Spotify launches new multimedia format for podcasts called Spotlight. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Spotify has been offering podcasts for some time now and the company has finally launched a new dedicated format just for that. Called Spotlight, the new “multimedia format” adds visual elements to podcasts and other audio content.

“Today, Spotify launches its new multimedia format, Spotlight, which introduces visual layers to complement the listening experience for podcasts, audiobooks, news, and other audio content,” Spotify said in a blog post. “Spotlight gives fans a deeper insight to their favorite artists, playlists, books, publishers and more by offering contextual visual elements, such as photos, video and text, that appear as users move through each episode.”

Spotify says Spotlight will launch with content from its top partners, including BuzzFeed News, Cheddar, Crooked Media, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Refinery29, Genius, The Minefield Girl and Uninterrupted. Spotlight will also feature Spotify’s own original series like RISE, Secret Genius, Spotify Singles and Viva Latino podcast.

Spotify Spotlight will offer its podcasts in a playlist format, just like what it does for songs, but it will be accompanied by photos, videos and or additional texts. These additional visual elements will be present on devices that have the Spotify app.

“We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories,” Spotify’s head of studios and video Courtney William Holt said. “Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love”

The music streaming company also said that additional series are scheduled to start launching in February. Spotlight is currently available in the United States, and it will roll out to other regions sometime in the near future.

Spotify Spotlight is like rich media MP3 podcasts, which have changing album artwork or have embedded links, chapter markers and other additional features, as pointed out by TechCrunch. The problem with rich media MP3 podcasts is that they are not supported by all media players and this is the reason why not all podcast producers are making them.

Perhaps with Spotlight, Spotify will encourage more podcasters to start adding creative elements with use of its new visual features. This could also help Spotify differentiate itself from other podcast players like Apple podcasts, which is still in the lead. Spotlight could also be another way to boost Spotify’s original content offering.

Back in October, IBT reported that Spotify was planning on rebooting its video strategy by canceling all of its original content. Spotlight may be part of the company’s new strategy in pushing its video efforts toward a new direction.