kingdom. The company will expand this new offering to other countries over time but no exact timeline has been provided as to when it might reach the rest of the world.

A complete directory of Deezer’s podcasts isn’t immediately available online. But the company is working with partners like Slate, Financial Times, NPR and WNYC to provide its initial spoken word content. It seems only logical that all of Stitcher’s catalog would eventually be rolled into Deezer, and that the Stitcher platform itself would be killed off. Regardless, it looks like Deezer’s podcast directory will be similar to Spotify in that it’s a closed environment, available only to those who have access to a partnership.

If Stitcher is destined to be ultimately subsumed into Deezer, there’s some hope that Stitcher’s partner portal will go with it. In which case, we can expect Deezer’s podcast directory to be open to user submissions. In the end, if companies like Spotify and Deezer really want to compete with Apple in terms of podcast consumption, they’ll need catalogs that carry everything the space has to offer. Not just shows produced by big names and heavy hitters.


Spotify Could Be the Next Big Podcast Directory



spotify logoDigital media platforms are all about one thing: content. Apple has known this for years, and that’s why the company has expanded its iTunes Store to include much more than just music. And while Apple was a trailblazer in its adoption of podcasting, other players have followed suit over the years. Now, it looks like Swedish music streamer Spotify is poised to add podcasts to its own platform.

According to Bloomberg Business, Spotify has held some talks with potential content partners that would bring podcasts to its streaming music player. It’s not yet known who these potential partners may be, or if the Spotify platform will be as open as the iTunes Store in terms of accepting podcast submissions.

The article notes that Spotify is already streaming some content similar in nature to podcasts:

Spotify, which hosts some podcast-like audio such as Spanish lessons along with millions of songs, plans to add more non-music programming, according to the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be identified. While the discussions have occurred for several months, there is no firm plan or introduction date, one of the people said.

One problem that all music streaming services face is the high cost of licensing songs from major labels. Since podcasts are ostensibly free, Spotify adding them to its platform would be an easy way to bolster its catalog with a diverse array of content without having to cut big royalty checks to producers. Podcasting within Spotify may even include video, allowing users to switch between audio and video on the fly.

This news follows other recent moves by Spotify competitors. Last year, Apple acquired Swell, a spoken word-focused audio streaming app, and Deezer bought out Stitcher. It’s still unclear as to why the bigger companies in both those deals even made these moves. But in the end, it all comes down to the content. Everyone’s looking for more of it or at least, different ways to curate and distribute it.


5 Posts to Revisit from the First Year of Podcaster News



PCNNEW.fwToday marks the first anniversary of the unofficial launch date of Podcaster News (and that’s no April foolin’). We’ve presented a lot of news, how-to’s, and commentary on podcasting over the last year. And we’re looking forward to continuing that coverage into the future. I took a look back thru the Podcaster News archive and put together a list of posts from our first year that are worth revisiting. Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Beware of Podcast Snake Oil Sellers Promising Riches: This is the first post I contributed to the site that really got some attention. During the first quarter of 2014, it seemed like everyone and their other had launched a podcast training course. This post was a word of caution to new podcasters that they should be weary of teachers/consultants who charge high prices with the promise of great “podcasting riches” down the road.
  • 54 Seconds (The Wadsworth Constant): Jackson Rogers wrote about “The Wadsworth Constant,” a kind of law that dictates that the first 30% of any online video can be skipped in order to get to the real content. The Wadsworth Constant applies to more than just video. There’s definitely a lesson here for podcasters, too.
  • A Decade of Podcasting: Podcaster News founder and executive editor Todd Cochrane takes a look back at the first ten years of his podcasting journey.
  • Is Swapping Reviews Hurting Podcasting?: Dave Jackson takes a look at something that’s really turned into a phenomenon over the last year; iTunes review swapping. Dave breaks down what swapping is and offers some commentary on why it’s really not helping anybody.
  • Norm Pattiz of PodcastOne: “We were looking at acquiring Stitcher.” – PCN Show 008: It seemed only fair to include at least one episode of our fledgling Podcaster News Show. This episode turned out to be a real bombshell as I was able to interview Norm Pattiz during last year’s drama between PodcastOne and Stitcher.

