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Apple Signs Deal With Podcaster Futuro Studios, Report Says

The tech giant has apparently agreed to fund development and production of podcasts in exchange for the chance to turn them into film or TV shows.

The iPhone SE next to a Pixel 6A
Apple appears to be ramping up its media efforts.
Patrick Holland/CNET

Apple's shot at being a media company already has yielded successes, with Emmy wins for its TV series, such as Ted Lasso and The Morning Show, and an Oscar best picture win for its film set in the deaf community, CODA. Now Apple appears to be on the hunt for new inspiration, striking a reported agreement with a prize-winning podcast developer, Futuro Studios.

Under the terms of the deal, reported by Bloomberg on Wednesday, Apple will fund development and production of podcasts in exchange for "first chance to turn any podcast into a film or TV show." Neither Apple nor Futuro immediately responded to requests for comment.

The move, reportedly led by Apple's TV studio and not its podcast division, marks another way the tech giant is looking to ramp up its $5 per month media subscription business, Apple TV Plus, which launched in 2019.

Apple helped popularize the term "podcast" when it embraced the technology as part of its iPod and iTunes music player and software more than a decade ago. The downloadable radio show format has become particularly popular as music streaming has gone mainstream with services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music Premium, Tidal and Spotify

Spotify in particular has sought to become a central podcast industry player, buying studios like Gimlet Media, maker of Crimetown and Heavyweight. Gimlet also produces The Wall Street Journal's daily podcast, the Journal. Spotify also has an exclusivity deal with Joe Rogan, whose namesake podcast is one of the most popular -- and controversial -- on the planet.

Bloomberg's reporting didn't indicate that Apple will increase its podcasting efforts, at least not now. Instead, Bloomberg said, Apple will likely mine the relationship for further ideas for its Apple TV Plus service.