BBC Removes Podcasts From Google Podcasts And Assistant
The BBC decided to opt out of some google apps for business, removing their podcasts from the Google Podcasts app, as well as making them unavailable to Google Assistant, and, consequently, Google Home speakers.
According to the broadcasting network, they take umbrage with what they saw as Google’s tendencies to divert users searching for podcasts to its own apps, instead of third-party services like the broadcast company’s own BBC Sounds, available only in the UK. This statement was revealed via a blog post from the company.
BBC Director of Distribution and Business Development Kieran Clifton, stated that the company isn’t comfortable with Google restricting listener options in such a manner, and they made these concerns to the tech giant directly; asking Google to exclude the BBC from that particular feature, but the latter refused. Clifton elaborated, noting that BBC doesn’t like removing their content from services like google apps for business, and they don’t make such a choice lightly, but they do so until Google changes their policies on the matter, for the sake of listeners.
Clifton says that BBC aims to make all of its programs available across the world, conveniently, and across all platforms, but some have noted that the issue might be due to listener data. Clifton openly criticizes Google for making it hard for BBC to get audience data regarding its podcasts, and that this also prevents the broadcast company from personalizing its services, which stops it from identifying holes in their commissioning, meaning that their programming misses certain demographics. Podcast products and the platforms they use to gain exposure have a tendency to become a point of contention, which some say is the case.
This instance could also be interpreted as a podcast producer removing their content from platforms in order to boost their own apps and services. Recently, Spotify announced their intentions to buy Parcast, which would be the streaming company’s third podcast-focused business acquisition, less than 6 months into 2019. Spotify is reportedly planning to upgrade its current podcasting offerings, and exclusives shows are a step towards that.
Currently, BBC is discussing with Google in order to find something that both parties would find agreeable. As the talks proceed, however, Google Podcasts and Assistant are blocked via a robots.txt file, something that Google is fine with.