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YouTube’s New Podcasts Platform is Now Live for Some US Users

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YouTube’s New Podcasts Platform is Now Live for Some US Users

YouTube’s taking its next steps into podcast hosting, with some users now able to access a dedicated podcast page in the app, which will eventually enable podcasters to feed their shows straight into YouTube, adding another promotion surface for their content.

As reported by 9to5Google, YouTube’s podcast page is now available to a small subset of people, providing a full overview of podcast content in the app

As you can see in this example, most of the listed podcasts, at present, link to YouTube accounts and videos of the same, with audio versions available for each, providing another way to better integrate your YouTube and podcast content approach.

As per 9to5Google:

Available on desktop web and mobile, it’s very rudimentary at this point. There are carousels, which can be expanded via ‘Show all’, for ‘Popular episodes’, ‘Popular podcast playlists’, ‘Recommended’, and ‘Popular podcast creators’. The rest of this page links to various categories: Comedy, True Crime, Sports, Music, and TV & Film.”

YouTube has confirmed the test, explaining that:

“The podcast destination page on YouTube helps users explore new and popular podcast episodes, shows and Creators, as well as recommend podcast content. It’s currently available in the US only.”

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So it’s still very limited at present, but it’s the next step in YouTube’s podcast plans, which will eventually provide another consideration for building your YouTube and podcast audience.

YouTube’s move into podcasts was revealed earlier this year, via a leaked pitch deck which provided a basic overview of the platform’s plans to more directly incorporate podcasts into the YouTube experience.

YouTube podcasts

As noted, podcasters will eventually be able to feed their audio shows in via RSS, with YouTube offering audio ads, analytics, and more to help them showcase their audio offerings.

In some ways, it seems strange that the leading video platform is moving into audio as well, but with podcast listenership on the rise, and audio options gaining popularity, there’s clear value in YouTube incorporating podcasts as another potential growth element.

As highlighted in the above image, many popular YouTubers now have their own podcasts anyway, which they share to the platform via in-studio video clips, which essentially means that YouTube already hosts a lot of audio-focused content either way. At the same time, YouTube has also made music a bigger focus, with audio-only listening options providing another means to consume YouTube content.

In late 2020, YouTube reported that music streaming had reached an all-time high, while YouTube Music itself now has more than 77 million paying subscribers. So while visual elements remain central to the platform’s broader offering, there’s clearly significant interest in audio-only content as well, while YouTube also added audio only ads back in 2020, as part of its broader push to maximize YouTube Music.

On balance, the integration of podcasts makes a lot of sense, in providing more ways for creators to solidify bonds with their audience.

YouTube hasn’t provided any further details at this stage, but an official announcement is expected sometime soon.   

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Meta Will Shut Down its Newsletter Platform Early Next Year

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Meta's Reallocating Resources Away from Bulletin and its News Tab, Which Could See Publishers Lose Out

In news that will surprise no-one, Meta has today confirmed that it’s shutting down its ‘Bulletin’ newsletter platform, just 18 months after its initial launch.

Another sign of Meta’s fleeting interest in the latest trends, the company launched Bulletin in April 2021, as part of an effort to take a piece of the growing newsletter market, with platforms like Substack seeing massive growth in facilitating direct connection between writers and their audiences. Twitter also acquired newsletter platform Revue, and it had seemed, at the time, that newsletters could offer a new, supplementary income stream for creators, aligned with social apps.

In addition to this, Meta also saw an opportunity to provide a platform for local publications that had been shut down due to the pandemic. With ad dollars from local businesses drying up, due to lockdown measures, many smaller publications had to shut down, and Meta viewed this as a chance to make Facebook an even more critical element of community engagement, by providing a direct pathway for independent journalists to serve their audiences through the app.

As part of its initial push, Meta allocated $5 million in funding for local publications to convert to Bulletin instead.

And it sort of worked. Bulletin, at last at one stage, supported over 115 publications, with more than half of the creators on the platform reaching over 1,000 subscribers.

But this year, amid tougher market conditions, Meta lost interest.

The company has been gradually scaling back its investment in news and original content in recent months. Back in July, The Wall Street Journal reported that Meta had reallocated resources from both its Facebook News tab and Bulletin, in order to ‘heighten their focus on building a more robust Creator economy’

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In other words, Reels – Meta’s main investment focus for the future of the Creator Economy is short-form video content, which drives more views, more engagement, and is the big trend that Meta’s chasing right now.

As a result, Meta says that it will shut down Bulletin by early next year.

As per Meta:

“Bulletin has allowed us to learn about the relationship between Creators and their audiences and how to better support them in building their community on Facebook. While this off-platform product itself is ending, we remain committed to supporting these and other Creators’ success and growth on our platform.”

So long as they create Reels, I guess.

Again, the decision here is no surprise, but it does serve as another reminder that Meta chases whatever trends it can, and it has no real, long-term commitment on any of its new pushes.

Video is the thing, as it has been several times before, and Meta will keep pushing that till audiences lose interest. Then it’ll be something else that Meta’s pitching to brands, publishers, users, etc.

Logically, Meta follows the latest trends in order to maximize the benefit of such within its tools. But it is worth noting that, when it does lose interest, it tends to move on entirely, leaving anyone who’s invested in its last whim out in the cold.

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Overall, Bulletin isn’t huge, and it won’t impact a heap of writers and publishers, as such. But even so, for those that have invested in the platform, in good faith, it’s a bitter pill, and while they will now be able to move on to other platforms as well, it’s good to remind yourself that Meta chases trends, and moves on quick.

‘Don’t build on rented land’. ‘Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket’. Don’t trust social platforms to keep supporting that feature or platform that you’ve come to rely on.

The closure of Bulletin may seem like a side note to many, but it’s an important reminder that you need to diversify your strategy to avoid such impacts.

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