fbpx

Why Rights-holders should leave content creation to the professionals

You wouldn’t ask your Head Physio to cook the pies on a match day, so why do many professional sports bodies ask their media teams to create content that is outside of their core competencies?

Fan-facing content is undoubtedly an important part of any Rights-holders commercial strategy. Not only does it bring supporters closer to the sport and allow them to forge their own narrative, but it also can prove to be a valuable revenue stream – but only if the outputted resource can match the cash coming in.

Let’s take football clubs as an example who are, in the main, leading the line in terms of digital content creation within sport.

For years the perceived wisdom has been that as well as running the day-to-day activities of a football club they should also function as a media house creating video, social and audio content for the fans.

As Roger Mitchell, Founder at Albachiara SAGL pointed out on a recent episode of the Unofficial Partner podcast, that viewpoint is now beginning to change:

“Sports are now starting to say, that’s not my core competence. I will never be good enough to do that because no matter how good I get at it, the management and ownership time that is dedicated to what I do compared to the player side is a fraction. Saving through efficiency, better recruitment better selling on the player side massively outweighs whatever you do on the revenue, it’s not even close. I think smart owners are starting to realise this now and they’re saying, not only shouldn’t I do this internally and how can I get into a partnership way of doing it?”

Roger Mitchell, Founder of Albachiara SAGL

That’s not to say that Rights-holders should just totally abandon the idea of content creation as B2C communication but rather they should find the right partners to deliver it on their behalf to improve efficiency, and quality and allow them to focus on the most important parts of their jobs.

Outsourcing this content also allows Rights-holders to find the right content creators for their target medium and audience rather than relying on whoever happens to be within their content team. Finding content producers that truly understand the medium of delivery and the tone required to reach an audience can dramatically improve the effectiveness, engagement, and impact of any piece of audio.

We need to hire producers that reflect our audience. That relatability between who’s asking the question, who’s doing the filming, who’s speaking to the athlete and brand.

Stephen Sidlo, Head of Media at Airspeeder (Speaking at the Broadcast Sports Round Table)

Outsourcing production can sometimes however be an expensive option compared to using internal resources. This is why it’s important to take a similar approach to the commercial side. Although the digital revenue may not compare to that of player acquisitions and transfers there is still significant money on the table.

At Sport Social Podcast Network, we are a trusted partner of official Rights-holder and our offering considers both sides of this conversation. Firstly, we have a production team that knows how to use audio to connect to fans and audiences, taking into consideration the values and voice of our Rights-holder partners. Secondly, we understand the value of audio/media as official content based on the value of both the content itself and of partnership.

This gives our partner clubs, teams and official bodies total confidence that not only can we create content that connects to their fans and delivers their values but also that they can achieve full commercial value from that content, making it more cost-effective than using internal resources.

It’s time that Rights-holders take the same approach to podcasting as I take to plumbing! I could have a go at fixing that leaking tap, but it would be quicker, easier, probably cheaper and lead to a much better job (and happier wife) if I got a professional to do the job.

Why Sports Fans Are Flooding To Audio

A new study compiled by SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research has highlighted some key statistics which reflect the power of podcasting. Our Director of Sport Jim Salveson takes a look at what the research teaches us.

It’s always nice when someone backs up your hypothesis with some raw data – and that’s exactly what’s happened this week.

I’ve been a sport podcast evangelist for years now. Singing its praises as a tool for not only fan engagement but also as an effective advertising tool, providing direct access to those same audiences.

Now, thanks to a preview of a new report there’s a load of data to back up that belief.

Sirius XS have partnered with GroupM and Edison Research to dig into the audio habits of sports fans in the USA and the results for audio are incredibly strong.

Firstly, The report found that the average American sports fan consumes over 30% more audio than non-sports fans, Taking in 6 hours and 26 minutes of audio across radio, podcasts, and satiate channels every single day.

What I found very interesting though was the driving reasons that sports fans were filling their media diet with so much audio.

