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YouTube = future podcast champ?

YouTube’s new podcast homepage is live in the US. Will it become the top podcast platform?

YouTube, just like all your friends during the pandemic, is getting into podcasts.

A new podcasts homepage is now available to US users, going live sans fanfare in late July. TechCrunch speculates YouTube is waiting for its creator event next month to make a formal announcement.

But YouTube also:

  • Hired podcast exec Kai Chuk in 2021
  • Offered podcasters and networks $50k-$300k to create videos
  • Discussed audio ads and new analytics for audio-centric creators in a leaked document
  • Partnered with NPR to bring on 20+ of its most popular shows

Why’s it matter?

While YouTube is often seen as a video-first platform, YouTube Music had 2B+ monthly users and 50m+ paid subs as of September 2021.

Though competitors including Spotify, Apple, and Amazon have made big moves in the space, a Cumulus Media analysis found YouTube is America’s most popular podcast platform, capturing 24.2% of listeners compared to Spotify’s 23.8% and Apple’s 16%.

What’s next?

In the most recent episode of Marketing Against The Grain, HubSpot’s own CMO Kipp Bodnar and SVP of marketing Kieran Flanagan argue that this makes YouTube subscribers the most valuable subscribers on the internet.

Their predictions:

  • YouTube will make its background listening feature free for all users, potentially offering an ad-free version for subscribers.
  • Podcasters will benefit from YouTube’s discovery platform and its ability to surface evergreen content by guest, host, and topic.
  • YouTube will change podcasting, prompting hosts and marketers to move to a more visual format.

Listen to the full episode here.

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