Automattic, the company behind, buys Pocket Casts

Pocketcasts On Iphone
Pocketcasts On Iphone (Image credit: Pocket Casts)

What you need to know

  • Popular podcast app Pocket Casts has been bought by Automattic.
  • Automattic is the company behind and Tumblr.

Popular podcast listening app Pocket Casts has been bought by Automattic, the company behind and Tumblr. The app was previously owned by NPR, but was known to be losing money. It isn't yet clear what Automattic plans to do to change that.

Announced via a Wordpress blog post earlier today, the move sees Pocket Casts change hands once more, around three years after it last went through a similar process. Automattic has confirmed that co-founders Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson will stay on however, leading the Pocket Casts team under the Automattic brand.

As part of Automattic, Pocket Casts will continue to provide you with the features needed to enjoy your favorite podcasts (or find something new). We will explore building deep integrations with and Pocket Casts, making it easier to distribute and listen to podcasts. We're thrilled that we can continue to give our users a multitude of ways to tell and engage with stories that matter.

With more than 80 million people listening to podcasts in the United States alone, Automattic knows there's an audience out there. But with Apple's Podcasts app the most popular by far across Apple devices, there is no shortage of competition in the podcast app space.

All eyes will be on the folks at Pocket Casts and Automattic to see what comes next, but the app already has a Pocket Casts Plus option that incurs a monthly charge for access to a desktop app and Apple Watch app.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.