“66% of Sport listeners say they listen to hear unique perspectives on sports that aren’t covered in other media, and 60% listen to get exclusive content.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

I have long talked about the power of the niche in podcasting. If mainstream media is “broadcasting” then podcasting could be referred to as “narrowcasting”.

Podcasting is great at filling content voids that exist within the traditional media landscape. Driven largely by production costs, podcasts can cater to smaller audiences offering a platform to under-represented voices or, as is the case here, lesser-covered sporting events.

Insight is also important. Sport podcasting has also become the home of the ITK (In The Know) fan correspondent, who is perfectly positioned to give a listener exclusive insider information on a club or team from their insider contacts. There is a shadow, secretive feel to it that is in contrast to the shiny showbiz feel of a TV studio that can make an audience feel like they are part of a special elite club!

Podcasting also offers an alternative to the often very straight and controlled athlete interview.

Audio is a far more relaxed medium than television. Not only is the equipment used to capture the content far less intrusive, allowing for an interviewee to be more relaxed, but the long-form nature of the medium often allows athletes more space to open up and be authentic about their experiences on and off the field – providing even more exclusive content you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

“86% of sport listeners say they listen to stay connected to their team or sport, 58% to be part of the community of fans, and 56% to feel more connected to friends/family/colleagues.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Audio is a very intimate media.

Audiences often build close relationships with their hosts who can often feel like they are communicating on a one-to-one basis (direct into their ears!) rather than to thousands of listeners at a time.

For those who consume their sport content away from the stadia in which their chosen event occurs, often the missing element is “community”.

If, like me, you live 200 miles away from your chosen sports team, it can be easy to stay up-to-date with the action on the pitch but nearly impossible to feel connected to the fanbase. You can’t stand with fellow fans on a match day or involve yourself in conversations about your local sports team with other pub dwellers – and podcasting can be a part replacement for those relationships.

If those physical relationships do exist in a fan’s life, podcasting can also serve to provide listeners with “social ammunition” creating talking points and helping to form opinions, further building those connections between fans.

“52% of sports listeners say they listen to be a more informed sports bettor, and 44% to be a more informed fantasy sports player.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Good sporting insight is of high value in the sport podcast world and podcasting is the perfect channel for this content, again because it can easily service a niche!

Sport podcasting allows creators to “go deep” on topics. Once a podcast listener is listening to content, they rarely switch away.

The average listen-through rates to a podcast are between 70-80% (based on an hour-long show) so the medium is ideally suited to genres such as Fantasy Sport and Betting where detail is all important as it leads to that all-important competitive edit.

What drives these longer listen-through rates? It’s not the technology or delivery channels, it’s the permission given by the audience.

With podcasting, listeners have sought out specific shows to serve a content need. They are seeking out topics that they have a keen interest in – so it follows that they would spend longer with that topic. This, I believe is one of the main factors in that 30% rise vs average audio consumption amongst sports audiences.

Time to follow the money?

One of the other interesting takeaways from this report preview was the spending power of sport fans.

“Compared to sports video viewers, sports podcast listeners are bigger spenders. They spend an average of $321 on sports merch/memorabilia in a year, compared to just $185 for sports video viewers. Sport podcast listeners are more likely to be employed, highly educated, and affluent compared to sports AM/FM radio listeners and sports video viewers.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Not only do sport podcast listeners have the cash to burn but they also have a deep connection and engagement with their favourite podcasts making them very open to podcast advertising and commercial messaging. Advertising spend in sport podcasting is growing faster than in any other genre due to its super-engaged audience, always-on nature, and accountability vs alternative sports advertising such as shirt sponsorship. You can read more about that here:

With a growing audience, engaged fans and strong commercial performance sport podcasting both in the US and in the UK is providing a real opportunity for creators and advertisers alike.

You can read the full preview here:

2024 Sporting Calendar: A Complete Guide To What’s Coming Up This Year

If you thought 2023 was a busy one in the world of sport, get ready for an even busier 2024!

