Apple is furthering its investment in original podcasts with today's debut of the new true crime-focused Apple Original podcast "Hooked." The nine-part series will explore the story of a top engineer, Tony Hathaway, whose addiction to opioids led him to become one of the most prolific bank robbers in U.S. history. The podcast is produced by Campside Media and is hosted by its co-founder, Josh Dean. It features interviews conducted over three years with Hathaway, his family, law enforcement officers and others involved in the story.
While the subject matter may be compelling, what makes this podcast stand out is that, despite being branded an "Apple TV+ podcast," the show "Hooked" is not a tie-in to another Apple TV+ series or film. (At least not one that's been announced.)
Image Credits: Apple
Other Apple TV+ branded podcasts, meanwhile, serve as companions to the streaming platform's original video programming, including "The Line" (tied to the warfare documentary airing later this month), as well as "For All Mankind: The Official Podcast," "Foundation: The Official Podcast," and "The Problem With Jon Stewart: The Official Podcast."
This is not the first time Apple has experimented with a standalone podcast of some kind, however.
Last year, it launched the music interview podcast "The Zane Lowe Interview Series," which saw Apple's Global Creative Director Lowe having conversations with popular artists like Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Hayley Williams and Lady Gaga. Before that, Apple published corporate news as podcasts, including its keynotes, earnings calls and events at the Apple Store. It also once used the podcasting medium to distribute its 2019 Grammy's Celebration, which had first livestreamed on Beats 1.
Although produced by Campside Media, the new "Hooked" podcast was developed through the Apple TV+ creative team, which is why Apple TV+ is credited on the podcast's page alongside the media company.
The launch of a standalone podcast in a top genre like true crime could indicate an interest in testing the market for more Originals that aren't necessarily tied to other efforts, like Apple TV+ or Apple Music.
Unlike some of rival Spotify's Originals and Exclusives, this show won't be locked into the Apple Podcasts app. Instead, users can choose to tune in via an app of their choosing, as the episodes are published both on Apple Podcasts and via RSS.
Apple Podcasts is available in more than 100 languages and in over 170 countries and regions across iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, Apple TV, HomePod mini, CarPlay, iTunes on Windows and via other smart speakers and car systems, notes Apple.
But RSS means the show can also be streamed via a third-party podcast app, like Pocket Casts, Overcast, Castbox, Podbean and others.
The first three episodes of "Hooked" are live today and new episodes will subsequently roll out every Wednesday.