Podcasts

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Podcast Platform Reviews: Megaphone, Omny

Megaphone's negative reviews are focused on the limited accessibility of Megalinks and skip and rewind features not being available in the embedded player. Omny Studio's positive reviews are focused on podcasters being able to upload an intro and outro, as well as being able to do basic editing in the cloud.

MEGAPHONE

Positive sentiments

  • According to the two different top lists of podcasts for 2018, Megaphone offer features for professional podcasters, such as dynamic ad insertion, ad management, and sales management. These features are a strong differentiator when compared with services provided by, for example, Soundcloud.
  • Megaphone is under the Himalaya company umbrella. Himalaya hosting features involve episodic playlists that allow listeners to "curate specific podcast episodes and share them socially." This might even lead to a "Spotify Wrapped-style moment at the end of the year, with users sharing top ten playlists of their favorite shows."
  • Megaphone comes with a targeted advertising marketplace. The marketplace uses Nielsen data to help target audience in podcasting for the first time.

Negative sentiments

  • When it comes to Megaphone hosting, the biggest downside to the platform is that many people do not host their shows on Megaphone, which means that Megalinks that are created by Megaphone aren’t available to everyone.
  • For Megaphone's embedded player, skip and rewind features are not available. They are only available through official podcast apps such as Podcasts on iPhone, and Google Play's Podcasts.

OMNY

Positive sentiments

  • Omny Studio is one of the few providers which allows users to upload an intro and outro. These could also exist as quick commercials spots, and are then "stitched" together with the main podcast file.
  • The provider also allows for basic editing in the cloud, which is something Libsyn, Blubrry, SoundCloud, PodBean are not offering.

Negative sentiments

  • As Omny Studios is doing editing in the cloud, which means they re-encode the podcast file, this leads to a complete wipe out of the user's ID3 tags.
  • According to multiple user reviews, the app works intermittently and sometimes takes a very long time to load. Different users have noted that it can also take up too much space on the device which then usually leads to the app stopping or freezing at random moments.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Podcast Platform Reviews: Libsyn, Simplecast

The positive sentiments of Libsyn include providing a platform with a wide range of features to the podcast users as well as the ability to syndicate podcast to multiple aggregators simultaneously while the negative sentiments includes the lack of a user-friendly platform with not helpful resources to guide users as well as lack of podcast metrics to subscriber of basic plans. On the other hand, the positive sentiments of Simplecast include a modern and easy-to-use interface as well as the presence of Recast, a tool that allows users to share custom clips of their episodes on social media platforms, while the negative sentiments include having a soft limit on downloads and the platform being among the most expensive in the industry.

#1. Libsyn

Positive Sentiments from Users

  • Features-Libsyn boasts of a ton of features that any podcast publisher would need to publish and edit podcasts at any time.
  • Additionally, once podcasts have been published they are easily syndicated to multiple aggregators simultaneously which makes them accessible to the target audience through multiple channels easily. Podcast producers also have the advantage of schedule the time when they want to have the podcast published which is beneficial especially when one understands the best time that the audience is available to listen to the podcasts.
  • Podcast Metrics- Libsyn provides detailed and insightful data and statistics about the podcast and target audience such as the details about where downloads originate by geographical locations thus enabling users to leverage on the data and determine better ways of engaging their target audience as well as growing the number of listeners.

Negative Sentiments from Users

  • Lack of Helpful Resources- Some podcast producers have complained that even though Libsyn provides a wide array of additional features, users are not able to fully understand how they can leverage these features to grow and engage their target audience. Besides, Libsyn does not provide any educational resources for users to learn about all the features available.
  • Sponsorship Program- Libsyn sponsorship program enables podcast producers to be able to connect with prospective sponsors/ advertisers for the production of their podcasts. Unfortunately, producers who have less than 20k downloads per month do not have the option of joining the sponsorship program.

Positive Sentiments from Industry Experts

  • No Need for a Website-Libsyn is considered the most favorable solution for podcast producers who don’t have a website to publish their podcasts. The platform provides users with a free subdomain on subscription such as mydomain.libsyn.com as well as a variety of templates that users can use to create a home for their podcasts on the Libsyn platform. Besides, the platform handles all the technical details of hosting and publishing podcasts.
  • Podcast users also have the ability to white-label the subdomains by using their own custom domains, while everything else is handled on the podcasting platform.
  • Free App-Subscribers to the $20 per month plan, or other higher plans, can opt to have their own custom mobile app developed by Libsyn for a fee of $50 only and additional fees of $10 per month for the app hosting service. The app can be a great way to provide listeners, who are not ready to subscribe to a podcatcher, with a great way to access podcasts freely.

