New Features for Listeners, Stats for Podcasters Coming to Apple Podcasts

Apple logoApple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) is wrapping up this weekend in California. While Apple made plenty of announcements during WWDC, the tech giant may have truly left the best for last (at least, if you’re a podcaster).

Today, Apple announced major changes to its podcast spec. The first such spec changes the company has made in years. Apple also announced that it will finally be providing at least some listener data to podcast producers.

Acknowledging recent trends in the podcasting space, Apple will now provide support for seasons, preview episodes, and bonus episodes within its podcast RSS feed spec. That means it’ll be easier for podcasters to organize episodes by season, so listeners can download and listen back to episodes in the correct order. The preview and bonus episode options will make it easier for podcasters and listeners alike to identify episodes that might not be part of a podcast’s regular production cycle.

There’s been a lot of industry pressure as of late on Apple to provide listener data to podcasters. Acquiescing to these demands, Apple will begin providing some actual listener data to podcast producers:

Apple said today that it will be using (anonymized) data from the app to show podcasters how many people are listening and where in the app people are stopping or skipping. This has the potential to dramatically change our perception of how many people really listen to a show, and how many people skip ads, as well as how long a podcast can run before people just give up.

While this might look like the holy grail to some in terms of listener metrics, it appears that this data will be limited to listener activity from the iOS Podcasts app only. Not the cross-platform iTunes desktop application. And of course, it won’t pull in data from any services outside of the Apple ecosphere.

It’s not yet clear when Apple will allow podcasters to access listener data. The full implementation of the new Apple Podcasts RSS spec will likely coincide with the release of iOS 11 later this year. If you’d like to see what the new RSS tags will look like, Apple has released a document that covers the changes it’ll be making to the spec.

WWDC 2014: Nothing New For Media Producers

WWDC LogoApple’s latest Worldwide Developer Conference is happening this week in San Francisco. During Monday’s keynote address, presenters from Apple as well as third-party companies covered new and upcoming developments in the world of Apple software. And the key word here is software. The focus being on new versions of Mac OS X and iOS. And while these updates look like they’ll provide some cool new features for most users, I saw very little that would be of interest to new media producers.

In fact, the only thing that really grabbed my attention is included in the new Continuity feature. The idea behind Continuity is that it allows a seamless experience between iOS devices and Apple computers. One thing Continuity will allow users to do is to take iPhone calls thru their Macs. If Continuity uses Core Audio, it could be possible to record those calls on the Mac, which would be handy for interviews. Not that there aren’t plenty of solutions for doing that already…

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