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How Video Podcasting has Changed in the Past Several Years

Read to uncover a brief history on video podcasts, how they originated and how they've changed to become what they are today.
Abel Grunfeld
Head of Marketing
Last Updated:
January 5, 2023
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

With video podcasting’s momentous rise in popularity, Riverside’s Annual Report dives deeper into this impactful medium. As the 3rd of an 11-part series, this article explores how video podcasting has changed over time.

What’s in it for me?

By the end of this section, you’ll have key insights on the following points:

  • A brief history of video podcasting and its origins
  • How video podcasts have changed over time
  • The current state of video podcasts

The podcasting world as we know it began in 2004. Adam Curry and Dave Winer are most popularly credited with inventing podcasts and bringing the format to the mainstream. Within the same calendar year, companies like Libsyn had already begun providing services to host podcasts on the internet. In 2005, Apple launched native support for podcasts in iTunes. The content world changed forever.

Video Podcasting 5 Years Ago

Video podcasts have been around as long as audio-only shows. The recent explosion of video content makes it seem that this isn’t the case, but “vodcasts” have been around since the early 2000s. In 2003, a serial video podcast was released under the title of “Dead End Days”. The creators of the show released shows weekly through their website.

5 years ago, video podcasting was far less common for brands. For every 1 branded video podcast, there were seemingly 1000s of shows hosted by individuals.

A few key points are clear when looking back at video podcasts from 5 years ago:

  • Clips were not as big of a factor in episode distribution.
  • Brands often didn’t truly include video on channels like YouTube but published the audio in mp4 format with a cover on top.
  • Video quality was not as imperative for full episodes as it is now.
  • Videos tended to be more static, not using much B-roll or on-screen engagers.
  • Optimization was on the audio side of the recording, not the video itself.
  • Interviews almost always followed 1:1 interview format.

Gradual Changes to Video Podcasting Over Time

Even just 3 years ago, it was uncommon to find a brand posting videos of their full podcast episodes on YouTube. Fast forward a short time later, and brands are doing this in droves.

Spotify entered the picture in 2020, giving a set of high-profile beta users the ability to upload video podcasts to the platform. And in 2021, Spotify opened up video uploads to the general public. Riverside also partnered with Anchor (a Spotify company) in 2022 to integrate the video creation process to publishing.

In that same timeframe, the meteoric rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts have opened up the gates for clip distribution. 

Gaining more leverage from content

There is still an open debate on video’s relationship with podcasting, how important it will be in the future, and if brands can survive without it.

Platforms are moving to a hybrid model of encouraging long-form content to enhance connectivity and relationships, and short-form videos to generate engagement and awareness. Short-form video apps like TikTok may surprise you with how invested they are in long-form videos being shared on their platforms.

Let’s dive deeper into each channel.

"With major platforms like Spotify, TikTok, and YouTube putting more resources into video podcasts.. now is a uniquely opportune moment for smart creators to harness that energy by investing in video for audience growth."
Ryan Duffy | Head of Audio Operations


When YouTube started in February of 2005, the platform was meant for sharing smaller home videos and saw 30,000 visits per day. Within a year, the site had expanded well beyond that to serving over 100 million videos per day to users. And the growth didn’t stop there.

Today, YouTube has expanded its features, abilities, and audience. This has resulted in more than 2.6 billion users worldwide.

Videos posted on YouTube in 2005 averaged around 2 minutes in length

Now? YouTube videos are above 15 minutes on average. The demand for longer-form content has continued to increase year in and year out.

And podcast episodes  are even longer. The average episode length among surveyed companies is 30-45 minutes. 32% of podcasts fall within this episode’s length.

There is reason to believe that video channels like YouTube will see an increased attention span and episode lengths will increase without a hitch in viewership.

Visual of how long the average podcast is

Enter video podcasting.

This is one of the most natural ways to capture long-form (any content above 15 minutes in YouTube’s case) content that is:

  • Interesting
  • Repeatable
  • High quality
  • Easy to record

Nothing builds brand loyalty quite like video, especially in a longer form. In fact, an estimated 62% of content-creating businesses post videos on YouTube.

And it makes sense why:

YouTube rewards brands who create a high volume of engaging videos.

Think about it. YouTube’s ultimate goal is to make more money. They do this by garnering the highest time-on-site possible from users. Great videos keep people on YouTube for minutes. Stringing multiple great videos together keeps users on for even longer. And sharing long-form videos increases that to its maximum potential.

Over time, YouTube has become increasingly more optimized around longer videos. This doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon, and they recently unveiled plans for a dedicated “Podcasts” section on the YouTube website.

Video podcasting will become one of the most effective ways to get a high volume of quality content onto the platform. And it doesn’t hurt that YouTube reportedly is already the top platform among US adults who listen to five hours or more of video podcasts per week.

"“YouTube has the infrastructure to introduce audio hosting and origination, and match it to video with all the rich analytics it already provides. It has a seamless creator experience, plus SEO marketing tools, plus the benefit of being a platform most have been conditioned to enjoy."
A.J. Feliciano | Head of Podcast Network


Spotify’s heavy focus upfront was serving up high-quality audio streaming to users. Podcasts, videos, and other features had to wait a while before seeing their debut.

By 2017, the groundwork was being built through acquisitions of companies like Soundtrap (2017), Parcast (2019), and Anchor (2019). These moves ensured podcasts would soon become a major section of the Spotify app.

This proved true quickly thereafter when Spotify began acquiring podcast media outlets such as Gimlet Media (2019), The Ringer (2020), and the Joe Rogan Experience (2020). These started as purely audio shows but amid COVID-19, shifted to also having a video component for their episodes.

The acquisition of Anchor in particular, allowed Spotify to create an edge inside the app for video podcasts. In fact, to this day, the only way to upload a video to Spotify is by operating via Anchor’s hosting.

Spotify’s goal is similar to YouTube’s: keep people in-app for as long as possible. It’s easy to see how adding podcasts and video podcasts to the platform helps accomplish this.


When TikTok started in 2016, it intended to become the main hub for short, snappy content. This platform has never tried to be YouTube.

Creators and brands have realized that the nature of TikToks content makes it:

  • Easy to share
  • Easy to scroll
  • Enticing to stay

But podcasts are usually 15 minutes or longer. So how is TikTok involved in this game of video podcasting?

Graph showing how podcast companies are using video

First, TikTok is not (yet) a place to share long-form content.The way brands can use TikTok for video podcasting is heavily engagement-focused. Small clips of podcasts are flooding the algorithm to give a glimpse into the show. There’s never been an easier time to see a bit of a show in action before investing in it with a “subscribe”.

Second, content limits on TikTok are moving in the direction of longer-form content. Before this year, the maximum length for a video was 3 minutes on TikTok. Now? You can upload a video up to 10 minutes long. This suggests that longer-form content may eventually sneak its way onto the platform, and not so distantly as you might think.

Third, evidence suggests that TikTok is currently working on a “Podcasts” function. No formal plans are announced, but this looks like a real possibility for the company.

Read more from the 2023 Riverside Annual Report series:

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