Acast has launched a new tool - Acast+ Access - which allows companies with an existing paid subscription offering to integrate bonus content into third-party platforms.
This model is based on an earlier iteration of the company’s technology which launched in 2019 and was named Acast Access. With this integration, subscribers can access the paid-for podcast benefits from an organisation’s membership programme on any platform that supports private RSS feeds, such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Overcast, and more.
According to Press Gazette, however, Spotify’s API will not integrate with Acast+ Access. Spotify has previously partnered with other companies to distribute subscription offerings, such as Libsyn which launched support for Spotify Open Access in March 2023 on its third-party monetisation platform, Glow.fm, which allows creators to distribute subscriber-only content across it.
An Acast spokesperson confirmed to PodPod that premium subscription content would not be accessible within Spotify due to "major limitations" that come with Spotify Open Access, but added that the company is continuing to work with Spotify to find a solution that works for creators.
"Basically, Spotify doesn’t support having two feeds for the same show (one public and one private) and so they combine the private and public content within one feed, but as a result, some basic features simply don't work," the spokesperson said. "For example, dynamic ad insertion, bonus content, extended episodes et cetera."
"For many podcasters, this rules out using Spotify Open Access and we have chosen not to integrate via Spotify Open Access as a result."
New additions to Acast+ Access include providing companies with the option to upgrade their subscription offering with added benefits such as ad-free listening, exclusive bonus content, personalised intros and outros, early access, and more. Publishers also now have the benefit of being able to retain first-party data from subscribers through Acast+ Access, with control over the sign-up page, checkout, and onboarding experience which provides them insight into how the podcasts are performing.
“Acast+ Access is a game-changer for companies that want to increase their overall subscription revenue and make their offering even more attractive to consumers,” said Acast CEO Ross Adams. “As more and more audiences seek premium podcast content, our technology allows providers to easily meet that need and deepen their relationship with their customers. And for companies not already incorporating podcasts into their subscription strategy, this is one of the easiest ways to rally new subscribers immediately.”
Apple Podcasts recently announced a new feature as part of the new iOS 17 software update which allows listeners to connect eligible app store subscriptions to top apps with Apple Podcasts, including global news apps such as Bloomberg and The Washington Post, health and fitness apps like Calm, kids and family apps like Lingokids, and so on. With Acast+ Access, however, publishers do not have to offer their subscription via the App Store.
Acast has already tested this solution with a number of podcast publishers including podcast network and streaming platform History Hit, founded by Dan Snow, which reportedly plans to launch exclusive content later in the summer.
“History Hit has always aimed to make history more accessible in the digital age, and podcasts are a huge part of that mission,” said History Hit head of podcasts Steve Lanham. “Through Acast+ Access, we can offer listeners more of the audio they love, giving them additional access to fascinating stories and interviews from the world's leading historians and experts.”
Acast also earns a fee for each private podcast feed which is activated by the client’s paying subscribers. PodPod has reached out to Acast for further details on this fee.