YouTube Music is rolling out its new podcast feature in response to increasing demand for podcasts from younger viewers, says Alison Lomax, YouTube’s UK and Ireland managing director since January 2023.
Having launched in the US in April, it is now set to be unveiled in the UK by the end of the year, but it comes as TikTok continues to enjoy exponential growth, with mobile phone usage driving consumers towards short-form video. Lomax insists that the younger demographic is not turning away from longer-form content.
Lomax was speaking at the launch of YouTube’s latest UK impact report and confirmed that YouTube is committed to a multi-format proposition, through its traditional longer videos as well as Shorts, launched in 2021 to draw back some of the audiences that had switched to short-form rivals such as TikTok.
“Generation Z have really embraced the podcast, but they’re not 60 seconds,” said Lomax. “There will still be a world for multi-format and you see that with creators.
“Just because you can create short form content, does not mean that they do. People experiment with different formats.”
The impact report stated that more than 45,000 full-time jobs were created among its creator economy in 2022, while its “creative ecosystem” contributed over £2 billion to wider UK economic output last year.
The research, conducted by Oxford Economics, found that more than 65,000 creators and partners in the UK receive income linked to their YouTube presence, with over a third of British creators who earn money from YouTube saying it was their main source of revenue.
Lomax highlighted “real opportunities” for YouTube’s creators as a result of recent developments in artificial intelligence (AI).
YouTube has been using AI since 2017, including to help develop content moderation in the battle against misinformation, something that is becoming increasingly important in the area of health and in particular ahead of upcoming elections in the US and UK.
“(AI) is the buzz word of the year, but it’s been part of what we are doing for many years,” Lomax added. She said that the industry is “at a critical inflection point” with AI.
“We need to boldly embrace it, but also by being mindful about responsibility.”
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