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Substack’s rolling out a video feature, but it’s not available to everyone yet

Users can record and upload videos directly on Substack

Substack’s video feature is now in a private beta.
Screenshot: Andrew Zimmern via Substack

Substack, the platform where creators can share free or paid newsletters, has announced a new video feature that’s currently in a private beta (via TechCrunch). The feature will let users upload or record videos directly in Substack and then publish them within their posts.

Substack explains the videos will be directly playable when viewed from a browser. When included in an email, however, users won’t be able to click and play it from within the email itself — videos will instead show up as “clickable images” that redirect users to a web version in their browser. The platform’s support page says users can record and upload videos from their smartphone or desktop computer. Users can also choose thumbnail images, as well as provide a free preview of videos if the post is for subscribers only. Substack supports videos up to 20GB in 3GP, AAC, AVI, FLV, MP4, MOV, and MPEG-2 formats.

The platform shows a few examples of how videos might look on Substack — while one is a vocal test from musician Patti Smith, another shows a cooking demonstration from Andrew Zimmern (presumably shot on a smartphone) ahead of a longer post. The final video is a paywalled roundtable with Bari Weiss, demonstrating how videos will look with paid posts.

Videos aren’t available to all Substack creators just yet. The feature is still in a private beta, which users can join by filling out this form.

Substack began exploring other forms of media when it first introduced podcasts in 2019, which lets creators distribute podcasts across Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Pocket Casts. Last year, it announced its funding of podcast network Booksmart Studios.

Twitter and Meta have been trying to one-up Substack (which reached 1 million paid subscribers last year), with both platforms launching their own takes on paid newsletter services. As of last December, Meta’s Bulletin has just 115 publishers, “more than half” of which have “over 1,000 free email subscribers.” Meanwhile, Twitter acquired paid newsletter service Revue last year as an attempt to topple Substack’s popularity and currently lets users incorporate links, tweets, and videos into their newsletter posts.