Thanks to all of the readers and contributors here at Podcaster News for making it a spectacular first year! If I missed anything memorable from the last twelve months, let me know in the comments.


Norm Pattiz of PodcastOne: “We were looking at acquiring Stitcher.” – PCN Show 008



Norm PattizIn response to the article I posted yesterday about the recent dust up between PodcastOne and Stitcher, I was contacted today by a PodcastOne rep who said that the company’s Chairman/CEO, Norm Pattiz, was willing to do an interview to try and shed some light on the situation. I’m presenting that interview today (with Norm’s permission) as my November contribution to the Podcaster News Show.

Some highlights from our discussion:

  • PodcastOne was, at one point, considering acquiring Stitcher.
  • Stitcher is still syndicating some of PodcastOne’s show, despite PodcastOne’s request that they stop.
  • PodcastOne hasn’t seen any significant decrease in downloads since Sitcher removed PodcastOne’s shows.
  • Pattiz says Sitcher doesn’t have a “robust” revenue generating system.

Hear all of this and more in the full podcast episode below.

Original image by PeteSessa from Wikimedia, used under Creative Commons license.


PodcastOne vs. Stitcher: Shots Fired



PodcastOne LogoCelebrity-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.

And that:

(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.


Stitcher Acquired By Deezer



Stitcher RadioPodcast-consumtion app Stitcher has been acquired by European streaming-music service Deezer. From the Deezer blog:

Deezer has acquired award winning radio app Stitcher to provide access to the best in entertainment and talk radio – including NPR, This American Life, Freakonomics, Wall Street Journal, WTF with Marc Maron, Savage Lovecast, BBC, CBC, RTÉ and more.

Stitcher is the leading on-demand internet radio service that features news, entertainment, comedy and sports radio. By giving you access to 35,000 radio shows in addition to 35 million songs, Deezer will bring you the talk as well as the tune.

Next year Stitcher will be integrated into Deezer, so you’ll be able to experience your favourite talk shows and podcasts whenever, wherever. We’ll also make sure to recommend shows that we know you’ll like, helping you to discover more gems like Nerdist, The Moth or Slate.com’s Culture Gabfest.

Stitcher sent two e-mails today in regards to the acquisition. One to listeners and one to partners (Sittcher refers to all podcasters that have provided shows to their directory as “partners”). Both e-mails say pretty much the same things. From the partner e-mail:

Today, we’re pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Deezer, the first truly worldwide digital music streaming service available in over 180 countries, with 16 million monthly active users. Deezer loves audio as much as we do and strongly believes in our mission to deliver a world class listening experience.

First things first: Stitcher isn’t going anywhere. We will continue to support and improve the app, and your listeners will still be able to hear your show on Stitcher the way they always have. Additionally, it is our goal to help you reach audiences not just on Stitcher, but around the globe as we work with Deezer to introduce spoken audio into their products. We’ll continue to provide you with timely updates as we work on new features and integrations.

Together with Deezer, Stitcher will be able to accelerate the growth of our platform and the audience for your shows. We are dedicated to continuing to work hard to build an industry standard set of tools for our content partners and create the best listening experience in the world.

It looks like little will change in the short term for podcasters who are distributing thru Stitcher. It’s too early to say what this acquisition will mean for the future of Stitcher as a podcasting platform. Presumably, Stitcher will eventually be rolled into Deezer to expand Deezer’s functionality as a streaming-media player.

This acquisition is similar to another transaction that made podcasting news earlier this year, when Apple purchased Swell. But unlike with that deal, no specific terms of the Stitcher acquisition have been made public.