There is a raging debate in the podcasting space right now: to video or not to video? I’m not kidding! I participated in a debate for Creator Debates, where another podcaster and I debated this very topic. If 46% of podcast listeners want video, what should we do?
What Do Podcasters Think?
In said debate, I was making the “anti-video” argument, but truthfully, I can see both sides. Video (especially video on YouTube) can help with discovery, but it adds a ton of work for the podcaster. Work that could make launching the podcast prohibitively costly in terms of time and money.
Plus, as we’ve pointed out on this website, video can’t and won’t replace audio. They are simply different mediums.
Finally, according to our IndyPod Census, most podcasters don’t have plans to add video. We’re publishing those results soon.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned from Tom Webster of Sounds Profitable, you need to be where your audience hangs out if you want your podcast to grow.
Morning Consult Data Shows Listeners Want Video
More recently, they released a survey that finds 46% of podcast listeners want video. Before you get too worried, the preference among survey respondents is slight, with 42% explicitly preferring audio-only.
What this tells me (with further analysis in the article above) is that video is valuable, depending on the genre of the podcast. From the article:
Podcasts in several genres, including sports, entertainment, comedy and pop culture, are increasingly utilizing visual media to market their brands, reach new audiences and generate additional revenue, said podcasters, production executives and media experts.
So do I think you should go out right now, pick up a camera, and immediately add video to your podcast?
But I do think this survey highlights the need to consider adding some video component…or, at the very least, make sure your podcast is on YouTube.
Why YouTube Is an Important Platform for Podcasters
Back in August, I reported on YouTube rolling out its Podcast feature. Since then, we’ve gotten a 70+ page slide deck from YouTube called “Podcasting on YouTube.”
It’s clear that in 2023, YouTube is going to invest even more in discovery and monetization for podcasting…even as Google Podcasts goes away.
This, coupled with the news that 30% of Americans prefer YouTube for podcasts, and 46% want video for their podcast, means you should put your podcast on YouTube. This could be especially true, again, depending on the genre. While it’s still early days for YouTube podcasts, we can learn a little bit from their podcasts page.
The biggest takeaway is that YouTube is still unclear about what is and is not a podcast. But looking beyond that, entertainment shows seem to be popular on YouTube.
This is likely because there’s heavily supplemental video, like clips they’re talking about, important images, and other visuals that are hard to communicate with audio only.
How Can You Effectively Deliver Video to Listeners
So how do you do that? The easiest path is to use a tool like Repurpose or FusionCast to turn your audio into a video format that you can upload to YouTube. With Repurpose, there’s some setup (you connect your feed, select some artwork, etc.) then it’s automatic. With FusionCast, you drag and drop your audio and an image, export, and upload to YouTube. We also have a guide to podcast video editing in Reaper.
Then, at least, your podcast content will be on the platform.
You can also go one step further and record video when you record your podcast, even if you don’t plan to release it initially. Having that video ready to go is an asset. Now, more tools than ever support recording video along with audio…you can even get isolated audio and use just that.
In the debate, I said that watching people talk isn’t compelling video, and I firmly believe that. If you’re going to record video for your podcast, it’ll take some editing to make it compelling. Ideally, you should make some visual changes every 10-20 seconds to keep the user engaged.
But that doesn’t mean video is detrimental. Anecdotally, when I release the video on YouTube for a podcast episode instead of just a glorified audiogram, I tend to get 2-3x more views (I have a very modest viewership).
At the very least, I think it’s worth the experiment. It could mean great growth and discovery for your podcast. It could even mean modest monetization.
Or you could find it’s not worth it. But you won’t know if you don’t try!