Negative Sentiments from Industry Experts

  • Ease of Use-The UX design of the podcasting platform is not user-friendly especially for beginners. Getting around the dashboard on Libsyn and accessing various features can be quite confusing because most features on the dashboard are 'buried' and to unearth anything a user has to navigate through a long process.
  • Podcast Statistics- Libsyn provides podcasting statistics based on the subscription tier of users. For instance, if a user subscribes to the basic plan of $5 per month, one does not qualify for any monthly stats, unless with an additional payment of $2 per month. Moreover, subscribers to the $15 per month plan only qualify for the basic stats package and users who need advanced stats have to move up to the $20 per month or other upper-tier subscription plans.
  • Different subscription plans provide different features as well as the storage space. Basic plans including the $5 and $15 per month plans provide only basic features as well as limited storage which can be a big turn-off for podcast producers who are starting out and want to rapidly scale their services by leveraging on the data.

#2. Simplecast

Positive Sentiments from Users

  • Simplecast Version 2.0-Simplecast recently rolled out their Version 2.0 of the platform which boasts of a newly modern and easy-to-use interface that comes with a simple walkthrough on how to configure a podcast webpage as well as tons of helpful resources for podcast users. The dashboard has the auto-detects and suggests to users what needs to be added to make their podcast webpages more engaging to listeners.
  • Great Customer Support- The customer support team at Simplecast is very knowledgeable and timely in addressing any concerns by users.

Negative Sentiments from Users

  • Slow Workflows-The platform does not provide users with the ability to upload and save certain presets that are repetitive in every episode. However, Simplecast claims that they have been working on a feature called Episode Templates that will enable users to quickly pre-populate their episode with details thus improving the publishing workflow.
  • When Simplecast upgraded to Version 2.0, the upgrade was never made automatic to all original members as it is for new members, thus locking original members out of some new features that came with the new version.

Positive Sentiments from Industry Experts

Negative Sentiments from Industry Experts

  • Download Limit-There is a limit on the number of total monthly downloads for each subscription plan with the Basic plan being 20,000, the Essential plan being 50,000, and the Growth plan being 125,000. This can be a big disadvantage to podcasts that have large back catalogs.
  • Features Available to Higher Subscription Plans-The newly added features in the latest version of the platform such as the API require higher plans, while their monthly charges are not considered the cheapest in the industry.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Podcast Platform Reviews: Anchor, Blubbry, Spreaker

The positive sentiments of Anchor include an absolutely free platform for creating and publishing content as well as a powerful distribution tool that ensures that podcasts are syndicated to a variety of popular podcast platforms while the negative sentiments include the uncertainty of the platform after acquisition by Spotify as well as its limited editing capabilities through the Anchor mobile app. On the other hand, the positive sentiments of Blubrry include an easy-to-use platform and excellent customer support services while the negative sentiments include lack of advanced podcast features and confusing podcast statistics. Lastly, the positive sentiment of Spreaker include a free basic plan and live broadcasting feature.

#1. Anchor

Positive Sentiments by Users

  • Anchor is best for beginners who are getting started in podcasting and don’t have a large fan base or a big budget to venture into intensive podcasting. The ability of the platform to provide free services to users makes it possible for beginners to easily scale up and grow their audience without much hustle.
  • The platform offers a free app that enables users to view episodes created by other users. This can provide a source of inspiration especially for beginners to know the best strategy of creating content that resonates with listeners. Additionally, users have the ability to create their own radio shows via the app. Users can import tracks from Apple Music or Spotify and use them to record episodes in their own voice links.
  • The podcast platform also provides a powerful distribution tool that makes it easier and faster for users to publish content across multiple platforms in a short time making the promotion of the content cost-effective and reliable.

Negative Sentiments by Users

  • The Anchor mobile app is not 'aimed' at enabling guest recording of a podcast because a guest must have the app on his/ her phone to record. Besides, the app starts to record once the guest has picked the phone and since it has limited editing capabilities, the podcast recorded usually ends up being awkward because in most cases the podcast will transpire as if it was part of a phone call.
  • Additionally, if there is a bad section in the recording, a user has got to start recording the entire podcast due to limited editing capabilities.
  • Since the platform provides free podcasting services, the content of the podcast is heavily branded by Anchor and other advertisers making it appear less professional. This makes Anchor more suitable for hobbyists. Anchor provides no audio mixing as well as audio normalization making the podcast sound very unprofessional.

