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Gervais podcast goes fee-based

'Was a fool' to make first series free

The second series of the world's most popular podcast, the Ricky Gervais Show, will be one of the world's first to charge for transmission.

The show celebrated 2.9 million downloads of the free first series earlier this month. The new series launches on 28 February and features The Office and Extras co-writers Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant "gleefully bursting the bubble inhabited by Karl Pilkington, a village idiot of global proportions", show representatives explained.

The second series will be available exclusively from Audible UK and the iTunes Music Store. It will consist of "at least" four half-hour shows, each costing 95p to download, or £3.75 for all four shows. All 12 episodes of the first series will be available for £2.75. The show is also available to AudibleListener subscribers.

The explosion of podcasting has caused some people involved to begin considering how to make money from the medium. It was only a question of time before someone would take the chance.

Many podcasters – both established broadcasters and well-known independents – will be watching to see what happens with Gervais' fee-based experiment.

Gervais accepts the move marks the first major transition from a free to a commercial podcast. Gervais joked that he was "a fool" to make the first series free.

"As with The Office and Extras, the podcasts have been attracting some high-profile fans, such as The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Christopher Guest from Spinal Tap, creator of Alias and Lost JJ Abrahams, and even Jonathan Ive, inventor of the iPod," Gervais said.

"I find it hard to imagine what these living legends must think when they hear the ramblings of that little bald-headed Manc Karl Pilkington."

This story first appeared on Macworld.co.uk.

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