Last year, we were treated to a pulsating Ashes series as England locked horns with Australia, the Tour de France where Jonas Vingegaard reigned supreme and a women’s European Championship where England’s Lionesses went agonisingly close to bringing football home, as well as too many other events to dive into!

But what’s happening in 2024 that can match – or even top – last year? Worry not, as we’ve pulled together a list of what’s happening when in the next 12 months.

January

7th – 14th: Masters Snooker

13th – February 11th: African Cup of Nations

15th – 28th: Australian Open tennis

28th: WWE Royal Rumble

February

2nd – 16th: Six Nations Rugby

11th: Super Bowl LVIII

17th: Tyson Fury v Oleksandr Usyk

March

2nd: F1 season begins in Bahrain

8th: Anthony Joshua v Francis Ngannou

12th – 15th: Cheltenham Festival

April

6th – 7th April: Wrestlemania

8th – 14th: Masters Golf

13th: Grand National at Aintree

20th – 6th May: World Championship Snooker

25th – 27th: NFL Draft

May

16th – 19th: US PGA Golf

20th – June 9th: French Open Tennis

22nd: Europa League final

24th: Rugby Union Challenge Cup Final

25th: Rugby Union Heineken Cup Final

25th: FA Cup Final

26th: Monaco Grand Prix

29th: Europa Conference League Final

June

1st: Champions League Final

4th – 30th: ICC T20 Cricket World Cup

8th: Super League Challenge Cup Final

6th – 23rd: NBA Finals

13th – 16th: US Open Golf

14th – 13th July: Copa America

14th – 14th July: EURO 2024

16th: Stanley Cup Final

29th – 21st July: Tour de France

July

1st – 14th: Wimbledon

14th: Euro 2024 Final

18th – 21st: The Open golf

21st: Tour de France finish

26th – 11th August: 2024 Olympic Games

August

26th – 8th September: US Open tennis

28th – September 8th: Paralympic Games

29th: PGA Tour Championship

September

5th: NFL Kickoff Game

18th – 24th: Solheim Cup

20th – 22nd: Laver Cup tennis

TBC: Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup

TBC: AFL Grand Final

October

12th: Super League Grand Final

November

2nd: England v New Zealand Rugby Union Autumn Series

23rd – December 1st: UK Championship Snooker

December

TBC: FIFA Club World Cup

TBC: PDC World Darts Championship

Why are advertisers and brands racing to be part of the sports podcast crowd? 

To use an appropriate sporting analogy, when it comes to advertising, sports podcasts are punching well above their weight. 

A recent report from the IAB shows that US advertising spend within podcasting grew £90 million year on year. Whilst the genre growth in advertising revenue is not remarkable in its own right, since all podcasts are growing advertising revenue annually, what is exceptional is that the growth outstrips both its performance in terms of market share and audience.

In 2022, the US sports genre attracted 15% of advertising revenue, up from 11% the previous year and knocking “news” from that top spot for the first time since 2018. 

So, why are brands turning to sports audio as a way to reach audiences and market their brands?

Sports Audiences are Super-Engaged

There is a lot of synergy between sports fans and podcast audiences. Both groups share very similar characteristics: They are both loyal to their favourites, very engaged and extremely passionate. 

Spotify’s research in 2019 found that 81% of podcast listeners took action after hearing a host read advert during a podcast — anything from looking up a product online to connecting with a brand on social media to talking about a product with someone. 

That route to action is often driven by the connection felt between a listener and a podcast host. It’s easy to see how that sense of connection can be amplified when you add a favourite sports team into the mix. A passionate fan is likely to feel equally strongly about their favourite show discussing that sport and the hosts that lead the discussion. 

Advertisers can tap into that passion by aligning with the right shows and hosts. 

