BBC podcasts on third-party apps


If you’re like me, you might be feeling spoilt for choice at the moment with fantastic range of new and established podcasts out there to listen to.

We’ve just announced a second run of That Peter Crouch podcast - with a lots more coming soon.

You might have also seen that our podcasts are no longer available on certain Google products - including the Google Podcast app and Google assistant. I want to explain a little bit about why that has happened.

Last year, Google launched its own podcast app for Android users - they’ve also said they will launch a browser version for computers soon. Google has since begun to direct people who search for a BBC podcast into its own podcast service, rather than BBC Sounds or other third party services, which reduces people’s choice - an approach that the BBC is not comfortable with and has consistently expressed strong concerns about. We asked them to exclude the BBC from this specific feature but they have refused.

As a public service, we want our content and services to be available to as many people as possible and we make these available for free on a range of third-party apps. But as the BBC, funded by the licence fee payers in the UK, we have to ensure it is done in a way that is good for all audiences, according to our Distribution Policy - which has been agreed with Ofcom.

What we think is important is pretty simple. We want people to have easy access to the wide range of BBC programmes, not just a select few, and be able to discover and listen to new ones really easily.

In the UK we have a creative and flourishing radio and podcast industry and the BBC plays a significant part in this, which we’re really proud of. So we want to make sure podcasts made in, and championing the UK, are prominent on global platforms. We also want to make our programmes and services as good as they can possibly be - this means us getting hold of meaningful audience data. This helps us do a number of things; make more types of programmes we know people like, make our services even more personalised and relevant to people using them, and equally importantly, identify gaps in our commissioning to ensure we’re making something for all audiences.

Unfortunately, given the way the Google podcast service operates, we can’t do any of the above.

We don’t like removing our content from services and certainly don’t do it lightly - but unfortunately until Google changes the way they look at this, for the good of listeners, our podcasts will not be available on some of their services. We are in discussions with Google to try and resolve the situation and will continue to work with them to try and come to a solution that’s in the best interests of all listeners.