Acast has been beating the drum to keep podcasting in an open ecosystem over the past few years as the number of show exclusives hit. Now, in a move it says confirms that direction, the company has decided to shut down its own podcast listening app. The decision, which was approved today by Acast’s board of directors, is based not only on what it says is its conflict with the company’s vision, but also on what Acast says is the ability to obtain better data on the viewing of its programs from other sources.
“A separate podcast app does not support Acast’s strategy of being a driving force for the fully open podcast ecosystem, since the entire basis of Acast’s business concept is based on being the ‘underlying infrastructure that delivers podcast content to other podcast apps and platforms,’ the company said in a statement. He also noted that the majority of his revenue comes from podcast ads, which he says should be available on all podcast platforms, not just his own app.
“The app has been with us since the beginning and has been a great help in developing our previous services and features for creators and advertisers. Now is the time to focus even more on our future vision for Acast” said CEO Ross Adams, “We strongly believe in the independent and open podcasting ecosystem and to deliver on our promise to be completely platform independent, we will not have our own app.”
Acast’s podcast app was launched in 2014 when there were fewer options for listening to podcasts. Since then, the app has been a first-hand data source for Acast. But the company says the data provided by the app has been superseded in recent years by more advanced user data from a number of different sources. The recent launch of Acast+ and the subscription services offered by Acast+ also provide the company with more data based on listeners’ personal podcast preferences.
“We want to focus on products that create the most value for our creators and advertisers,” Adams said. “In terms of payload and revenue, we now have access to several other products that can do more for us and our partners than the app.”
The company says shutting down the app will have no “significant effect” on Acast’s revenue or listenership, suggesting it had few listeners.
“In terms of listenership, the app represents a small portion of the overall listeners that take place on our podcasts,” said CFO Emily Villatte. The company has not released any statistics about the app’s users.
No specific data for the Acast app sunset has been announced. But Acast believes the app will be shut down later this year. The publicly traded company said it needs to release news of the strategic decision now, and Villatte says further planning is needed before it winds down.