That’s the opportunity for brands to align with the host, for example, a Bill Simmons or a J.J .Redick, and then get a direct connection into those fans whether it be a sales lead/acquisition type of thing like getting more people to sign up for Seatgeek or to build up the brand

Sean Callanan (The Sports Geek podcast) speaking to Pitch

Sports podcasts are also great for consumer recall. Podcasting is great for building an emotional connection between the audience and the show and that connection is heightened with sports podcasts because the emotion elicited is often heightened. Anger, joy, despair, and stress are all common emotions associated with sports. Emotion is a powerful aid to memory (just think about your clearest memories, they will almost all be connected to moments of high emotion both positive and negative) and that can translate to associated brands as much as big in-game events or podcast content.

Podcasts Never Stop

Much of sports sponsorship and advertising focuses on the main event itself. Shirt sponsorship, digital signage and half-time ad breaks all rely on the sport itself but podcasting provides the opportunity to reach outside of those key moments. 

Be it the gap in season between events or the space in the close season, shows that focus on content such as news, gossip, and interviews of sports-format content can give advertisers a touch point aside from those big moments – and an ability to reach those fans throughout the whole year. 

As Kevin Straley, chief content officer at TuneIn points out, there is always a hunger for good sports content: 

I certainly think for the four major sports there are fans that want to get more content in that off-season, and sports talk radio is not the only place to get it,”  

Kevin Straley, Chief Content Officer – TuneIn

As Kevin suggests, sports radio does fill some of that voice. But where the broadcast medium of radio is forced to appeal to a large mass audience, the narrowcast nature of podcasting allows brands to find incredibly targeted, sometimes niche, pockets of fans. 

This leads to the third driving factor behind the sports podcasts boom…

Accountability and Targeting

As mentioned earlier, traditional sports advertising focuses on mass visibility (think shirt sponsors and digital hoarding) where the sheer size of an audience gives brands access to their core demographic. Even with these large audiences, there is a healthy amount of good faith involved that messages land with the correct audience and resulting action is taken. 

Podcasting can offer a level of targeting and accountability that other media sales find hard to match. 

The growth in dynamically inserted Host Read Adverts (HRA’s) over the last five years can give advertisers even more certainty that their campaigns are reaching the right ears. In 2019, 52% of HRA campaigns we’re “baked in” to podcasts (part of the source audio files) now that number is down to just 16% meaning that ad tech can not only ensure that certain listener demographics hear the advert (defined by variants of age, location, sex and more) but also track the impact those ads are having and if positive action is being taken by the audience.

We are discovering who our listeners are, where they are, and how they engage with brands. The anonymised, granular data that we can draw from is hugely powerful and only goes to add to the value that can be offered alongside audio’s already very exciting data on recall and engagement.

Andrea Day – Operations Director (Voiceworks)

These three triggers are just some of the qualities that have led to the current interest in sports podcasts from advertisers which means that for many official bodies and rights holders podcasting is now a realistic major revenue stream as well as being a fantastic PR tool and a way to engage new and existing fanbases. 

Why your podcast downloads dropping recently may not be a bad thing

When you next log into your podcast hosting platform to take a peek at your audience data you may be in for a bit of a shock. It is likely that your worst podcasting fears have been realised and your download numbers have dropped but, don’t panic yet. 

There is a very simple reason why this has happened and, in the long term, it’s probably a good thing.

Why have my download numbers dropped?

The latest iOS 17 update for Apple devices has changed the way that automatic downloads are handled.

Automatic downloads for shows will now be paused when a listener hasn’t played/listened to a show they follow for either the last five episodes or the last fifteen days. This remains the case until a listener resumes playing that show or manually changes their download preferences to start automatically downloading episodes again. Apple say this is to help preserve device storage.

Obviously, this change doesn’t impact the number of people listening to your show via Apple devices but, as the market share for Apple Podcasts is so large, these changes can have a pretty heavy impact on your numbers. Earlier this week, for example, Buzzsprout reported that Apple downloads had fallen by 24%, largely down to this change.

Why isn’t this a bad thing?

I can understand that the first reaction to the news your downloads are going to drop is mild panic but it’s important to remember that the “listeners” never existed in the first place.

