After spending more than $1 billion on podcast assets, challenging investor skepticism, laying off dozens of podcasting employees, and parting ways with its main podcasting chief, Spotify is establishing its focus for the vertical moving forward: more video, more consolidation, and more splashy names.
At the company’s Stream On event in Los Angeles, head of global podcast studios Julie McNamara unveiled new video podcasts that’ll appeal to younger listeners. Video episodes of Distractable from Markiplier, the popular gaming YouTuber, are coming exclusively to the platform. The podcast ranks at number 36 on Spotify’s top podcast chart. Additionally, Spotify original Forbidden Fruits with Julia Fox is going video for its second season, no doubt inspired by Call Her Daddy’s viral uncuh jams moment.
McNamara touted the streamer’s top position with young listeners and sees video as a big part of that. “Video podcasting is one of the fastest growing areas of podcasting, and we expect that growth to continue,” she said. “Right now, we have 70,000 video creators on the platform and with a lot more on the way.”
Video podcasts are also better suited to Spotify’s new homepage, which pulls from TikTok’s playbook. Users will be able to scroll through clips of music, podcasts, and audiobooks. While audio-only podcasts function in this new feed, video podcasts appear to be a better fit.
Spotify is also trying to get more video podcasts on the platform. Anyone who signs up for Spotify for Podcasters will soon be able to publish video podcasts, a feature that used to be reserved for Anchor users.
Speaking of Anchor, that brand appears to be falling by the wayside. Spotify acquired the DIY podcast publisher Anchor in 2019, and it remains the top publishing platform on the market. Despite the strong brand recognition, it appears Anchor is being folded into Spotify for Podcasters. Ahead of the event, the Anchor app was rebranded as Spotify for Podcasters on Apple and Google’s app stores. The update includes a webpage, help.anchor.fm, that redirects to Spotify for Podcasters’ help page, as well. Podcast product head Maya Prohovnik confirmed that integration at the event, and said that Megaphone, which is oriented toward professional podcast publishers, will join Spotify for Podcasters in the future.
Spotify is also working to keep you locked on podcasts. Chief product officer Gustav Söderström said that an autoplay function is being added to podcasts, which will line up another podcast right after you are finished listening to an episode. And it’s bringing more podcasts into the app, partnering with Patreon to let users add shows that Patreon creators make exclusive to their subscribers.