Earlier this month, we discussed how Youtube may have internal plans to absorb Google Podcasts, and how several recent developments point to this. First, background listening on Youtube Music became free for listeners in Canada, potentially indicating that the company is looking to make sure that all users have access to unconditional audio accessibility prior to the launch of a feature such as official podcast support.
Second, Bloomberg reported that Youtube has been seeking out someone to head up a clean-up of sorts for podcasts found on its platform. Until now, we simply weren’t sure who this would be as that person hadn’t been selected yet, but now, we do! According to The Verge, Kai Chuk will now be the “Podcast Lead” for Youtube. Chuk is a Youtube vet with 10 years of experience in the company, and he will be “managing the large volume of existing podcasts and relationships across the Youtube platform.”
While this could just be a way for the video streaming platform to rally around a user-created use case for it – podcasting – it could also have something to do with an attempt to merge the official Google Podcasts, with all of its content, directly into Youtube or Youtube Music. My guess would be the latter since Podcasts used to be a part of Google Play Music before it split off. Things always seem to come full circle for Google.
For myself, I wouldn’t be opposed to such a merger. As often as I can, I listen to my favorite podcasts on Youtube for two reasons. First, I initially found them there, and second, and most importantly, they’re visual. Regardless of how much you may feel the need to have a visual element to your podcasts or if you’re even looking at the screen or not, seeing the speaker or speakers as they discuss things can add immense value and help you connect with the content more.
I think Kai Chuk will likely ask anyone moving their podcasts to Youtube and those that already exist there to add a visual element to their show or series, even if it’s just a graphic or logo. We’ve discussed this at length before, but I’m interested in knowing your thoughts. Do you listen to podcasts on Youtube instead of in Google Podcasts? Would you be willing to subscribe to your favorite shows on the video platform instead?