enahnced_podcasts“Enhanced podcasts” have been around since 2009 (if not before) they are a very APPLE centric version of podcasts. People “love them” because you can have images that change at specific times with your audio. They are typically m4a (but could be m4b, m4p files). They require more time to create, and if you are putting items in that truly need to be seen, they require an audience member's complete attention to consume. Here are why I'm not a fan.

1. One of the biggest advantages of audio podcasting is it lends itself to multi-talking. I can walk the dog, mow the lawn, drive to work, while listening to a podcast. If you're enhanced podcast requires me to WATCH, then it requires my complete attention. It might as well be video. If you require all of my attention, it better be really good content.

2. Back in the day, not everything played an enhanced podcast. You had to use quick time or iTunes to see the images.

3. To make your content available, this pretty much meant you had to put your podcast out in two formats (Mp3, and either m4a or m4b, m4p – typically m4a). This means you need to purchase more hosting for your media files.

4. You double you work. You now have to feeds in iTunes (one enahanced, one not). You have to create special settings on your website to identify the different version (this is not impossible with powerpress, but still a detail that needs to be examined on every episode).

5. I've helped five people who produced both versions when they launched their podcast. Every single person eventually dropped the enhanced version as nobody was listening to it.

Even Apple Appears to Dislike Enhanced Podcasts

In a recent episode of Podcast 411, Rob mentions this about enhanced podcasts.

“In the latest version of iTunes the images no longer change in the mini player. Now users need to command click on the small image in iTunes to bring up the full size player if they want to see your images change with each chapter. Kind of a big pain the butt for your user. If you remember there used to be a player showing in the lower left side of iTunes. That was removed in the lasest update. Since the last update to see the images change in an enhanced podcasts you just clicked on the small image of the episode at the top to open the mini player. That no longer changes the images for enhanced podcasts. Your users must now command click the image at the top to open the bigger player. – Thanks Apple.  Hopefully this is a bug and this feature will return in the future. ” (some paraphrasing in this mention).

But It Seems This Is What I'm Supposed to Do?

I've never used it, but I'd bet the farm that the default video format from Windows Movie maker is wmv (a microsoft format). When you export out of Garageband, the default setting is an ehanced podcast (Apple specific). These formats are just a way to keep you using their products.

The best (and in my opinon – only) audio format for podcasting is mp3.

But I Really Have Things That People Need to SEE

Then make a video podcast. People that want to WATCH video will enjoy your content.