Pocket Casts acquired by WordPress owner Automattic: What will change?

Chris Burns - Jul 16, 2021, 11:20am CDT
Pocket Casts acquired by WordPress owner Automattic: What will change?

The people that own WordPress just acquired Pocket Casts. In a world where popular, widely used, and excellent apps and companies are acquired and destroyed all the time, this acquisition actually seems like a best-case scenario. Given the relatively reasonable and decidedly non-destructive nature of the company since inception, it seems likely Automattic won’t take a knife to Pocket Casts in any major way after acquisition is complete.

The co-founders of Pocket Casts, Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson, will continue to “lead Pocket Casts as part of Automattic.” Per the announcement of the acquisition this week, Automattic will “explore building deep integrations with WordPress.com and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts.” This could be very, very good.

Back in the year 2019, Pocket Casts went from a $4-$10 app to a free app, with the option for a subscription to the service that would add access to cloud storage, exclusive icons and themes, and access to the desktop app. That’s not likely going to change any time soon – you’ll still be able to use the basic Pocket Casts app for free, likely forever.

This is one of those very rare acquisitions where the consumer will only benefit from the additional support both companies will now get from each other’s resources. What will be interesting, here, is seeing how this affects the advertisements we hear in podcasts of all sorts. Podcasters can still submit their content to multiple platforms, including Pocket Casts, without restrictions on the sorts of advertisements they make (to a point).

Will we be hearing fewer advertisements for Squarespace now that WordPress is making itself a clear competitor in this space? Will we see Squarespace attempt to ramp up their efforts by buying more podcasting developers and such, too? This could be a podcasting app war waiting to happen! Oh, also, this isn’t the first time Pocket Casts has been acquired – they’re no stranger to remaining true while getting bought!

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