Listening to podcasts became a popular pastime for entertainment-starved consumers during Coronavirus lockdowns. Spotify is now giving these listeners a new entertainment opportunity by releasing video shows of popular podcasts.
Called “vodcasts”, Spotify’s films offer up another view of podcast hosts taping a show. Whereas listeners could previously only hear the hosts, vodcasts present a television-like option for fans to actually watch their favorite podcasts. Spotify is only debuting vodcasts for a handful of its shows, such as Book of Basketball 2.0 and The Morning Toast, but will add more on a rolling basis, including its new, exclusive Joe Rogan podcast launching later this year. The viewing option is currently available in all of Spotify’s markets for free and premium members.
Though podcasts are built around a listening experience, allowing fans to watch could help them connect more with the show and the hosts, thereby potentially increasing audience loyalty and engagement according to a Gartner report on the topic. The vodcasts will be a streaming-only feature, meaning fans cannot download watchable episodes to listen to offline like they can with a regular audio-only podcast. However, fans do have the option to switch between vodcast and podcast for episodes. For example, users watching an episode on their mobile device can leave the Spotify app to perform other tasks and the vodcast will automatically switch to the original audio-only episode.
Launching vodcasts could help podcast creators connect their audiences in a singular space. Formerly, many podcast hosts would launch video episodes on another platform, such as YouTube or Instagram, to visually connect with fans and attach a face to the voice. By having the ability to now house full video episodes on Spotify, creators could connect more directly with fans. The vodcast feature has arrived after Spotify purchased a sports news platform called The Ringer earlier this year. With the deal, the streaming service also acquired a YouTube-like video operation, which is now being weaved into the vodcast initiative. The move follows a series of media expansions by Spotify recently, including the launch of a new premium service and exclusive podcast deals with Kim Kardashian, Michelle Obama, and TikTok star Addison Rae.
Spotify’s vodcasts allow the streaming brand to expand beyond its traditional audio offerings. By launching watchable content, Spotify could raise engagement rates with current fans and appeal to new audiences who prefer viewing over listening.