YouTube is clearly interested in the podcasting space, and its latest initiative is to offer grants to make video podcasts that are more native to the network.
Bloomberg reports that 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 way for podcasts to increase their distribution and get an algorithmic boost. Advanced podcasters may record themselves with video while they podcast, overlay graphics, and livestream/upload the video.
In Bloomberg’s opinion, these grants “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, along with equipment and 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.