In June, Apple Podcasts released an update that implemented subscriptions and channels. This introduced a new way for podcast hosts and producers to interact with their audience.
Before we dive into subscriptions, it is important to understand channels.
A channel is a place where consumers can see all of your produced podcasts. You can create a unique channel name and description, and list all of your podcasts under that umbrella.
Even if you only have one podcast, Apple requires you to create a channel before setting up a subscription. To see how to set one up in more detail, look at Apple’s Create a Channel.
After setting up a channel, you have the option to pay for the Apple Podcasters Program. For an annual fee, you can set up a subscription that offers one or more of five things:
1. Ad-free listening
2. Additional episodes
3. Early access to episodes
4. Exclusive shows (listed under the channel)
5. Archive access (access to past episodes)
Each channel only allows for one subscription. This means that there are no tiers of subscriptions; somebody is either subscribed or not.
These subscriptions provide a new way for creators to capitalize on their audience, and it is important for anybody posting through Apple Podcasts to understand them.
Setting up a Subscription
After setting up a channel and joining the Apple Podcasters Program, you can set up your subscription service.
First, you need to set up your primary promotion and promotional banner with a description of what your subscription offers. These will appear to consumers when they view your channel or the free content you offer, encouraging them to join and giving them easy access.
The second step is to set up pricing for your subscription. A monthly price point is required, but you can choose to set up yearly pricing or a free trial system. Click here to see how to set up pricing in more detail.
3. Episode Types
For a subscription, it is important to differentiate between full episodes, bonus episodes and trailers. These options will appear before you publish a piece of content. Apple requires at least one full or bonus episode to be subscriber only.
Managing a Subscription – Best Practices
There are a few methods to ensure that your subscription is quality and will attract consumers.
1. Subscription name
Apple suggests that if your subscription is free, then give it a name that is different from your channel. This allows consumers to recognize the difference between your channel and your free premium subscription.
If your subscription is paid, then name it the same as the channel. This encourages purchase because it implies that if you don’t pay, you are not receiving the full experience the channel offers.
2. Custom subscription description
Apple offers a list of options to add to your subscription description, but suggests that you create your own custom description. This differentiates your channel from others by showing that you are putting time and effort into your service.
3. Offering benefits
To make your subscription worth it, you need to offer as many benefits as you can. Apple offers data tracking to its podcast creators, which means you can see what percentage of viewers are subscribed.
Through this service, you can make sure that your subscription is efficient. If you see the percentage start to dip, then it can serve as a reminder to offer more benefits.
Subscriptions and Channels: The Next Step for Podcasts
Apple continues to update their podcast platform, trying to outperform Spotify and other podcast streaming services. Just weeks after Apple announced this update, Spotify announced that they were rolling out a similar change.
As the podcasting industry continues to grow, it is important to stay up to date with platform developments. For example, this update will change the landscape. Subscriptions offer a new revenue route that will attract more producers.
Knowing about subscriptions and channels will help you make an informed purchase, whether you’re setting up your own subscription or joining someone else’s.
Good luck, and happy podcasting.