“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.
I tried explaining this to a fellow podcaster 3 years ago. He insisted on continuing to create enhanced podcasts. He quit shortly after that because podcasting was taking up too much of his time.
I think it depends on which kind of podcast are you creating. My podcast “Emilcar” is about Apple and it is supposed to be hear in an Apple device by Apple fans, so I offer only an enhanced version. Not only iTunes but Instacast, Downcast and other iOS podcasts apps are able to play enhanced podcasts.
But the real problem is people that want/needs to hear podcasts through streaming in web pages. There is almost no web player able to play enhanced podcast, so I upload my m4a file to ivoox.com (a Spanish audio platform) so they convert automatically my file into mp3 and everybody can go to ivoox.com to hear it through a web player.
But, other of my podcasts “Still Lost” is about TV-Show Lost, and of course I offer it in MP3 file because it is for all the people interested in this show, not only Apple fans with Apple devices.
I used to do enhanced podcasts….well I ran an enhanced feed alongside a standard mp3 version of my music show so users clicked one of the two buttons they wanted (point 4). It was simply a case of recording the original audio AIFF/WAV then within itunes bouncing down two versions: mp3 and m4a. Then simply adding the images via an enhanced podcasting program for the m4a. You mention that space required but the files aren’t very big at all – and I am an audiophile – so I don’t buy point 3.
I used was mostly using artwork from artists, hyperlinking their images back to them for their promotion.
Re Point 1: Clearly the artwork wasn’t essential for the audio but I alway felt/hoped it would be a really nice surprise if you were listing whilst on public transport and got some awesome artwork to look at- the choice was down to you, the listener. It added value to my show and was a good tool for promotional work with many potential revenue avenues.
The hardest part was getting the artwork in the first place but once I had a few shows running it was just a process.
I’m just about back in the arena to make podcasts again after some time away and have just discovered apple decision to ditch the format. I guess I’m still coming to terms…..
I think enhanced pocasts are fantastic for educational programming. It’s like a slideshow with audio. I do volunteer work with a lot of illiterate people, and often show them some enhanced podcasts that consist of audio lessons with pictures. Looking at the pictures while listening really helps them to focus on the material. So for me it’s been very useful. Sadly, it’s been very difficult to find a reliable player that will consistently show the images.
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Looks like this is a dead horse…. But I like the idea of enhanced podcasts. Some of my podcasts are based on my blog post I already have pictures and the like. It appears that Hindenburg makes it “easy” to add enhanced info.
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