Is YouTube the Next Frontier for Podcasts?

Podcasters are finding YouTube a friendly place to distribute their content. With a billion monthly users, YouTube’s an attractive place to woo listeners. Libsyn, a podcast hosting company, recently introduced a feature that enables podcasters to easily turn their audio files into video and send them to YouTube at the same time they send them to other distribution services such as iTunes and GooglePlay.

But YouTube is a video platform, right? Although it’s often disregarded in a conversation about streaming audio listening, YouTube is by far the largest on demand streaming audio service. It makes sense the podcasters would offer their content on the giant on demand streaming platform as well. YouTube also has some other features that make it a great platform for podcasters – such as search and sharing.

This American Life offers all of its content on YouTube, as do many others. Some, like The Moth, and NPR podcasts like The Hidden Brain and Invisibilia, have organized all of their content into YouTube pages that you can subscribe to, while others, like 99 Percent Invisible and Reply All, are not quite as organized, but easy to find through search.

YouTube also offers recommendations – when I subscribed to Modern Love, produced by WBUR and the New York Times, I got recommendations for a Ted Talk, and a podcast by The Minimalists.

From the looks of the numbers of subscribers to some of the podcasts, it’s early in the idea that YouTube is a podcast distribution platform. The Moth’s 47,000 subscribers seems huge compared to This American Life which has 8562 subscribers. Meanwhile Serial has only 216(!). But Youtube sure seems like a ready-made distribution platform for podcast content. Maybe it’s the next frontier..




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