Do podcasts have video?

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As companies and creators consider launching or evolving their podcast, they wonder: Do podcasts have video? If nothing else, it’s something worth considering, but it’s also a topic hotly debated.

As someone who has been podcasting for years, I’ve seen the landscape change dramatically. From the early days of audio-only recordings to the current trend of incorporating video, it’s clear that the medium is undergoing a significant transformation.

Traditionally, podcasts have been an audio-only affair. The format was straightforward: one or more people would gather in a studio or online, record their conversation, and then publish the audio file for listeners to enjoy. Usually weeks later. This model has been the standard for years, and many of the most successful and influential podcasts have followed this formula.

However, as technology has advanced and audience preferences have shifted, more and more podcasters are exploring the potential of video. Now Spotify and YouTube Music public video versions of podcasts. With video, you can easily create podcast clips for Instagram and other places. And this raises an important question: should podcasts have video? I discussed this on my video podcast bonus episode of “The Business Storytelling Show.”

The case for video in podcasting

There are several compelling reasons why podcasters might want to incorporate video into their content. First and foremost, video adds a new dimension to the listening experience. When you can see the hosts and guests, it can create a more personal experience.

Moreover, video opens up new possibilities for content creation. With video, podcasters can show diagrams, charts, and other visual aids that can help illustrate complex ideas or data. This is a potential advantage, though, I hardly ever – really never use this. And, please, we don’t need to podcast Death by PowerPoint!

Another advantage of video is that it can help to humanize the hosts and guests. When you can see someone’s face, they become more relatable and engaging. This can be especially important for podcasts that tackle serious or emotional topics, where a human connection can make all the difference.

From a marketing perspective, video can also be valuable for promoting a podcast. Short clips on social, embedded in blog posts or articles, and used in advertising to attract new listeners. In a crowded and competitive podcasting landscape, video can help a show stand out and grab attention.

Read next: How can we predict the future of marketing?

The case against video in podcasting

Despite the many benefits of video, there are also some compelling reasons why podcasters might choose to stick with audio-only content. One of the biggest advantages of audio is its simplicity and accessibility. With audio, listeners can enjoy a podcast while at the gym or working. This makes podcasts an ideal medium for multitasking, which is a significant draw for many people.

Another advantage of audio is that it can be less intimidating for hosts and guests. Not everyone is comfortable being on camera, and the added pressure of video can make some people feel self-conscious or nervous. With audio, the focus is solely on the conversation, which can lead to more natural and authentic discussions.

There are also practical considerations to keep in mind. Video production adds more complexity. It might require additional equipment, software, and expertise. For many independent podcasters, video’s added cost and effort may not be worth it, especially if their audience is primarily interested in audio content. With video I started being worried about my background, something I didn’t have to consider with audio only. You can see in the video how the background is designed specifically for being on-camera.

Finally, there’s the question of whether video is truly necessary for all types of podcasts.  Consider what will make the experience better for your audience and what they expect.

The future of podcasting: Audio or video or both?

So, where does this leave us? Is video the future of podcasting, or will audio reign supreme? As is often the case, the answer is that it depends and is probably somewhere in the middle.

The most successful content creators maximize their content, and in my mind, that means recording video and even live streaming it to maximize existing audiences. 

The key is to be strategic and intentional about the use of video. Podcasters should ask themselves: what value does video add to my content? Will it enhance the listener experience, or is it simply a gimmick? Will it help me reach new audiences, or is it a distraction from my core message?

Ultimately, the decision to incorporate video is personal, but for a new show, it feels that video is the way to go. But what works for one podcast may not work for another, and that’s okay.

As podcasting continues to evolve, I believe we’ll see more and more experimentation with video and other multimedia elements. Virtual reality maybe? What happened to the Metaverse? Some of these experiments will be successful, while others will fall flat. But that’s the nature of any creative medium – it’s about taking risks, trying new things, and seeing what resonates with audiences.

One thing is certain: the podcasting landscape is changing, and video is playing an increasingly important role in that evolution. Whether you’re a podcaster looking to expand your reach or a listener seeking new and engaging content, it’s worth keeping an eye on this trend and seeing where it leads.

Of course, there will always be a place for traditional, audio-only podcasts. For many people, the simplicity and intimacy of audio will never lose its appeal. And that’s a good thing – diversity and variety are what make the podcasting ecosystem so rich and vibrant.

So, to answer the question, yes, podcasts can and do have video. But more importantly, podcasts have the freedom and flexibility to incorporate video in ways that make sense for their unique content and audience.

In the end, whether you prefer your podcasts with or without video, one thing is clear: the power of storytelling and human connection remains at the heart of this incredible medium. As long as we continue to create content that informs, inspires, and entertains, the future of podcasting looks bright – with or without video.

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