NPR adds podcasts to YouTube

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NPR announced Tuesday that it has partnered with YouTube to bring its podcasts to the platform.

More than 20 of NPR’s podcasts are now on YouTube, including Up First, Consider This, Life Kit and It’s Been a Minute. The announcement comes on the heels of YouTube’s launch of a dedicated podcast landing page.

“Following the global success of our Tiny Desk Concerts, we are excited for our podcasts to reach new audiences on YouTube,” Anya Grundmann, SVP of programming and audience development at NPR, said in a press release. “It’ll be great to have our public service journalism searchable and accessible in ways it never has been before, and to have a new space to explore content ideas.”

The NPR Music YouTube channel, which houses NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert videos, has more than 7 million subscribers and more than 2.2 billion all-time views. 

“We are currently developing criteria for different video approaches to our podcasts,” said Keith Jenkins, NPR’s VP of visuals and music strategy, in an email. “Our goal at the outset was to get as much of our portfolio on the YouTube platform as possible and then to work with the podcast teams to determine which ones would be most able to transition to a video format. Additionally we are looking at new podcasts in our development pipeline for opportunities to take a ‘video first’ approach.”

The tests will include full video, light animation and static tile art “to see what resonates with audiences,” NPR spokesperson Isabel Lara told Current.  

On YouTube, which has a monthly audience of 2 billion users, the video-first format “allows NPR to evolve its storytelling even further,” the network said in the release. “Through an expanded set of tools and the impact of YouTube’s search and recommendation capabilities, the door is open for NPR’s shows and hosts to develop an even closer relationship with their vast community of listeners.”

NPR CEO John Lansing told Current last year that part of NPR’s strategic plan includes meeting audiences “where they are.” 

“Our goal of developing our audience as a younger and more diverse audience requires that we invest in marketing, we invest in content, and we partner with platforms where those audiences can be found rather than expecting younger and more diverse audiences to come to our platforms, necessarily,” he said at the time. 

Kai Chuk, YouTube’s global head of podcasting, said in the release that “a good portion of the more than one billion hours watched per day on YouTube is podcasting content from creators, artists, and others looking to share their unique perspectives. We are very excited about partnering with NPR to continue the growth we’ve seen in this area over the last few years, and look forward to expanding our relationship with them in the future.”

A Cumulus survey in May found that respondents said they most often use YouTube to access podcasts, topping Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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