YouTube has big plans for podcast creators

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It looks like YouTube has big plans in store for podcast creators, as a leaked presentation features slides suggesting the company will introduce a dedicated podcast section to its website and mobile app.

The presentation, initially sent to Podnews, contains information on YouTube's future plans for hosting podcast content. Among that info are mockup images of what a dedicated podcast section could look like. The images feature the recognizable YouTube layout, complete with thumbnails, timestamps and various playlists.

According to the presentation, YouTube is looking to integrate podcast RSS feeds into this dedicated space. Hopefully, this means users will be able to add their existing RSS feeds to their YouTube homepages.

There's no word on when YouTube's podcast integration will come to the site, but another slide highlights that "partner-sold audio ads" are coming sometime in 2022. This may indicate that the wider podcast platform will arrive before the year is out.

Said ads will be provided by both Google and its partners, so it doesn't sound all that dissimilar to YouTube existing advertising model. As such, we imagine podcasts hosted on YouTube will be prefixed or segmented by personalized ads. We currently don't know if a YouTube Premium subscription will remove these ads for users as it does with video content, but we certainly hope that'll be the case.

YouTube and podcasts - a match made in heaven?

While plenty of content creators currently upload podcasts to YouTube in video format, the site doesn't actually have a dedicated section for podcasts. In the likely event these plans come to fruition, though, YouTube is placing itself in direct competition with popular podcast hosts like Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud.

YouTube's strategy, then, should revolve around how it can incentivize podcast creators to host on its platform. That could come in the form of an enticing revenue split, but maybe even powerful analytics that could be provided by Google, with which YouTube shares a parent company.

Similar to instances on Spotify, YouTube may also be interested in poaching some big-name podcasts that currently host on other platforms as its own. While such a forceful approach doesn't always sit well with regular podcast listeners, it could be an effective short-term method of guiding those listeners to its new platform.

In any case, we're a little surprised that YouTube hasn't jumped on the podcast format sooner, though it may have felt little need to in the past. As mentioned, creators are already hosting podcasts on the regular YouTube platform.

But a dedicated podcast platform does make sense. YouTube has expanded in a litany of ways since its launch in 2005. In more recent years, YouTube has launched dedicated services for Gaming, Originals, Music and more. The addition of podcasts to this roster, in YouTube's eyes, could cement it as an all-in-one destination for entertainment of all kinds.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.