Apple is no stranger to podcasts, but now it's using them to help boost TV+ viewership. Variety reports that Apple has introduced The Line, its first combination of a podcast with an original show. Jeffery Zimbalist's video documentary on former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher (shown here) doesn't debut until the fall, but you can already listen to a six-part audio series on Apple Podcasts that includes interviews with Gallagher and his wife, "exclusive reporting" and other insights into the soldier's alleged criminal activity.
Gallagher was charged in 2018 with war crimes after posing for a photo with a dead body in Iraq. Platoon members went so far as to accuse him of murder. A court acquitted on all but one charge, and received a pardon from then-President Trump on that last charge in 2019. Both the podcast and the video series aim to explore not just Gallagher's crimes, but also the "complicated realities" of the war, the effect it has on soldiers and the secretive nature of SEAL units.
The Line comes as Apple is reportedly planning to further wield its Podcasts app as a competitive edge, whether through a possible paid service or snapping up exclusive shows. It's not hard to see why the company would explore podcast-and-original combos — they could both spur adoption of the Podcasts app and drum up attention for Apple TV+ productions well ahead of their premieres. This might also help Apple counter Spotify's moves into podcasts and give people a reason to stick with the included software on their iPhones and Macs.