Facebook is putting a stop to its podcasting service just 10 months after launching. From June 3rd the social media giant will begin removing podcasts from the platform altogether. They were quick to get into the audio industry after Clubhouse’s huge rise in popularity, and equally quick to pull the plug as the audio hype died off.
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About Facebook Podcasting
Facebook only launched its live audio and podcast service back in June 2021. Available only to mobile users of the app in the US, it allowed listeners to access podcasts from within Facebook. Podcast creators could add their RSS feed to their Facebook page and if you selected Enable clips, snippets of your podcast episodes could be shared on the timeline.
Reasons behind Facebook pulling their podcast service
It’s a very quick change of heart after the company announced their intention to branch out in the audio and podcasting market in April of 2021. Facebook’s interest in the fast-growing market has waned, to focus on other initiatives.
In a statement to Bloomberg, a spokesperson for Meta (Facebook’s parent company) said:
“We’re constantly evaluating the features we offer so that we can focus on the most meaningful experiences.”Spokesperson for Meta
Writing in Facebook’s latest earning’s call, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated:
“After the start of COVID, the acceleration of e-commerce led to outsized revenue growth, but we’re now seeing that trend back off. However, based on the strong revenue growth we saw in 2021, we kicked off a number of 2 multi-year projects to accelerate some of our longer term investments, especially in our AI infrastructure, business platform, and Reality Labs.
“These investments are going to be important for our success and growth over time so I continue to believe we should see them through. But with our current business growth levels, we’re now planning to slow the pace of some of our investments.”Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg
This shows that Facebook’s interest in the Metaverse and in investing in AI far outweighs their interest in the audio and podcast industry, and that they’re happy to cut costs here to fund their other ventures.
When will Facebook be pulling their podcast service?
We know that they’ll begin to remove podcasts from June 3rd, but a specific date for the shutting down of Facebook’s short form audio offering, Soundbites, as well as their Central Audio Hub was not given, but the spokesperson added it would be in the “coming weeks”.
According to research, Facebook was responsible for 0.5% of all podcast downloads in February of 2022, making it the 17th largest podcasting app.
What Captivate think about the news
On their decision to put an end to podcasting services, Captivate’s MD Mark Asquith said:
“The podcast industry is fast-moving and full of innovation, and those of us whose primary focus is on audio will continue to drive it forwards.”
“I understand Facebook’s ‘MVP’ test in the space and a company like Facebook experimenting with longer-form audio options wasn’t a surprise” he added, “but Facebook has never felt like the place to get long-form content and the core user base of Facebook is more used to content that requires more active engagement, such as short-form video. I’d be surprised if Facebook doesn’t try something again in the audio space but for now, it’s clear that it wouldn’t generate the revenue, time-in-app or attention that the platform needs to continue to grow”Captivate MD Mark Asquith
What should you do now?
If your podcast gets a lot of engagement on Facebook and you believe you’ll be negatively affected by the closure, you should begin to inform your listeners now and offer alternative ways to listen to future episodes. Facebook themselves will not be making an announcement.
You also need to make sure that you share any future podcast episodes on your Facebook timeline, so people know how they can still listen to your show.
Captivate has a Single Promotional Link – one URL which can direct listeners to any directory of their choice. It would be a good idea to start sharing this now, so that your audience is ready to access your content on other platforms. Make it as easy for them as possible!