Facebook has announced that it is developing its own in-app podcast player. This would be distinct from the company’s latest in-app Spotify player. Podcasters will be able to distribute their shows via their Facebook page if they want to do so.
The specifics of the product are still unknown. It’s likely that this will work through RSS or that creators will have a backend method to upload their content to Facebook.
According to a Facebook blog post, this feature will be available in the next “few months.”
During a conversation with Platformer writer Casey Newton last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg characterized the Spotify partnership as primarily about “music.” However, Spotify’s announcement of its Facebook miniplayer today explicitly mentions podcasts.
People can share and listen to episodes directly from the Facebook app, without having to navigate to Spotify. However, Facebook seems to have other plans to become more integrated into the podcasting ecosystem.
The company’s interest in podcasts is understandable. It claims that over 170 million people link to podcast sites, and that over 35 million people are members of fan groups for shows. Furthermore, podcasts are still mostly an ad-supported product, which means Facebook could collect data on shows and listeners and direct its own advertising against them, potentially giving creators a share.
It could also provide a way for creators to place their work behind a subscription paywall, similar to Apple’s upcoming Apple Podcasts Subscriptions, which were revealed last week. With Facebook’s formal entrance into the podcast player market, nearly all of the tech titans, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft, will have their own podcast products.