At the height of the audio mania last year, Facebook rolled out Live Audio Rooms, Soundbites, and podcasts for users in the US. It also inked deals with creators, encouraged podcasters to join the platform, and sponsored the Podcast Movement, which is one of the industry’s largest conferences in the US. These moves did not come as a surprise to anyone, as last year proved to be a hot year for the audio market. At the time, the live audio platform Clubhouse was valued at $4B, Spotify Technology SA’s market value was $50B, and Amazon.com Inc was making major deals.
Now, barely a year later, Facebook’s interest seemed to have waned, according to a report received by Bloomberg. After sponsoring the Podcast Movement last August, the company did not sponsor its offshoot event last month. Based on the event’s list of attendees, it also did not send any representative to the said event. Also, after floating the idea of training podcasters to use the platform, the idea was never followed through. Further, initial deals with some of the Live Audio room partners were not renewed.
This report was a bummer for some who were counting on maximizing the platform’s scale to reach a larger audience and target higher revenue in advertising. In fact, even the limited efforts of Facebook for podcasting had helped boost the growth of some of the content providers.
For instance, TYT Network, which is into political programming, claims that it gets twice as many audiences on Facebook compared to Spotify. Chief Marketing Officer Praveen Singh shared that since the network added its contents on Facebook in September, the platform has contributed to additional monthly listens of hundreds of thousands. The network claimed that next to Apple Podcasts, Facebook is its second most famous platform for listening.
Nonetheless, a spokesperson for Facebook said that in spite of the increasing priority on features such as Reels and Feed, they are still working on podcasts. The statement also asserted that their audio products are receiving good engagement. In an email, Meta’s spokesperson assured TechCrunch that the company is receiving feedback from creators as to what works and what needs improvement. No specific information was provided, however.
With the growing competition and drop in its stock price, the attention of its parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., is now focused on metaverse, which is no longer a surprise, especially after the company’s recent rebranding. In fact, in order to concentrate on metaverse, the company made an announcement recently that it would not hold its F8 developer conference this year.
There is also a heightened priority on short-video projects, which could be due to the growing competition with the Tiktok app. The sources also said that the company is now emphasizing other initiatives in its conversations with podcast partners, such as events in metaverse and e-commerce.