YouTube is embracing its position as the (unintentional) most-used podcast platform by launching a dedicated podcast page. As the lines between podcasting and YouTube blur, any step the company takes toward consolidating listening could pose a challenge for competitors Spotify and Apple Podcasts.
The page debuted in late July and is still in the rollout process, according to 9to5Google. It can be accessed only in the US at youtube.com/podcasts or through the Explore page (in-app or browser), where there is a new podcast tab. The new page features trending shows and channels that already have millions of subscribers, like The H3 Podcast or Logan Paul’s podcast, but otherwise does not exhibit a ton of curation.
The page is not nearly as sophisticated as rival podcast platforms, but that may not matter all that much. A study by Cumulus in May found that YouTube is already outperforming Apple Podcasts and Spotify, thanks to the rise of video podcasts and ease of use, so maybe it is smarter to stick to the format audiences already know.
YouTube’s presence in the podcasting space happened more by osmosis than as a deliberate strategy. Apple was the first tech giant to enter the space, launching podcasts in 2005. Spotify started aggressively pursuing podcasting in 2019 with studio and tech acquisitions and blockbuster deals with stars like Joe Rogan and Alex Cooper. Meanwhile, podcasts on YouTube just kind of happened because everything ends up on YouTube one way or another.
Podcasting is still small potatoes for YouTube. The streamer brought in $28.8 billion for its parent company, Google, in 2021. Meanwhile, the entire podcast industry just passed $1 billion last year, according to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. YouTube doesn’t really need to own podcasting, but the page is an indication that the company may put more resources into it anyway. The company did not immediately respond to request for comment on further podcast initiatives.