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TuneIn launches First Play, an early-release podcast service

By James Cridland for media.info
Posted 19 September 2017, 12.48pm edt

TuneIn
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TuneIn, best-known for its streaming radio, has done a deal with a raft of podcast providers to give "early access" to some of their podcasts, promising podcasts "up to one week" before they're available on other platforms.

While Amazon and Spotify, among others, have invested in exclusive audio content, TuneIn is betting on podcast fans wanting to get their podcast fix earlier than others.

Given that this is a free service from TuneIn, unrelated to their premium product, it will either be monetised by additional advertising in preroll ads, as much of TuneIn earns its money, or it may simply be a loss-leader to encourage a higher install base.

TuneIn report that they've seen 27% growth in podcast listening over the last year. TuneIn are default content partners on the Amazon Echo set of devices for podcasting, though research from Edison and NPR point to podcast consumption being very low on smart speakers.

Press Release

TuneIn, a premier podcast destination and the world’s leading streaming audio app, today debuted First Play, a first-of-its kind podcast program offering early releases of new episodes from new and popular podcasts from networks like WNYC Studios, Gimlet Media, HowStuffWorks, Wondery, Feral Audio and StarTalk. New episodes will be available early, up to one week before they’re available on other platforms, and they will be free to all TuneIn users.

With the launch of First Play, TuneIn enables podcast super fans to hear episodes early from a selection of more than 30 podcasts, produced by the most popular podcast creators. Participating shows will debut their early releases throughout the initial run of the program, concluding December 31st.

The podcast industry has boomed in the last year, with its monthly audience growing 21% in the U.S. (from 57 million to 67 million people), according to Edison Research and Triton Digital's annual Infinite Dial Report, with no signs of this engagement slowing down. Podcast creators continue to defy creative bounds, building new ways to experience audio content, which avid listeners are eager to consume. Through this program, TuneIn aims to serve listeners who want even more from their favourite shows.

Between TuneIn’s breadth of content offerings and wide distribution network, this program exposes new audiences to great podcast content before anywhere else. More people are discovering podcasts than ever before, and TuneIn is uniquely positioned to support that interest with its integrations with connected devices, such as Amazon Alexa-enabled speakers.

“This special offering provides fans what they want most: the ability to get their favorite shows first and early,” said TuneIn Chief Content Officer Kevin Straley. “We’re proud to be releasing such a robust group of partners with fresh new content at a time when podcast listening is at a record high.”

The First Play line up can be found at TuneIn.com including:

  • WNYC Studios: Spooked, a new series from Snap Judgment that is No. 1 on the U.S. charts
  • Gimlet Media: Uncivil, a new series
  • HowStuffWorks: BrainStuff, Ridiculous History and TechStuff Daily Digest
  • Wondery: Sword & Scale, I Hate My Boss, Hollywood and Crime, Real Crime Profiles, Tides of History and Something You Should Know
  • StarTalk: StarTalk Radio, StarTalk All-Stars and StarTalk Playing with Science
  • Feral Audio: Harmontown, Dumb People Town, Natch Beaut and Drinky Fun Time
  • ESPN Radio: Cinephile: The Adnan Virk Movie Podcast, Doubletruck Stories, Free Cookies and That’s What She Said with Sarah Spain
  • Parcast: Serial Killers, Unsolved Murders and Jack the Ripper
  • Tenderfoot TV: Sworn
  • ABC Radio: 10% Happier with Dan Harris, No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis, Motivated, Uncomfortable
  • MRW Productions: The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe
  • Anonymous: Casefile True Crime
  • The Wall Street Journal: Secrets of Wealthy Women
  • Dr. Robert Puff, Ph.D.: The Happiness Podcast
  • Red Bull Music Academy: Couch Wisdom on the Red Bull Radio

As one of the new series to debut on the First Play lineup, Chris Giliberti, head of multiplatform at Gimlet Media, shares, "We are excited to partner with TuneIn to give its listeners exclusive early access to Gimlet's newest show, Uncivil, via TuneIn's First Play. Uncivil is a phenomenal, timely and important show and we can't wait for audiences to enjoy it."

Glynn Washington, host of WNYC Studios’ Spooked, is thrilled to be one of the first featured this week. “Debuting Spooked with TuneIn’s First Play is a great way to deliver supernatural thrills,” he says. “But don’t turn out the lights!”

"We’re delighted to learn that StarTalk would be among the first podcasts to be featured in TuneIn’s exclusive “First Play” programming," says Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of StarTalk. “Our running goal has always been to broaden and deepen the public’s access to science in our lives through our informative and entertaining portfolio of celebrity guests and comedic banter. Looks like TuneIn has a recipe that will make that happen as never before."

This year, TuneIn has made significant investments to elevate itself as a premier destination for both podcasters and podcast listeners. According to internal data, TuneIn reports that they’ve had 27 million listening hours of podcast content so far in 2017, and 27% growth in podcast listening year-over-year from 2016 to 2017.

TuneIn brings the widest collection of sports, music, news, podcasts and audiobooks into one app. The platform features live and on-demand audio through partnerships with world class content providers including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, ESPN Radio, ABC Radio, CNN, MSNBC/CNBC, Fox News Talk and BBC Radio.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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