YouTube’s interest in the podcasting space is quite explicit at this point, and the latest effort is offering grants to make video podcasts that are more native to the network.

According to Bloomberg, YouTube is offering “grants” that start at $50,000 for individual shows and go up to $200,000 or $300,000 for podcast networks. 

At the moment, uploading audio with some static or limited graphics to YouTube is more or less an obvious move for podcasts to get another distribution channel that might get an algorithmic boost. More advanced podcasters might record themselves with video while they’re podcasting, overlay graphics, and livestream/upload that. 

With these grants, Bloomberg says the “money could help producers create filmed versions of their episodes or make other kinds of videos.” The former often requires a studio setup of some sort and of course equipment, as well as video editors. 

It’s unclear what terms and conditions those grants come with in terms of required or sustained content output, while there’s also the question of exclusivity. That said, YouTube has a natural lock-in as the place to distribute video.

Google declined to comment or confirm, while it’s not clear how widespread YouTube outreach has been to shows and networks. The company is presumably targeting the biggest names in podcasting, but it would be interesting if they ever made grant applications a public sign-up process.

Video podcasts are of course not new, but it will be interesting to see how this future content will be surfaced in YouTube apps. For example, would they be surfaced in YouTube Music with an audio/video switcher. 

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com