< back to overview

The Rise of Video Podcasts

Written by: Hebah Fisher, CEO

As something of audio purists, the team at Kerning Cultures Network held steadfastly to the belief that audio-only podcasts were magical. They fire your imagination in ways video can’t – because without visuals, you paint in the landscapes and the people in your mind’s eye. It’s why watching the film after reading the book is, inevitably, always a let-down. 

The reality though, is that video is increasingly necessary for podcast success. As of last year, Spotify rolled out video podcasting globally for shows hosted on Spotify-owned Anchor1. Youtube, which is the most-used podcast platform in the world2, is leaning the other way to integrate audio-only podcasts more tightly within its native channels: as of April this year, Youtube launched a podcast tab3 and incorporated podcasts as “background listening” on the Youtube Music app. The idea being you can watch a podcast on Youtube desktop, and then continue listening on-the-go through the app4. As it stands, 83% of users consume podcasts on Youtube as audio-only, compared to 59% who watch5

As we at Kerning Cultures Network are learning how to do video, we want to share some of the lessons:

When we say “video podcasts”, we’re talking about the talkshow style of podcasting: i.e, two (or three, or four) talking heads, typically around a table. Adding video to your audio production is more expensive, but relatively simple: it requires 1 or 2 cameras and another editorial team. 

However, the same reality holds true that video now needs to be a part of the content strategy for the exponentially heavier productions of narrative or scripted podcasts. It’s likely impractical to consider shooting a scripted film to match the scripted series you’re producing, but you have a few options to ride the video podcast wave: (1) create short animated teaser clips that boost reach and serve as promotion to drive listeners to the audio podcast; (2) use tools like Headliner or Acast to post a static image with animated audio waves to publish your audio episodes on Youtube (since 83% of users will listen to the video, anyway). 

Youtube rewards you for strong engagement, and deprioritises your content for poor engagement. Youtube global benchmarks for “strong engagement” equate to ~30% of listeners sticking through to the end (Source: Youtube Creators). Compare this to the 60-80% completion rates we boast at Kerning Cultures Network for our 20-45m+ audio-only episodes, and it’s a difficult pill to swallow for embracing video. The top 10% of Youtube creators retain 82% of viewers after the first 3 minutes, and about 61% after 10 minutes (Source: Youtube Creators), which speaks to a preference for shorter form as the key when joining the video play. 
We’ll keep sharing insights as we continue on this journey of shifting from an audio-only podcast network to a multimedia production house. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter http://eepurl.com/hYXSQv to keep updated on our findings and receive more podcast industry wisdom directly to your inbox.

  1. https://podnews.net/update/spotify-video-worldwide
  2. https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/23/23318305/youtube-podcast-npr-spotify-meghan-markle-prince-harry-archewell
  3. https://podnews.net/update/adopt-a-listener
  4. https://www.theverge.com/2023/2/23/23611985/youtube-music-podcasts-background-listening
  5. https://www.theverge.com/2022/8/23/23318305/youtube-podcast-npr-spotify-meghan-markle-prince-harry-archewell