Earlier this year, reports surfaced that YouTube would soon be adding a dedicated podcast homepage — a sign that the company was getting more serious about its investment in podcasts and the potential ad revenue they could deliver. Today, YouTube confirmed to TechCrunch that the new podcast destination is now available in the U.S. is live for users, after the URL is discovered to be live before any formal announcement.

According to a report from 9to5Google, the dedicated podcast page YouTube.com/podcasts went live sometime last month and is now, at least for some users, on YouTube’s existing Explore page with other topics like gaming, sports, learning, fashion and more. associated with the sites. other. However, it did not appear in the sidebar navigation of the website.

Reached for comment, YouTube told TechCrucnh that the URL is not available globally at this time.

“The podcast destination page on YouTube helps users locate new and popular podcast episodes, shows, and creators, as well as recommend podcast content,” said YouTube spokesman Paul Pennigton. “It is currently only available in the US.”

YouTube declined to answer further questions about the company’s plans for the destination in general or for the destination — indicating that a broader announcement has yet to be made. (It’s possible that this will be one of the planned announcements for the YouTube Creator event scheduled for next month, if we had to guess.)

Earlier today, there were several signs that YouTube was getting more serious about podcasts — especially after Spotify entered the space with support for video podcasts.

Last year, YouTube hired a podcast executive, Kai Chuk, to lead its efforts in the space and was offering popular podcasters cash for filming their shows, the report said. This March, a site called PodNews leaked an 84-page presentation detailing YouTube’s podcast roadmap. In the document, YouTube revealed that it had plans to pilot the feature by including RSS feeds. It also mentioned a new URL, YouTube.com/podcasts, but the link was not working at the time.

The document also helps illustrate some of YouTube’s thinking about podcasts, as it suggests YouTube plans to feature audio ads sold by Google and other partners. This could present a potential new revenue stream for the tech giant at a time when the younger generation has shifted their search behavior from Google to other platforms, such as TikTok. The document states that YouTube plans to roll out audio-first metrics for creators and integrate YouTube data into podcast measurement platforms, which also include Nielsen, Chartable and PodTrack.

Adding a top-level landing page for podcasts is quite an important step for the company.

As the various YouTube verticals have grown in importance and popularity, YouTube will highlight these categories on its site by offering its own homepage and serving them as a link in its main navigation. Notably, it did so with YouTube Gaming in 2015, and with YouTube Fashion (now Fashion & Beauty) in 2019.

On mobile, it also has a prominent link to YouTube Music that opens the companion app for YouTube’s music service. Presumably, it could do the same with podcasts in the future, if it wants to capitalize on its ability to drive traffic from its flagship app to its streaming service.

YouTube’s progress in podcasting follows significant investments through Spotify. The company has spent more than $1 billion on related acquisitions. It brought studios and exclusive shows in-house, launched paid podcast subscriptions, and developed podcast ad tech platforms and services. Spotify hyped the revenue potential for its podcast efforts this June, noting that its podcasting business generated nearly €200 million last year, up 300% from 2020.

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