iTunes Updates: Seasons, Trailers and More

Apple recently rolled out some new podcasting tags to iTunes and iOS 11.  

The new tags are designed with episodic content in mind.  Over the years, many podcasts have been created that are episodic in nature.  For years, podcasters have published in the Season / Episode format with the idea that users can better organize their shows and know which ones to listen to first.  

However, like with blogging, podcasting apps assume that you will want to have the latest information first, since it’s the most accurate or time-sensitive.   The assumption is that the content is episodic, but not “serial” in nature.  

For news organizations, this makes complete sense.  But for so many other publishers, ‘the latest’ isn’t necessarily what we want our viewers to have.   Many podcasters / publishers create content that builds on top of other content.  It’s serial, in nature.  Just like a show on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

For example, a podcast that tells a 4 hour story, over the course of 8 episodes would NOT want you to listen to episode 8 where you find out the butler did it, when you’ve not listened to Episode 2, where we first meet the butler.   

That’s just one example.  

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What does this mean for church podcasts?  EVERYTHING!

Currently, the new tags are focused on letting a publisher organize their content better so that users can easily see how the show is laid out, and have access to things ‘surrounding’ the show, like bonus episodes etc.   They can: 

  • Define a Season
  • Define an episode number 
  • Define a Trailer for that season
  • Define bonus episodes or clips etc, for a specific episode
  • Publish so that it’s listed serially.

Our friends over a explain the new tags in this article.

iTunes New Feed Tags Explained


The type of podcast you are submitting can be either:

  1. Episodic (default). Specify episodic for stand-alone episodes or when you want your episodes presented and recommended last-to-first. This option also supports seasons, with the newest episode at the top. For new subscribers, Apple Podcasts adds the latest, most recent episode in their Library.
  2. Specify serial when you want your episodes presented and recommended first-to-last. This option supports narratives, storytelling, thematic, and multiple seasons. For new subscribers, Apple Podcasts adds the first episode to their Library, or the entire current season if using seasons.


Identifies and organizes episodes by Seasons. No season number shows if there is only one season.


Use this tag to specify the recommended order for episodes within a season.


You can indicate certain types of episodes in iTunes using this tag. They are:

  1. Full (default). Specify full when you are submitting the complete content of an episode.
  2. Specify trailer when you are submitting a short, promotional piece of content that represents a preview of a show.
  3. Specify bonus when you are submitting extra content for a show (for example, behind the scenes information or interviews with the cast).

When you start using these tags in your sermon podcasts and your bible study podcasts, you’ll be able to deliver them more like Netflix and Apple TV does.  You’ll be able to have your sermon series listed as ‘seasons’, and in order.  You’ll even be able to attach bonus content for each one.  Maybe an additional video, a Q&A….   AND you can publish the series trailers at the head of the season. 

This is huge!

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