No one goes anywhere without a podcast or two downloaded on their phone or tablet these days. For obvious reasons, anything the public can’t live without is a good money making prospect for entrepreneurs and businesses. That’s an easier statement to make than to follow up, however. How exactly does people’s love of audio content translate to a good strategy for you? YouTube might just have given us an answer to that question.
In a recent decision, the wildly popular streaming platform is going to start offering grants to podcasters to turn their podcasts into video content. Individual shows could receive $50,000, while podcast networks might get as much as $200,000 or even $300,000.
These are big numbers, and it has people asking: what’s the deal?
YouTube Incubating Podcasters as Video Makers?
YouTube’s approach seems to be one of incubation, helping smaller companies in which they believe to get off the ground. Obviously the A/V giant doesn’t meet the traditional definition of an incubator company, but they are providing much the same thing: resources to turn small ventures into larger ones. It’s more than that, though; they intend to help podcasters and networks transition their content to entirely new forms.
The appeal that podcasts might have for the visual medium is obvious. Whether a cast is acted or narrated, a solo spectacle or a talk show, many would work well on screen. In offering this “grant” money, YouTube is hoping to encourage podcasters to make filmed versions of popular episodes, or else to create related content that doesn’t strictly follow previously published installments.
We’re not rocket scientists, but we can still see how exciting this might be to a podcaster. The next question is regarding what YouTube stands to gain from the arrangement.
Why Is YouTube Doing This?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering, “That’s a LOT of money. What’s in it for them?”
The answer is pretty simple: podcast market share is staggering. “The global podcasting market size was valued at USD 11.46 billion in 2020,” says Grand View Research, “and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.1% from 2021 to 2028.”
Statista adds that the number of podcast listeners is growing all the time, with “an estimated 120 million podcast listeners in the country in 2021.” Moreover, “Forecasts suggest that the number of podcast listeners will surpass 160 million in 2023 after increases of around 20 million each year.” With figures like these, the real question is what took YouTube so long to want a piece of the pie.
True, YouTube already benefits from podcasters who repurpose their audio material by adding a simple background image and streaming on the video-sharing site. But with Amazon, Spotify, Apple and even Google raking in the dough from podcasting content, YouTube is clearly looking to make things a little more official.
That’s where their grant program comes in, incentivizing podcasters to bring popular content to YouTube – even if it isn’t on an exclusive basis. Simply having popular content on their site will bring in market share. Once the audience is there, they’re more likely to spend time engaging with other content on YouTube as well.
The grants aren’t the company’s only plan to bring in new creators, though.
What Else Is New with the Video Streaming Platform?
In an attempt to compete with TikTok’s quick, quirky approach to media entertainment, YouTube created Shorts in September 2020 and rolled it out worldwide in July of the following year. It didn’t take long for the feature to gain popularity, with billions of daily views within just a few months.
Now YouTube is trying to increase its popularity further, adding a raft of new features to Shorts, including new editing and effects tools, as well as the ability to reply to comments with a new video – a fun highlight of engagement on TikTok.
Via Shorts as well as across the board, YouTube is also trying to help creators monetize their content more effectively. Creators can now expand their branding and allow customers to shop from a Short. In addition, YouTube has taken a cue from TikTok and Instagram and will allow creators to go live together in the near future.
What Does This Mean for Marketers?
As podcasts become more profitable and YouTube offers more features that help users get their content out, a marriage between the two is looking like a better and better idea for any business. So, is it worth it for you to use YouTube podcasting – or audio/visual content in general – as a marketing strategy for your business? The answer is yes if:
- Your company is looking to reach younger, more tech-savvy audiences
- Your clients and customers would benefit from seeing your content in an audio or visual format
- You can easily turn your product into helpful how-tos or funny episodes
- You’ve already got a streamlined content marketing strategy and are looking to make text-based content (blog, email) more robust with media
- You have already-made content that you could easily put on YouTube to take advantage of their push
It’s also worth keeping in mind how much revenue you can make simply by creating a popular product and then allowing others to advertise on your show. As MediaRadar points out, advertising spend jumped more than 21 percent in 2021, jumping to $590 million. Not a bad pie to want a slice of, eh?
If you’re considering new content in 2022 and the coming years, keep this in mind: YouTube wouldn’t invest so much money in a form of content if there wasn’t a ton of market share to back up its gamble. So, how about considering it in your marketing planning?
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