Sure, your content was being downloaded onto someone’s phone or tablet but it was never reaching anyone’s ears. Yes, your download numbers may appear smaller than before but the number of people hearing your content remains the same.

There was a similar impact on downloads in 2017-18 with the introduction of IAB Tech Lab Podcast Measurement 2.0 (the industry standard for measuring podcast audience). 

Previous to this podcast downloads/listens were measured by the number of times an RSS feed was “hit”. However, each feed could potentially be “hit” several times during a single listening session meaning that one listener was being counted multiple times.

The new IAB standard meant that listening was measured within a 24-hour window meaning that one person’s multiple listening sessions within 24 hours would count as one listen.

It resulted in some podcasters “losing” up to 60% of their “listeners” overnight.

The introduction of the IAB standard had a very different intention to the Apple Update. Whilst Apple are in pursuit of improving user experience, IAB wanted to improve reporting and give advertisers more confidence. The outcome however could be similar, and that’s why this may not be all bad.

In terms of the media landscape as a whole, podcasting is very much still the new kid on the block and as such has to work a little harder to attract the advertising pound.

Whilst it could be argued that the accuracy and transparency offered by podcasting far outstrips that of some of its competitors (radio and RAJAR for example) anything that can be done to increase advertiser confidence and attract more business into the sector is a positive thing.

Although it wasn’t their main intention, by making this switch, Apple is giving podcast advertisers more reassurance that the baked-in ads they are paying people to hear are reaching genuine pairs of ears. It’s worth noting that dynamically inserted advertising already gives advertisers this confidence as advertising impressions are only counted when an advert is consumed in its entirety.

As Acast CEO, Ross Adams pointed out, it’s short-term pain for long-term gain:

“In the long-term, the change will mean a more accurate picture of the listening frequency for each podcast which is a positive development for the industry as a whole. In the short-term, we expect a decrease in the number of overall listens and an increase in the average revenue per listen.”

Whilst the expected drop in numbers may be painful for many right now, more confidence in reporting data means more advertisers. Also, as Ross suggests, having more genuine listeners hearing adverts should lead to increases in ad effectiveness.

Both of these things will result in higher ad value and higher ad value means more money in podcasters’ pockets.

Podcast Advertising Campaigns Outperform Average Conversion Rates With SSPN

At the Sport Social Podcast Network, we take pride in our ability to help take the guess work out of booking campaigns and deliver exceptional results for our clients, using a leading tracking and measurability platform.

With the help of our trusted partner, Veritonic, we have been able to provide our clients with real-time insights and transparent data on their podcast advertising campaigns. By leveraging cutting-edge tracking technology, we can measure key metrics such as downloads, engagement rates, and conversions, allowing our clients to make informed decisions and optimise their marketing strategies. Brands who are seeing success include; My Diesel Claim, Travis Perkins and Bet Victor.  Brands who are seeing success include; My Diesel Claim, Travis Perkins and BetVictor. 

Recently, we reviewed four different audio spot ad campaigns directly related to car sales and/or leasing that ran in 2023. The conversion rate for these campaigns delivered by Sport Social was based on driving unique users to the participating brands’ websites and ranged between 3 and 18% (expressed as a percentage of reach). This means that not only have Sport Social podcasts outperformed the average benchmark of 1.32% and 1.92% motor category benchmark – according to the Podsight Q1 2023 Report – but our results show that even the lowest performing campaign was delivering ahead of benchmark.

According to Veritonic, Sport Social campaigns had an average conversion rate of 7.1%, based on reach of campaigns and driving web traffic to client sites.  

We will work with you to achieve your marketing goals using data-driven success metrics.

New Live Betting Radio Station in Call for Podcasters

A new 24/7 radio station has launched in the UK providing live sports betting content. Betting Radio is a unique blend of classic & contemporary indie & rock paired with expert betting tips and insights.

