Podcast Search

Dec 5, 2005 - 1:39 pm 0 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2005

Podcast Search

Moderated by Chris Sherman. Podcasting has “caught fire” over the last year. Provides a brief intro/definition of podcasting, and says there are lots of new services aimed at helping get podcasts found.

David Ives tveyes, inc.: creators of Podscope, a spoken word search engine. They specialize in solutions involving word recognition, word-spotting. Stared working with mostly defense/ intelligence, so remained “under the radar.” Now has gone more public, and has partnership with Yahoo and AOL. TVeyes professional version used for a variety of tasks. Launced podscope in April 2005, currently indexing over 50,000 podcasts. 75% audio 25% video (typically video blogs). They believe that Meta data alone is not enough, uses Pinpoint Audio, allows user to listen to a 10 second snippet that contains a particular keyword. Thinks that this technology will also help advertsieers place ads within best section of the podcast. They have a search box for podcasters, and use RSS feeds/subscriptions/alerts. Podscope will soon power podcast searches at AOL.

Suranga Chandratillake, blinkx No PowerPoint, because it was “so painfully simple that it seemed obvious.” Didn’t want to insult anyone. (laughs). (See Video Search Session coverage for intro to blinkx). Podcasting much larger than video blogging. Blinkx uses same methodology to gather content as with Video Search…crawls, submissions, RSS, etc. They also use speech recognition to automatically listen and understand content that is found. Agrees that just meta data is not enough, this the importance of speech recognition. Suggests use of submission system in order to allow blinkx to index your content. They are tracking about 30,000 podcast channels currently.

Joe Hayashi, Yahoo! No slides either, his CPOU gave out on him. Yahoo! Podcasts BETA screenshot. Podcasting is an interesting problem of for a search engine since it has both audio and video attributes. Designed to be consumed and delivered in a very specific way. When the did research, found that the number one request was to find good content, worthy of listening to. People also sought the ability to search specific content. Has taken an approach that they feel is unique. Uses their community tools such as tagging and rating system. High scores do influence the search results, so you should get people to vote for your content. Feels that community data can help resolve the content of getting only “good content.” Flickr is a product that helps with this, being a community that creates data around content such as photos. Has an “interestingness” feature that uses the META data added by the community to vault the most popular to the top. Neat example of how it works for photos. Shows a similar content search at Yahoo Podcasts and shows how a particular photographer has vaulted in the rankings for photography search.

Dick Costolo, Feedburner

They manage RSS feeds and thus many podcasts: 27,000. Knows that it is still early in the industry, but there is fast evolution going on. It started like the web: directories. No insult to other presenters, but they keep hearing “submit your podcasts here,” etc… like the old days of submit your website. Takes months not years to evolve, and will be far more sophisticated by 2006. Podcasters want all their podcasts to be properly listed at iTunes. Has also seen many people focused on monetizing podcasts, which has caused some issues. More people are trying to find ways to monetize them than to better find them through search. Feels that this is changing positively, however, with more companies working towards getting podcasts found. Tips: Promote only one feed, otherwise duplicate content issues more likely to happen. De-duping is the biggest challenge. Include all Meta data: iTunes, Media RSS and others coming allow for detailed addition of such content. Ping on updates, which helps to quickly distribute new content.

Amanda Watlington, Ph. D. Searching for Profit What should we being doing as SEM’s to take advantage of these tools. Slide: Podcasting = Sound + Portable Audio Player + RSS Syndicated Distribution + Tools to manage. Most podcasts are still very niche, but growing very fast. Fusion Group analysis of market place indicates that there will be 56.8 million consumers by 2010 compared to 800,000 in 2004. Echoes that rush to monetize has appeared in this space like seen in no other space by Amanda. Lists the podcast value chain steps: content, advertising, production, publishing, hosting, promotion, searching, catching, listening. Will focus on steps most crucial to marketing. Note: Avoid “Gadget Seduction.” Podcast should focus on “findability,” not gadget seduction. If no one is listening, all the elegance of the gadget is lost. Focus on something people want to listen to.

If getting into this field, start by listening, and survey how others are doing this. Use the community ratings tools offered to help generate more data for research. Next: experiment and evaluate. Blogging by phone is a good place to start. Shows TelCaster Beta as a good free trial Podcasting portal. Tips for Podcasting and SEO: Good Title. Optimize sound files – tags do have meaning. Use a separate landing page for audio content. Optimize landing pages for each new file. Provide subscription info on landing pages. Build correct and valid feeds – RSS 2.0/iTunes/Yahoo! (This is a big problem) Submit your feeds. (What to do with transcript? Should a transcript be included or just a summary? The answer is based on the content…but typically, a nicely optimized summary is all you need for the landing page.) Optimize your Sound – ID 3 tags used for MP3 exporting. Use RSS and Feed Managers such as List Garden, FeedForAll, Feedburner. Use tools to manage your feeds. See podcastingnews.com/topics/podcast_directory.htm(l?). Ends with a recap of these tips. Make your mistakes now, play with it use it try it before everyone else is blocking your way.

Daron Babin, Webmasterradio.fm “The Truth About Podcasting!” Describes Webmaster Radio. People were asking for a long time for archives and podcasts, and they now are using them. Will describe some numbers heard in recent meeting: 68% of people interested in podcasts actually subscribe to RSS feed. Overall satisfaction: 8.5/10. (sorry didn’t catch all these numbers…no slides). Estimate by 2010 that 76 mil+ people will have listened to a podcast. Essentially, people are slow in adopting that Ipod is not just for music. Also, technology is still lacking when it comes to speech-to-text. Using Dragon, which is a great product, still takes a long time in order to “teach” the software to recognize a particular voice. Be on the lookout for new technologies. Feels that VC’s will help drive this growth (CB note: makes sense since there is such a push to monetize Podcasts). Suggests doing what the other speakers have said…use meta data, and by the way, spell-check!

Q&A Which is it…recommend use of only one RSS feed or multiple? Dick: use only one feed in order to avoid dupe content, he says that obviously Amanda has differing views on this subject.

How long does it take for a podcast to be indexed? Joe: takes Yahoo 24hrs.

How does background music affect ability of speech recognition? David: it does, good question. Most software has been trained with “clean audio.” Mnot to say that it will make results terrible, but it will diminish the accuracy. At leats make sure voices are higher than music. Daron says that “stopwords, accents, slang, ghetto, etc. are all issues with speech-to-text.

What is business model of future? Amanda: Pay for content, product placement, sponsorship, premium subscriptions, etc. Suggest looking at beercasting.com, or coffeecasting.com, for an example of sponsorship opportunities. Daron also adds to look for info about David Lawrence and the “BidPass” subscription model he uses. This “DRM-wraps” content and forces person to subscribe. There are tons of ways to monetize. Joe: adds that one of great things is that it was totally built on open standards. Evolutionary work needs to occur before there is a full advertising model, full premium model.

How is imaginary audience measured? Dick: it is hard, and there will be tremendous disagreement over measurability. Things that can be measured: downloads being started, which could be counted as twice if an error occurs, or may not be completed. The other thing that can be measured is the number of subscribers. All metrics will be slightly inaccurate, much like people still find errors in Comscore numbers. Daron: adds that measuring the amount of transferred content. He has started to shift everything into limelight networks using live streaming (measurable) but then separate and better measurements can be derived from interaction with archives and podcasts. Speaks about a company named “Pod Tracks” that he feels provides excellent demographics information (he looked at reports). He feels they just make this available to co-branding. Amanda: also need to make sure you are identifying what it is you want to track…what goals or actions should be measured. Joe: adds that measurability is hard because of multiple feed issue too.


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