On June 22nd, Facebook plans to launch its podcast product, which will include a feature that will allow listeners to create segments from their favorite shows.
According to an email sent to podcast page owners that The Verge obtained, hosts can link their show’s RSS feed to Facebook, which will then automatically generate News Feed postings for all future episodes.
These episodes will be available under a “podcasts” tab that doesn’t appear to be operational yet but was previewed in an April announcement concerning audio projects.
The date was first reported by Podnews earlier this month, and Facebook verified with The Verge at the time that just a small number of page owners would have access. However, emails are still being sent to more page owners, indicating that the rollout may be bigger than expected.
In this email, the firm adds, “Facebook will be the platform where people can enjoy, debate, and share the podcasts they love with one other.”
Podcasters who use the platform must agree to Facebook’s podcast terms of service, which may be found here. It’s a very conventional agreement, albeit it doesn’t specify what Facebook can and can’t do with podcasts distributed through its platform. For example, it gives Facebook the right to create derivative works, which may be important for delivering episodes in specific forms but may worry podcasters who value their intellectual property.
Podcasters can choose whether to enable clips, which the business claims will be generated by listeners and run up to one minute in length, in addition to the ability to broadcast their program through Facebook. These “may assist enhance visibility and engagement,” according to the authors. These will most likely be easy to share outside of the podcaster’s page. Twitch broadcasters have used short-form snippets to offer highlights from their long streams, and Facebook appears to believe that the same concept can be applied to podcasts.
It’s unclear how Facebook determines which podcast pages belong to them. For example, Why’d You Push That Button?, a show I co-host, was given the opportunity to be published on my profile. I’ve just shared URLs to websites where the show is embedded, not the actual link to my podcast episode or RSS feed. I’ve gone out to Facebook for comments, and I’ll keep you updated if I receive a response.
In general, though, this announcement comes as the corporation launches a serious push towards audio. Yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg held the first Live Audio Room in the United States, and the firm also announced plans for a Soundbites feature that will live within the News Feed in April. Soundbites’ goal is to provide customers with a “sound studio in their pocket” that allows them to produce short, shareable clips.
With podcasts, Facebook appears to be betting on the fact that podcasters already use the site to promote their shows and engage with their listeners. Directly publishing to the platform may make it easier for them to achieve those objectives while also providing an incentive for people to never leave the Facebook app. It’s also likely that Facebook sees value in podcast advertising, something Spotify is focusing on as it rolls out exclusive episodes and its own ad network.