Earlier this year there were reports that YouTube will soon add a dedicated homepage for podcasts — a signal that the company is getting serious about its investment in podcasts and the potential ad revenue they can provide. YouTube confirmed to TechCrunch today that the new podcast destination is now live for US users, after the URL was discovered to be active before any official announcement.
According to a report by 9to5Googlethe dedicated podcast page YouTube.com/podcasts launched sometime last month and is now linked, at least for some users, to YouTube existing research page along with other top destinations such as gaming, sports, learning, fashion and more. However, it did not appear in the sidebar navigation of the website.
Reached for comment, YouTube told TechCrucnh that the URL is not globally available at this time.
“The YouTube podcast page helps users explore new and popular podcast episodes, shows and creators, as well as recommend podcast content,” said YouTube spokesperson Paul Penington. “Currently only available in the US.”
YouTube declined to answer further questions about the company’s plans for podcasts in general or the destination itself — hinting that a broader announcement is still to come. (This may be one of the announcements planned for a YouTube creator event scheduled for next month, if we had to guess.)
Last year, YouTube hired a podcast executiveKai Chuk, to lead his efforts in space and has been cash supply of popular podcasters to record their shows, reports said. This March, a site called Podnews leaked an 84-page presentation detailing YouTube’s podcast roadmap. In the document, YouTube revealed that it has plans to pilot the feature by ingesting RSS feeds. Also mentioned is a new URL, YouTube.com/podcasts, but the link is down at this time.
The document also helps clarify some of YouTube’s views on podcasts, as it suggests YouTube has plans to include audio ads sold by Google and other partners. This could represent a potential new revenue stream for the tech giant at a time when younger generations have changed their search behavior from Google to other platforms, such as TikTok. The filing says YouTube plans to roll out audio-first metrics for creators and integrate YouTube data into podcast measurement platforms including Nielsen, Chartable and Podtrac.
Adding a top-level landing page for podcasts is a pretty big move for the company.
As YouTube’s various verticals grow in importance and popularity, YouTube will highlight these categories by offering them their own home pages on its site and presenting them as a link in its main navigation. In particular, do this with YouTube Gaming already in 2015 and YouTube Fashion (now Fashion & Beauty) in 2019. On mobile, it also features a visible YouTube Music link that opens the companion app for YouTube’s music service. It could presumably do the same with podcasts in the future if it wants to capitalize on its ability to drive traffic from its flagship app to its streaming service.
YouTube’s progress in podcasting follows Spotify’s significant investment in the medium. The company has spent more than $1 billion in related acquisitions. It brought in-house studios and exclusive shows, launched paid podcast subscriptions, and developed podcast ad tech platforms and services. Spotify trumpeted the revenue potential of its podcasting efforts this June, noting that its podcasting business generates around 200 million euros last year, up 300% from 2020.