The Best Music, The Best Tips

Betting Radio is looking for sports podcasters to get involved by sending in clips of their pre or post match content from their show. Any content that is played out on air will receive a full credit and also link back to the specific podcast.

The content doesn’t need to be bespoke or made especially for the station, and it doesn’t need to feature loads of prices and bets either. The station is most interested in starting some great partnerships with some creators of great content.

There a few ground rules for anyone looking to work with the station:

• All persons involved with the podcast must be over 25 years old.

• There cannot be any live ad reads in the content, but mentions for sponsors of podcasts is permitted.

• Content should be suitable for broadcast.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please email Naz Premji – naz@sportsbroadcastmedia.co.uk and have a listen to www.bettingrad.io

Sport Social Podcast Network Announced As Headline Sponsor For Sports Podcast Awards 2024

The world of sports podcasting is in for a thrilling ride as we gear up for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards. With the event just around the corner and entries now open, we are excited to announce we are the headline sponsor for this year’s awards!

The Sports Podcast Awards have always been a platform to celebrate the outstanding work of sports podcasters. By committing to this headline sponsorship, we’re taking that celebration to new heights. Its commitment to excellence mirrors our own, and together, we aim to recognize and honour the best in the business.

>> Click to enter the Sports Podcast Awards 2024

Anthony Cooper, Head of Content at Sport Industry Group, on behalf of the Sports Podcast Awards, had this to say:

“Sport Social Podcast Network’s involvement as the headline sponsor for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards is a commitment to the ever growing industry of sports podcasts. Their dedication to distributing, growing and monetising high-quality sports content aligns perfectly with our mission to honour excellence in sports podcasting. We are thrilled to have them on board and look forward to an incredible celebration of the sports podcasting community.”

Stefan Doyle, Head of Sport Social, added:

“The Sports Podcast Awards continues to go from strength to strength and we are delighted to be the headline sponsor for 2024. This partnership embodies our shared vision for shining a light on sports podcasting and recognising the best creators and shows. Sport connects people all around the world and the production of excellent sport audio is on the rise globally. We’re excited to give the awards a platform to reach even more people.”

With Sport Social as our headline sponsor, the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards promise to be a spectacle like no other with the team an integral part of the action.

This partnership is a testament to the growing influence and importance of sports podcasting in the world of sports media. It’s not just about broadcasting games; it’s about telling stories, analysing plays, and giving voice to the passions of sports fans worldwide. 

Entry Requirements

Here are the entry requirements for the 2024 Sports Podcast Awards! Your main entry will be a minimum of one and a maximum of three samples from your podcast. These should each be 5 minutes or less. You will also provide your podcast artwork, podcast description, and a few sentences as to why you should win. Please note, if your show makes the official shortlist, all information will be publicly available unless otherwise noted.

NAME & ARTWORK

Provide the name of your show and the podcast artwork.

PODCAST DESCRIPTION

What is your podcast about?

AUDIO SAMPLES

Upload up to 3, 5-minute audio samples.

ONE FULL EPISODE

A link to a full episode of your show in case there is interest to hear more than your samples.

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES

Send in all your handles to facilitate connecting with others in this community.

WHY YOU SHOULD WIN

Your opportunity to tell the judges why your podcast should win.

Important Entry Information

  • Entry is free for independent podcasts.
    • Creators who independently produce and manage their own podcast, without the management or ownership from major networks or corporations.
  • Cost of entry for others = $99 / £80.
  • You can enter multiple categories. Capped at $297 / £240.
  • You will be able to make changes until entries close.
  • Please note that if you reach the official shortlist, your information will be made publicly available unless otherwise noted.
  • The clips and episode you submit must have been released between October 2022 and October 2023.

>> Click to enter the Sports Podcast Awards 2024

Support Sport Social Podcasts At The Football Content Awards 2023

The nominations for this year’s Football Content Awards have been announced and we’re so pleased to see so many creators from the Sport Social Podcast Network recognised for the brilliant work they produce.

