‘Evolving Toward a Hybrid Model’; Will Video Podcasts Be the Next Big Trend?

“…the once audio-only format has evolved toward a hybrid model of distribution that often prioritizes video—specifically YouTube and live paid events,” Morning Consult wrote recently. “Video has allowed fans to know not only what their favorite podcasters sound like, but also what they look like and who they are on a much more personal level.”

Agri-Pulse founder Sara Wyant emceed a live hybrid event last year with 1200 virtual attendees. Video was certainly a big reason for their huge turnout. Will B2B podcasts follow suit?

A Morning Consult survey found that 46% of podcast listeners said they prefer consuming them with video, compared with 42% who said they would rather listen without video—and that 1 in 3 podcast listeners said YouTube is their most preferred podcast platform.

It makes sense. Last year AM&P Network member Agri-Pulse Communications held a successful, hybrid event at Washington, D.C.’s famed National Press Club, attended virtually by more than 1,200 people—focusing on the ag export supply chain crisis and how to fix it. An American flag stood prominently on the dais, with Sara Wyant, their founder and editor, serving as emcee.

“For people attending virtually, please remember that we want to hear from you,” she urged before turning it over to the first moderator. The hour-and 23-minute event felt different from a talking-heads webinar, and the live video was a major reason. The question now sits: Will B2B podcasts adapt more video?

“I see the hybrid model becoming just as large, if not larger, in a short time period than audio-only formats,” said Scott Purdy, national media industry leader at KPMG US.

Here are five takeaways from this trend:

Hybrid events can work. I’ve talked here before about the difficulty of pulling off hybrid events, but more on the conference level. In those cases, it will take more than just turning on the camera for your 2-3 days of in-person sessions. Separate hosts and Q&As for the virtual crowd are recommended along with different session choices and more breaks inbetween. But an event like the one Agri-Pulse held is different. Holding it in person at the prestigious National Press Club gave it more gravitas, no matter the small size of the live crowd (which we don’t see much on the video).

Adding more audio and video? You’re not alone. Publishers say that they will be putting more resources into podcasts and digital audio (72%) as well as email newsletters (69%), in an attempt to increase loyalty. Investment in digital video formats (67%) is also up on last year. By contrast just 4% say they’ll be investing in the metaverse. (I was just going through some old New Yorker cartoons and found this one: a father reading a bedtime story to his son—“And so Lucas and all his friends simply chose to ignore the metaverse, and in the end it went away…”)

Use video to break up longer podcasts. According to Twipe, “Betches Media has taken advantage of YouTube’s ability to host both short-form and long-form content. Betches Media has utilized YouTube Shorts as a way to break-up their long form podcasts into smaller bites in order to garner attention and lead users into interacting with full episodes of their ‘U Up?’ podcast, yielding more than 7,000 subscribers organically in just a few months.”

Set a video strategy. In another survey, GLC writes, only 15% of publishers say they are exceeding their expectations with the success of videos, while “59% say a video strategy would help them improve their results. Setting a video strategy helps provide direction and focus, and it should be one component of a comprehensive content strategy.”

Keep them short. While showing an all-day webinar that is important to your audience—as Agri-Pulse did—can work, videos on the whole should be short. More than half of publishers say that videos between one and three minutes long are the most successful, followed by ones that are less than one minute long. “The length of your video should be determined by the content,” GLC writes. “Like writing a blog post, your video should be long enough to cover the topic or convey the message completely, but succinctly.”


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