Spotify is rolling out video podcasts, with a feature that allows listeners to switch to audio-only mode when on the go, following a successful test of the service.
Both free and subscription tiers of service will offer video. The company’s watershed, $100 million deal with Joe Rogan reached this spring will make his podcast exclusive to Spotify later this year. That deal includes video, but clips from his newsmaking interviews will continue to be posted on YouTube.
The initial roster of shows adding video includes Book of Basketball 2.0, Fantasy Footballers, The Misfits Podcast, H3 Podcast, The Morning Toast, Higher Learning with Van Lathan & Rachel Lindsay, and The Rooster Teeth Podcast.
Spotify has invested in video before. It mounted an original content effort designed to position it as a player in the video streaming space, but abandoned that initiative in 2017. The maturation of podcasting in the intervening years – and the comfort level of audiences with straightforward video – could benefit the new offering, which is aimed at boosting advertising opportunities.
In a press release, the company said adding video allows the makers of podcasts to “connect more meaningfully with their listeners, expand viewership, and deepen audience engagement. It’s a way to enrich the audio experience—for fans and creators alike.”
Videos start automatically and sync with listeners’ audio feed. Audio will also continue to play when they toggle between apps or lock their mobile device. Video podcasts are also downloadable, as audio ones have been.
Spotify, whose chief content officer is veteran TV network and streaming video exec Dawn Ostroff, has been pushing aggressively into podcasting, making a series of acquisitions and setting talent deals. Competitors like the Amazon-owned Audible and Apple are also focused on podcasting. While advertising growth and listening has slowed during COVID-19, the emerging field but remains promising for a range of players.
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