Apple has reportedly signed a deal with podcast producer Futuro Studios to help it fund the development and production of future podcasts, Bloomberg reports. In return for its Futuro deal, Apple gets first refusal on the rights to turn any resulting podcasts into a film or TV show. It has already produced TV shows based on the podcasts WeCrashed and The Shrink Next Door.
Long-form podcasts have emerged as a rich source of inspiration for TV shows at a time when streaming services are more desperate than ever for original content. Hulu’s The Dropout was based on an ABC News podcast of the same name, and the streaming service is also reportedly adapting the podcast Wind of Change into a TV show.
Apple has publicly announced podcasts with several studios in recent months, including At Will Media (for Wild Things: Siegfried & Roy), Campside Media (Run, Bambi, Run), Jigsaw Productions (The Line), and Pineapple Street Studios (Project Unabom), in a series of deals that have reportedly seen it spend up to $10 million.
Apple’s podcasting deals have been lead by its Apple TV division, while its actual podcasting unit has reportedly avoided investing in specific titles so as to appear as a “neutral platform.” Apple and Futuro declined to comment to Bloomberg on its report, and did not immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
Despite rolling out support for podcast subscriptions last year, Apple’s existing audio releases suggest that its priorities are less about making money on its shows directly. Instead, it appears to be using them to benefit other parts of its business, either as a source for future TV and film adaptations or, in the case of companion podcasts for The Problem with Jon Stewart and For All Mankind, to use them as promotional tie-ins.
In contrast, competitor Spotify’s investment in The Joe Rogan Experience podcast involved making the show exclusive to its platform in an attempt to drive new listeners to Spotify. Amazon has also signed deals for podcasts including My Favorite Murder and How I Built This that involve exclusivity windows.