The Adelaide podcast app taking on the world

A team of Adelaide-based developers has released a new version its premium podcast platform, six months after being acquired by some of the world’s most influential podcasters, including NPR and the team behind This American Life.

Nov 16, 2018, updated Nov 16, 2018
The Shifty Jelly team in Adelaide. Photo: Johnny von Einem/CityMag

The Shifty Jelly team in Adelaide. Photo: Johnny von Einem/CityMag

It’s a little-known Adelaide success story – one that probably gets more attention internationally than it does on Rundle Street.

The Adelaide mobile application firm that first made a splash in the app store with Pocket Weather in 2008 is also behind premium podcast platform Pocket Casts.

In May, a group of podcasting giants – NPR, WNYC Studios, WBEZ Chicago and the team behind This American Life – bought the business.

This week, Shifty Jelly launched Pocket Casts Version 7, which allows users to play individual episodes without subscribing to shows, to closely track their listening history and to learn of fresh content with a new-and-improved Discovery section.

Chief Product Officer Russell Ivanovic joined Nicole Haack on The Message Pod to discuss the update, and what being bought out by a consortium of powerful companies means for ‘working life’.

“We’ve been working on Version 7 of our product, that’s something that’s been in the pipeline for almost a full year now – that’s why I’m tired at the moment,” Ivanovic said.

“I think some people get this impression that you sell out and then you go off and live on a boat or something.

“We’re working just as hard as we always have, even though we’ve staffed up. There’s still a lot to do and now we’re more ambitious in the things that we’re chasing.”

He said the team was passionate about ensuring independent producers aren’t run out of the industry by big players such as Apple and Spotify, and that it was working to solve the problem of monetising podcasts without using advertising.

“There’s a lot of people solving the problem of how to advertise on podcasts and make money advertising,” he said.

“What we’d like to explore is, is there other ways to make money with a podcast, that are not necessarily advertising?

“I really hope we get to that future where podcasting is more popular, it’s more ubiquitous, there’s more interesting monetisation models.”

He said the acquisition had increased the firm’s capacity to build an increasingly convenient platform for consumers.

“From a business perspective, it’s changed a lot,” he said.

“We have a CEO, he’s based in New York. We have a board – three people from each of these companies that bought us out.

“There’s a different structure – there’s more people to bounce things off and we’ve got access to the people who actually produce podcasts.”

– Denam Moore

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