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YouTube’s Big Bets For 2024 Include Finding Ways To Rollout AI-Powered Features.

One year ago, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan called podcasting one of the video company’s top priorities. But as he details what are YouTube’s “big bets” for 2024, podcasting is getting only a passing mention as YouTube puts more emphasis on artificial intelligence, the subscription business, and its role in the creator economy.

Mohan says that YouTube is approaching advances in AI with the same mission that it launched the video site years ago. “And everyone should have access to AI tools that will push the boundaries of creative expression,” he writes in a blog post. Mohan says that YouTube is currently focused on several experiments using AI, such as giving anyone the ability to make AI-generated backgrounds for YouTube Shorts. It also has several experiments working with the music industry. “This year, we’ll continue to ensure AI is in service of creativity through our work with creative industries, in the rollout of AI-powered features, and as we unlock opportunities while building out appropriate protections,” Mohan says. YouTube is planning to introduce labels that will inform viewers when the realistic content they’re seeing is synthetically created by AI.

While only one podcast is mentioned – Travis and Jason Kelce’s New Heights series that is also a video on YouTube – Mohan addresses creators more broadly, saying his team is focused on finding more ways for creators to make money. He says the number of YouTube creators that are offering paid channel memberships increased 50% last year, with some channels getting most of their revenue from subscriptions, not advertising.

YouTube now has more than 100 million music and premium subscribers, including trials, as Mohan says they are seeing “growing consumer interest” in paying for YouTube content. He says more of the consumption is also coming in the living room, not on the phone, so that is where more creators are thinking about how to optimize their content.

Google announced in September that it will close the Google Podcast app as it puts more of an emphasis on growing its audience on YouTube. The move to consolidate podcasts under the YouTube banner has been expected in podcast circles as the company has put more of its resources into the video app, including adding new features to appeal to podcast listeners as well as consumers who would rather watch video produced by a show. 

YouTube has begun to allow creators to upload their shows to YouTube through an RSS feed ahead of the planned sunsetting of the Google Podcast app in April. For podcasters, Google says the change means they will get more robust creation and analytics tools, in addition to making their podcasts available everywhere YouTube Music listeners are already consuming their favorite content.

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