Positive Sentiments by Industry Experts

  • Anchor has a Voice Notes feature that enables a podcast producer to collaborate with the audience or other participants when recording such as incorporating listeners question or comments into the podcast. The feature allows other participants/ fans to record small notes that appears on the home screen of the podcast producer's app and can be used eventually as segments in creating the podcast.
  • The platform helps podcast producers especially beginners to grow their audience and also to monetize their content through a monthly donation model where listeners can donate to a podcast producer as well as through sponsored advertising where podcast producers are connected with sponsors to record short promotional messages that are inserted into their podcast content.

Negative Sentiments by Industry Experts

  • Though Anchor boasts of its ability to provide free podcast publishing services including free unlimited storage space and bandwidth, industry experts feel that its acquisition by Spotify in February 2019 makes the future of this platform quite murky as many experts fail to predict the eventual outcome of the acquisition.
  • Additionally, the fact that the platform provides free services raises a lot of questions regarding the quality of services that it provides now and in the future, access to customer support services as well as the sustainability of the business model in the future.
  • Industry experts also claim that Anchor ‘owns’ the shows of its users by having the control of the episodes under the brand's ID on some popular podcast platforms including Apple and Stitcher. Therefore, users are not able to obtain any podcast metrics for their episodes on these platforms since the metrics are already provided to Anchor.
  • Also, importing podcasts from Anchor to another provider may prove hectic because the Anchor usually changes some aspects of the episodes including file name and format especially with the intention to insert their promotional content. Therefore, when changing providers, users may be forced to edit the content to make it original as it was which can be cumbersome and time-consuming when dealing with multiple files.

#2. Blubrry

Positive Sentiments from Users

  • Easy to Use Interface- Blubrry users feel that the platform is among the best in the industry because of the ease in setting up a new show as well as the availability of a variety of creative controls that provide users with the abilities to customize their podcasts easily.
  • Besides, the navigation on the platform is user-friendly and any user including beginners can easily figure out how to access and use different features on the platform.
  • The customer support team of Blubrry is considered one of the best in the industry because of its swift response to customers' concerns as well as multi-channel customer support system that includes email support available 24 hours and phone and video support available during the daytime on working days.

Negative Sentiments from Users

  • The Powerpress plugin used by Blubrry in uploading and publishing episodes does not provide intuitive tools that users can leverage in enhancing the content of their podcast episodes.
  • Moreover, although Blubrry podcast statistics are available to users under any of their monthly subscription plans, the statistics are confusing and can be overwhelming especially to new users.

Positive Themes from Industry Experts

  • Blubrry has a competitive edge over most popular podcast platforms because the platform solely rely on Powerpress in publishing podcasts. Powerpress is a WordPress plugin that is considered as the “defacto king” of podcast publishing because it provides users with the ability and powerful tools that they need to publish podcasts withing their websites.
  • The podcast platform provides advanced podcast stats for subscribers on each of its monthly subscription plan. Additionally, Blubrry’s stats are considered to meet the industry standards because they are IAB Certified, meaning that they are compliant with all podcast measurement guidelines.

Negative Sentiments by Industry Experts

  • Blubrry does not appeal to users who don’t have a WordPress website because the platform solely relies on Powerpress, a WordPress plugin in uploading and publishing podcasts.
  • The pricing of Blubrry monthly plans is not considered among the most competitive in the industry because of the storage limits that come with almost all plans. However, this shortcoming is addressed with the platform’s No-Fault Maximum feature that provides users with an extra 25% of storage above the limit of their plans in case they exceed the set storage limit.

#3. Spreaker

Positive Sentiments from Industry Experts

  • Spreaker provides users with a free basic plan that offers the benefits of uploading up to 5 hours of audio episodes on the platform. Additionally, users can also opt to record a live podcast that should not exceed 15 minutes each. The content is distributed by Spreaker to its huge audience base while podcast producers can still opt to push their content to other podcast distribution platforms such as Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIN among others. However, it is worth noting that users are not allowed to monetize their podcast content under this plan.
  • The platform also offers a live broadcasting feature that provides a powerful gateway to engage the audience in real-time. The advanced statistics provided in live broadcasting can enable podcast producers to determine the best time for live broadcasting, depending on demand, which can spur rapid growth of the audience as well as loyalty while maximizing audience engagement.
  • The user interface of Spreaker is friendly and has creative features that enable users to enhance their shows and customize their content on a variety of operating systems including iOS and Android enabled devices.
Sources
Sources

From Part 01