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Finyal+: Is this the future of podcast listening? By Finyal Media’s Leila Hamadeh

Finyal+ by Finyal Media is now available on Apple Podcasts. Leila Hamadeh, Co-Founder and CEO of Finyal Media tells us more about the new service and what it means for podcast listeners and the industry at large in the region.

Apple Podcasts Subscriptions is a global marketplace for listeners to discover premium subscriptions offered by their favourite creators. This service launched globally on 15th June and we at Finyal Media are excited to be one of the early creators from the MENA region to have their subscription offering available through Apple from launch.

The new Apple service allows listeners to sign up for premium podcast subscriptions that offer a variety of benefits curated by creators. In the case of Finyal+, our premium service offers subscribers a combination of ad-free listening, early access to our most popular podcast series as well as access to exclusive new content not available anywhere else.

The idea for us is to offer listeners more choice. Our existing audience will continue to enjoy the same listening experience for free as we are not removing any of our existing content from the free service on Apple Podcasts or from any of the other platforms where our shows are already available. However, those who prefer a more premium listening experience can now opt into the subscription service to avoid the ads and have the opportunity to binge-listen a full season of new content at once rather than waiting for new episodes to be released. Put simply, it’s another example of the successful freemium model which has been applied by TV and music streaming providers and publishers in other forms of digital media for years – now available in the podcasting realm.

The Apple system is very flexible and is designed to cater to both large networks and independent creators. Where podcast networks like ourselves have created podcast channels that encompass several different shows within the subscription service, independent podcasters can also choose to put some of their content behind a paywall with Apple, even it’s just for a few episodes of one particular series.

For podcast networks like us, this new platform will help to accelerate the advancement and growth of the podcasting industry. It offers a new avenue for creators to monetise their content without the need to necessarily build their own platforms. For many who were previously considering launching their own app as a way of charging listeners for more premium content, this will be a way for them to avoid that investment and leverage Apple’s existing ecosystem. This brings with it the opportunity to appeal to a large existing user base and gain access to a ready-made payment gateway, which in turn will help podcast networks grow and invest further in the creation of more content for both free listeners and paying subscribers.

There may be an opinion that this could affect the cost of advertising through podcasts, but our view is that the new Apple service is unlikely to significantly affect this as the two services will target two quite different types of users. In the same way, as other digital platforms offer both free, ad-funded services and paid subscription-funded services, podcasts will now be doing the same.

We also see this as the first step of a podcast aggregator movement. Competition between the global players in the podcasting space – Apple, Spotify, Amazon and Deezer to name just a few – is intensifying and this latest launch is further evidence of this notion. Spotify also recently announced it is enabling podcasters on its platform to offer subscriptions to their shows. The feature will be available to creators through Anchor, allowing podcasters to mark episodes as subscriber-only and publish them to Spotify and other podcast-listening platforms. We expect to see more platforms following suit and price competition coming into play as well, so it will be interesting to see what’s in store for the future of podcast subscription services.

In the meantime, we look forward to our listeners having the opportunity to enhance their listening experience with us and enjoying their favourite shows ad-free and uninterrupted.

For more information on Finyal+, visit: www.finyalmedia.com