Google has sent a strong signal about its confidence in the growth of podcasts, announcing it will be investing more money into improving the podcast experience on YouTube.
The tech giant said it will create “a better overall destination for fans and podcasters alike with YouTube-only capabilities across community, discovery and audio/visual switching.”
Before the end of this year, Podcasts on YouTube Music, will be available globally – currently it’s only available in the United States.
But the move will have implications for those who currently use Google Podcasts to listen to their favourite shows.
With YouTube becoming the key platform for podcasts, Google Podcasts will be closed down. That will occur in mid-late 2024, but not exact date has been specified.
According to Edison Research, about 23% of weekly podcast users in the US say YouTube is their most frequently used service, versus just 4% for Google Podcasts. So it’s likely Google won’t have too much trouble getting podcast listeners over to YouTube.
A post in Google’s support community provided assurances about a seamless switch.
“For now, you can continue listening to podcasts in Google Podcasts. We’ll update you when it’s time for you to migrate your podcast show subscriptions, along with details about the process – with plenty of time to make the switch!”Google Support Team
In the United States you can watch and listen to podcasts on YouTube Music, without requiring a paid membership. The platform includes features similar to Spotify and Apple Podcasts, such as access to downloads, background play in places like the car and on smart speakers, as well as the ability to switch between audio and video podcasts.
Industry sources say it’s unlikely Google will introduce a pay-to-play only model, as adverting revenue generated by podcasts is on the rise.