Apple's iTunes Reaches One Billion Podcast Subscriptions (AAPL)
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is celebrating another massive milestone this week after announcing that one billion podcast subscriptions have been obtained through iTunes.
This is the third milestone that Apple has reached this year for selling or giving away a large amount of digital content.
According to Digital Trends, Happy Tree Friends, Real Time with Bill Maher, TEDTalks and Aerial America are some of the most popular podcasts in the United States.
Zach Brand, VP of digital media for NPR, told Macworld that the company has been podcasting since the iPod was released more than a decade ago.
"Obviously, podcasting is a very natural fit for our audio focus," Brand told Macworld, adding that NPR's podcasts now enjoy more than 25 million downloads per month. "Podcasting is more than a decade old, and we're still seeing growth."
That growth has never been directly credited with the success of the iPod, iPhone or iPad, but it certainly has not hurt. While music downloads proved to be the biggest catalyst for iPod sales, Apple has continually added new features to the iTunes collection. Some of them, such as Ping, have not fared too well with consumers. But that has not stopped Apple from trying to enhance its popular music service.
Later this year Apple will take its first stab at competing with Pandora (NYSE: P) and Spotify when it launches iTunes Radio. The new service will be packaged with iOS 7, which is expected to be released alongside the iPhone 5S.
Unlike Spotify, iTunes Radio will not allow its listeners to play whatever songs they want, whenever they want. But they can eliminate the occasional ad break by subscribing to iTunes Match for $24.99 a year, which is less than half the cost of an annual Spotify subscription.
While Apple has celebrated other milestones with enormous giveaways, the company made no such announcement in promoting its podcasts.
As of this writing, Apple has yet to mention the milestone on its press releases page.
Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at 248-636-1322 or louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ
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