How to find your subscription strategy

Thinking about offering a subscription but need some inspiration on where to get started?

Learn more about the benefits you can offer with Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, how they fit with the production and distribution of your shows, and how they will connect with your listeners.

Extra content

The number one thing your most-engaged fans want is more of your show. If you can adjust your production schedule then we strongly recommend producing extra content as a benefit.

Offer new, exclusive, or extended segments in existing episodes, more episodes of your show only available to subscribers, or entirely different episodes just for subscribers. Subscriber-only content is one of the highest conversion points for subscriptions, especially when offered on a regular basis.

Is this right for you?

  • Your fans are asking for more.
  • You have a way to regularly create additional content just for paid subscribers.

Things to consider

  • Bonus content does not have to be a complete episode. Consider extended versions of interviews, outtakes or informal chats by hosts and guests, listener voicemail, or repurposing a recurring segment from your existing free show.
  • Look to publish your bonus content on a predictable schedule. Perhaps new episodes for subscribers are published on the same day of the week or month so listeners can learn when to expect new content.
  • Make sure to promote the bonus content in your free episodes with teasers or excerpts, so listeners hear what’s available to them as subscribers.

In practice: Kermode & Mayo’s Take

Long-time collaborators Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo launched Kermode & Mayo’s Take to bring their charming “wittertainment” to an even wider audience.

Each week they review and recommend the best in TV and film. The Extra Takes subscription offers access to a package of bonus content released at a regular weekly cadence. Free episodes are released on Fridays, followed by regular bonus content on Mondays. Bonus content varies between whole new episode brands (“One Frame Back” and “Mark and Simon Spoil Everything”), as well as uncut or extended interviews with famous guests. The bonus content is part of the whole Kermode & Mayo experience and is cross-promoted between free episodes and premium episodes.

This subscription package approach consistently connects listeners to the premium listening experience and creates a sense of community along the way.

Ad-free listening

While podcast advertising can often be entertaining, some users prefer to listen to their favorite shows uninterrupted. If you have advertising in your show, this can be a simple way to offer a meaningful benefit to your listeners.

Is this right for you?

  • Your show contains advertising.
  • You want to offer a subscription benefit without adjusting your recording schedule or output.

Things to consider

  • Plan for editing out ad breaks to create the ad-free version of each episode, and ensure transitions are smooth.
  • Replace ads with occasional messages thanking or reminding paid subscribers they are getting an ad-free experience.

In practice: Were you raised by wolves?

Were you raised by wolves? is a weekly episodic show on etiquette launched in 2019 by hosts Nick Leighton and Leah Bonnema.

As independent creators with a small team, they wanted a strategy that could fit their production capacity while giving their audience a simple way to support their show.

They decided on an ad-free subscription as a great place to start. It’s simple to quickly create ad-free versions of episodes and upload them in Apple Podcasts Connect.

Early access

Fans of the show want to get the latest episode now, before anyone else. That’s why offering paid subscribers early access to your episodes is one of the best performing subscriber benefits.

Is this right for you?

  • Your show has a predictable release schedule.

Things to consider

  • Complete production in advance so you’re prepared to meet this new release schedule.
  • Make the early access as easy to understand as possible. Perhaps all episodes of a mini-series in your show are available to subscribers with episode one, or new episodes each week are available to subscribers two days early.
  • Distinguish episodes that are available early to subscribers in your episode audio, titles, and notes. This will help listeners understand when the episode will become available for nonsubscribers.

In practice: Ten Percent Happier

Dan Harris approached meditation as a skeptical journalist only after he suffered a panic attack on live television. He ultimately came to the radical conclusion that happiness is a skill you can learn and train, just like working out at the gym. 

On 10% Happier, he talks each week with meditation teachers, top scientists and other guests about their meditation practice and everyday advice. Subscribers get episodes ad-free and one week early.

Archive access

This is a flexible benefit that takes advantage of content you’ve already produced and distributed. Whether it’s all episodes prior to the most recent few weeks, or an entire year for a long-running show, you’re providing subscribers something valuable they can’t otherwise get for free.

Is this right for you?

  • You have a long-running show with many episodes or a show with previous seasons.
  • You want to focus on subscriber benefits that don’t require additional production effort.
  • You are not primarily monetizing older episodes with advertising.

Things to consider

  • If you have multiple seasons, consider making the first season subscriber-only. New listeners who are engaged and want more will want to subscribe to access the archive.
  • Consider investing some production time to make archive-access episodes ad free.
  • Use teasers and excerpts in your free show to explain the benefits of the archives to current listeners.

In practice: Radiolab

For more than two decades, Radiolab has delivered stories that have asked deep questions while sparking the audience’s curiosity.

The Radiolab+ subscription leverages the show’s extensive catalog and offers subscribers access to episodes that are no longer widely available on its RSS feed. And as an added benefit, Radiolab+ subscribers can easily access popular mini-series from years past — originally found inside the Radiolab feed — as individual shows. This means that ad-free versions of incredible stories such as Mixtape and The Vanishing of Harry Pace are easily accessible to subscribers via the Radiolab channel page.

Mix it up

With Apple Podcasts Subscriptions you can present a range of benefits. Combining a mix of benefits creates a premium experience that’s even more compelling to your fans. This could mean subscribers may be able to:

  • Get early access and listen ad free.
  • Listen to new episodes first and get bonus backstage interviews.
  • Access the archive plus exclusive bonus episodes.

It’s really up to you how to mix and match. Whatever you choose, you can always make changes by:

  • Adding benefits to the offer.
  • Changing your message to better connect with fans.
  • Adding new shows to your channel and subscription.

When you’re ready to get started, sign in to Apple Podcasts Connect and join the Apple Podcasters Program. There are many resources to help you along the way, and you can even attend a virtual session with the Apple Podcasts team to learn more.

Note: The artwork and any text and subscription pricing displayed above are for illustrative purposes only and may differ from what is actually displayed in Apple Podcasts. Subscriptions and channel availability, pricing, and artwork vary by country or region. Some features are not available in all regions and for some languages. The placement of any promotional artwork on Apple Podcasts is determined by Apple in its sole discretion.