Spotify's Anchor launches video podcasts
Spotify’s Anchor has rolled out proprietary video podcasts to all Anchor users in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK. Paid subscriptions will be available for these shows, too; additionally, Anchor has integrated with Riverside, to streamline the production of video podcasts. Anchor has posted more details, and here are Anchor’s FAQs.
How do Anchor’s proprietary video podcasts work technically?
- We gave it a go - producing a 73MB video file in Quicktime and uploading it to Anchor. On Spotify’s web player in Chrome, when signed in, the video plays - it’s a .webm format video file, served in two chunks - one 34,988 bytes, one 1.5 MB, and served with security tokens by Amazon S3 via Akamai. You need to be signed-in to Spotify to see the video, otherwise you only hear the audio.
- Apple’s Safari doesn’t, yet, support .webm format video files. On this platform it plays a number of MPEG2 .ts segments, which are presumably larger filesizes.
- If you subscribe to the RSS feed from Anchor, the episode appears as audio only. The audio in the RSS feed is a 128kbps/44.1kHz stereo MP3 file, 131KB large, encoded with the libavcodec. It doesn’t appear to have been normalised, so it’s quite quiet. (Incidentally, we were given the RSS feed by default; but it lacks an email address - you have to configure that separately.)
What other options are there for video podcasts?
- Many podcasts are available in a separate video format, like the New Media Show (video) in a different feed from the audio version of the New Media Show. Unlike Spotify’s solution, they work everywhere else: Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts, and many others.
- A better future alternative (perhaps) is to support the alternateEnclosure tag. That means one RSS feed, and the opportunity for a supporting RSS player to choose a different version (and perhaps switch between video and audio services as you consume it). Our RSS feed (view the source) doesn’t include video, but does include an alternate low-bitrate version of our podcast.
- And, of course, there’s always YouTube, which allows monetisation of your videos and access to the world’s second-biggest search engine. Podnews recently gained access to YouTube’s pitch deck detailing its podcasting plans. YouTube’s announcements are, apparently, imminent; perhaps Anchor’s news will awaken the video streaming giant.
A new company called SoundStack was launched yesterday. It combines MediaCreek, EmpireStreaming, Abovecast, AudioReach, Live365 and Audio Catapult, and offers a solution that seamlessly integrates and automates streaming, podcasting, and monetization for audio in one platform. Co-founder Jon Stephenson has posted more details; Live365, an internet radio product, continues to operate separately.
Triton Digital has released the US Podcast Report for March. SXM Media remains #1 for podcasts ahead of NPR who move up to #2. Total US downloads and users for the top five publishers dropped slightly. The ranker measures participating publishers only; iHeartMedia-owned Triton Digital doesn’t measure iHeartMedia.
Libsyn’s Rob Greenlee will be at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. He’ll be speaking about podcast advertising, and taking part in live editions of New Media Show. Meanwhile, Radiotopia from PRX will be at the Tribeca Festival in New York City, the podcast network has announced.
iHeartMedia and Seneca Women, a global women’s leadership platform, have launched the Seneca Women Podcast Academy, which will train the winners from “Seneca Women to Hear: The Search For the Next Great Female Podcasters”, an initiative that launched last month. Here are those winners.
UK podcast studio Novel has signed with UTA, aiming for growth in the US. The company has also made a number of signings (below).
The Charlatan looks at podcasts from Ottawa in Canada.
Poddin seems to have some good reviews in podcast discussion groups: it’s an AI-powered transcription service which launched in February; it’s recently added an import function directly from your RSS feed.
Congratulations to Kevin Goldberg, who has sold a majority stake in Discover Pods. James J Griffin is to run the site.
Moves and hires
- Austin Mitchell has been hired as Creative Director at Novel. He was Senior Audio Producer at The New York Times, making The Daily, and was previously at Gimlet.
- Mythili Rao is now Managing Editor at Novel. She was with The Guardian and WNYC. Novel hired Indira Birnie as Head of Marketing in mid February.
Tips and tricks - with SoundStack
- If you’re not using Discord as a podcaster, perhaps you should be - Jen Thorpe writes tips and information about how to use it.
- Mark Steadman writes I sold my podcast business a year ago: here’s what I wish I knew when I started. He sold Podiant to Castos.
Podcast News - with Acast
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