As video podcasts continue to increase in popularity, chief operating officer of independent podcast company Stak Luke Moore has said he still doesn’t understand where video fits into podcasting, and whether or not people actually want it.
Stak is the award-winning company behind a number of hit podcasts including Football Ramble, Wrestle Me, The Offensive, and more. On social media channels like Instagram, Stak posts video clips of some of its podcasts to promote new episodes featuring the hosts recording in the studio.
However, Moore told PodPod in the latest episode of the podcast that Stak’s video strategy is to mostly use these clips for promotional purposes and supporting the shows. On a wider level, Moore does not believe that video-first podcasting fits into the industry in the long run despite its growth in popularity and still thinks that listeners prefer audio.
“People went on a big pivot to video, famously, not just in podcasting but in loads of different areas of journalism, sports, writing, and all that kind of stuff,” said Moore. “Websites were just saying ‘hey, we're gonna put a lot of money into video’ and I think from memory that was all based around certain information algorithms that certain social media companies were putting out but I don't see what we're seeing now is necessarily reflective of that.”
“I just don't think people think about the listener and listeners’ experience enough and the way people listen to podcasts; audio works and has always worked because it's quite a passive medium…I don't understand how video fits into that going forward, unless you're talking about an audience that skews younger, that is sitting there staring at a screen for 45 minutes or an hour at a time.”
The concept of video podcasts - also known as vodcasts - has been a trending conversation across the podcast industry this year, with many experts talking about it during sessions at The Podcast Show 2023 and across other like-minded events. This is in line with streaming platforms like YouTube and Spotify making advancements in the space, expanding their video podcast capabilities and making them more accessible to a wider audience.
YouTube Music has also now started to incorporate podcasts into its app in several regions which allow users to play podcasts as audio only in the background or offline. At the moment, users can only upload podcasts to the platform if they’re available as video first, but the platform is currently testing out uploading podcasts via RSS feeds with select shows.
Moore also spoke about how a number of podcasters have claimed that YouTube is offering payment to podcasters to be on the platform and saying that they’re “going to try and become the biggest podcast platform in the world” as it takes over the space. No Agenda’s Adam Curry recently spoke about his experience with this on the Podcasting 2.0 podcast - as reported by PodNews - and claimed he was offered access to YouTube’s RSS testing scene and a grant if he transformed his show into video form but refused, stating that this is “a hijack of the term podcast”.
“People that like using YouTube are always on YouTube so they'll hit the podcast button and they'll just put it in their pocket. Now if YouTube is content with that and they're happy to not have any visual element to it, I guess it doesn't really matter,” said Moore. “It changes the dial for them a little bit because of the way they'll advertise and the way they'll kind of monetise it but maybe they don't care about that.”
“I don't fully understand, even after all these years, how video fits into the conversation and bearing in mind that in the past companies like Acast have tried to do video solutions and they've always just fallen by the wayside.”