Why it matters: Podcasts have reached a new peak over the past year and Apple is looking to stay ahead of the curve by curating shows specifically for children with the help of Common Sense Media. This will help Apple combat the threat from Spotify's own dominance in audio content.

Apple is partnering with Common Sense Media, a non-profit known for informative movie reviews aimed at parents. This partnership will allow Apple to curate podcasts specifically for children. The curation will be broken into four primary collections:

  • Story Time: Narrative driven storytelling
  • One More!: Stories based on mysteries and action dramas
  • Kids Know Best: Popular shows that are chosen by kids themselves
  • Common Sense Media Picks: Specific family-friendly shows picked by Common Sense Media

These collections will be updated monthly to reflect "important historical and cultural moments." For example, February might highlight prominent black voices because of Black History Month. Currently, the collections feature podcasts from creators such as Tinkercast, Gen-Z Media, Tumble, Rebel Girls, and Nickelodeon.

The podcast landscape has grown quite a bit in the last year. In a study that shows Spotify leading the podcast field with Apple closely behind, it's revealed that many other podcast apps such as PocketCasts, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher all saw massive spikes in usage last year as compared to 2019. Apple Podcasts was the only app listed that actually saw its usage fall slightly.

Many kids also had to attend virtual school using Zoom or Google Classroom during 2020. Consequently, this lent to kids listening to more audio content including podcasts.

TechCrunch points to an NPR report that found that 15% of adults in the U.S. were listening to children's spoken word audio. Research has also shown that 89% of children who listen to podcasts were under the age of eight. This focus on kids content from Apple is likely to challenge Spotify and others who spin off their kid-friendly content into separate apps. Apple seems to prefer congregating adult and kid content into one podcast app in which parents maintain control using Screen Time.