We’ve put together a list of everyone on Sport Social who have been nominated. They now need your help to bring home the gold!

Check out the full list below and cast your vote!

BEST IN VIDEO

BEST IN WOMEN’S FOOTBALL

BEST INFLUENCER

BEST PODCAST

BEST CONTENT CREATOR

BEST CLUB CONTENT CREATOR

BEST IN FANTASY FOOTBALL

BEST BRANDED CAMPAIGN

RIP GOOGLE PODCASTS: WHY DID IT FAIL?

Like many podcast listeners, I received an email this week to tell me that Google Podcasts was about to breathe its last breath.

Whilst the news was not a complete surprise (the app has been on life support for some time) and disruption to podcast listening will be minimal (Google never really managed to claim much market share). It does pose the questions as to why Google failed to dominate the podcast market with under 1% of listening via their app when they seemed so well set up to succeed and what happens next in terms of Google’s play in the audio space. 

Firstly, we need to decide whether the closure of Google Podcasts is a failure or if it’s a tactical repositioning. Whilst Google Podcasts is closing its doors the tech giant isn’t abandoning podcasting altogether. Instead, it is focusing its attention on YouTube as a podcasting platform which, depending on your definition of “podcasting”, is where many already find their podcast content.

“Over the coming months, podcasts in YouTube Music will be made available globally and we will start rolling out tools that will enable you to transfer your podcast show subscriptions from Google Podcasts.” – Google.

Why should we believe, however, that Google is any better equipped to make podcasting work on YouTube when they have failed to make it work as a Google product?

With 90%+ of global search traffic, you would have thought Google had all the tools it needed to drive traffic to its podcasting platform. Comparing that market dominance to the 1% of podcast listening via Google tells a different story and highlights their failure in this area.

In truth, the user journey was never there.

Google never introduced a Podcast tab within their search engine that would allow people to find audio-related search results easily and separately. They never introduced embed audio in search results meaning listeners always needed multiple clicks even when clearly searching for podcast or audio content.

On the face of it, YouTube is a far better home for podcasts. Largely because it’s already a source for this content for many. 2022 research from Luminate found that YouTube was already the most used podcast platform on the market and whilst podcast purists and producers (amongst which I count myself) may gnash their teeth and bemoan what is and isn’t a podcast, as Matt Deegan, on a recent episode of Voiceworks: Sound Business pointed out, what “we” think doesn’t really matter. 

“We have to be focused on what consumers want and sometimes that differs from what producers want. If you are 15-24 you are so super YouTube native that it’s a big part of the way you consume Audio. The challenge for podcasters is that the audio environment and the video environment are very different. Podcasters may need to play content as a YouTuber rather than a podcaster.” – Matt Deegan

What this move does do is further blur the lines between video and audio podcasting. The latter, to date, performs very poorly on the platform and we will only learn how successful audio-only podcasting can be on YouTube once we see the full extent of the rollout. One thing that will put many audio-minded folks at ease though is the platform’s ability to ingest RSS.

There were some concerns that YouTube had no intention to support RSS, the traditional form of podcast distribution, instead opting for their own hosting mechanism and a “walled garden” approach to podcasting. It was announced at this year’s Podcast Movement (as reported in Podnews Weekly Review) that that would not be the case and both public and private feeds would be supported.

That doesn’t mean that video won’t still play a key part in the podcast experience via YouTube however with plans very much focused on both experiences:

“We’ve seen creators and artists embrace Podcasts on YouTube, and its incredible potential to boost audience growth across audio and video formats. Looking forward to 2024, we’ll be increasing our investment in the podcast experience on YouTube Music — making it a better overall destination for fans and podcasters alike with YouTube-only capabilities across community, discovery, and audio/visual switching.”  – YouTube

Google has all the tools to make podcasting work on its platform but its inability to make it work within its Google eco-system and harness the power of that search engine does raise questions as to whether they have the required understanding and knowledge of the podcasting space to make it work on the (equally well positioned) YouTube platform.