Audio-Only Mode: Netflix Wants That Podcast Energy


PodMov Daily: Thursday, December 17

Episode 339: Your Thursday Podthoughts

Audio-Only Mode: Netflix Wants That Podcast Energy

An audio-only option on Netflix, rumored in October, has started rolling out on its Android app. “Competing with podcasts now, are we?” asks Manuel Vonau of Android Police. As well, Andrew Liszewski of Gizmodo comments that Netflix is “essentially turning your favorite shows into audio-only podcasts.” Is it though?

“I could imagine that audio-only will work better for some shows than for others,” Vonau points out. “I don't think I'd understand the storyline in something like American Horror Story or Breaking Bad without the visuals, but the mode could be well suited for sitcoms, stand-up comedy, and some documentaries.”

Netflix is positioning the feature as a way to (absorb?) its content using minimal data. Minimal attention, too — the new Settings menu mentions listening “while using other apps or when your screen is locked.” Standard buttons, e.g., timeline and speed, remain functional. The audio-only rollout will be gradual.

NPR Podcasts Get Global Distribution on Spotify

A broad selection of NPR podcasts are now available on Spotify worldwide. Ashley Carman of The Verge calls the distribution deal an unlikely partnership: “The new agreement speaks to Spotify’s reach around the world and simultaneous role as both a formidable competitor to networks like NPR and an essential ally.”

Audiences in the US have been able to stream NPR shows through Spotify since May 2018. No longer limited by country-specific licensing structures, the arrangement brings major titles like Planet Money to an additional 320 million people. Of 26 programs, the Spanish-language Radio Ambulante is sure to see a spike in listenership.

Spotify may have made itself a crucial distribution partner for NPR, but there’s a distinct separation of powers here. Carman says they’re playing nice for now: “The companies won’t be sharing revenue or jointly selling ads from this broader distribution deal, but they both have committed to respective marketing pushes.”

Buzzsprout: The Next Generation of Podcast Transcription

At Buzzsprout, innovation means progress. High-quality transcription and distribution should be simple. The new Transcription Toolset does just that. Not only do transcripts make your show accessible for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, there’s no better way to amplify your reach.

Transcripts make your content easier to find and repurpose, from social media to video. Buzzsprout’s intuitive tools offer four ways to add them: Temi integration, Descript integration, uploading an .srt file, or writing your own. With Buzzsprout, your definitive transcript is also included in your RSS feed. 

Transcripts within the RSS feed makes it easy for podcast apps, directories, and aggregators to access them. Currently distributing over 46,000 transcripts through RSS, Buzzsprout has been collaborating with the Podcast Index to benefit the whole space — building smarter tools for a better future.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ 

Here's what else is going on:

  • No peeking: Chartable’s free 2021 Podcast Privacy Report explains how online privacy rules and tech will change next year. For a comprehensive privacy peep, Podnews’ open-data podcast pages are your best bet. Search for a show to see what information may be exposed when you listen.
  • Resolute desk: Independent podcasting has had a turbulent yet decisive year, reflects Caroline Crampton of Hot Pod. Not everyone’s chasing corporate cash. “I think that independence is becoming attractive again, even for podcasts with a substantial audience and value to a network or platform.”
  • Bright tones: For Menaka Raman, podcast episode artwork is all about creating a show’s visual universe. Her collaborative design process for City of Women was full of color: “There seemed to be an instant connect[ion] between the vision for the podcast and Indian street art and lettering.”
  • New school: Consolidation moves by Spotify and SiriusXM are fascinating, writes Amplifi Media founder Steven Goldstein. But “this year’s audio story extends beyond the roll-up of those two giants. It’s about companies that had no audio agenda, and a myriad of start-ups showing up at the party.”

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