First up, I consider Overcast the best mobile podcast clients currently available. Marco Arment’s client has grown over the years and developed almost every feature that I could want. The only trouble he’s had is trying to create a solid income from it. Following the initial one-year subscription model, then a patronage-based model, he’s now looking at a third option:
Ads are the great compromise: money needs to come from somewhere, and the vast majority of people choose free-with-ads over direct payment. Ads need not be a bad thing: when implemented respectfully, all parties can get what they want.
Most podcasts played in Overcast are funded by ads for this reason, and as a podcaster and (occasional) blogger myself, I already make most of my income from ads.
I’m far from the first one to try an ad-supported app — among many others, my co-host on Under The Radar, David Smith, now makes the majority of his App Store income from ads — and it’s unwise to rule out any reasonable business model in today’s App Store.
So I’m trying ads in Overcast: simple, non-animated, mostly-text banners on the main list screens that unobtrusively scroll with the content.
Arment has kept much of discussion over the app’s development and business models on his blog, and I hope that he finds true success with Overcast. Needless to say I’ll be paying the premium to remove apps (I’m so old-school sometimes) and watching the continuing story with interest.