I’m in love with podcasts, but when it comes to engaging with it’s related content, I’m not sure if podcasts are in love with me. The definition of a podcast is the following:

pod·cast ˈpädˌkast/

a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

Wrong!

Here’s what it should be:

A digital audio file made available for downloading from the internet and to connected devices, which allows subscribers to engage with related audio/video, books, articles, and various rich media content experiences.

The problem:
During an episode of a podcast, tons of related topics are mentioned. Events, books, documentaries, trade information, articles, influential people, websites, etc. All that valuable information is tucked away in podcast episode detail page on the web and a very small share of information is accessible from the details section of the podcast episode more information screen.

I’m hungry for related content…

via GIPHY

The solution:
Build me an interface so I can easily engage with that rich topical meta data. How about allowing me to do the following, right from the podcast app:

  1. Add books to my Amazon wishlist or Goodreads list, or even pdfs into my Kindle.
  2. Follow people on Twitter or Facebook mentioned during the podcast.
  3. Add articles to my Read later apps (e.g. Readability, Pocket, Instapaper, etc)
  4. Add a related YouTube video to my Watchlater list.
  5. Add Events mentioned in the podcast. How many times has a conference/panel discussion been mentioned and I have no way of adding it to reference it later?
  6. How about adding blogs mentioned during the show, to my favourite rss reader like Feedly?

I recently downloaded Overcast, but have now gone back to Apple’s standard Podcasts app. Let’s include Pocket Casts and Stitcher and see how well they fair in connecting you to content, outside of the audio podcast. Although, there are many sample podcast episodes, let’s use my favorite economic podcast, Econtalk with Russ Roberts, which rich with tons of related content. We’ll use the episode with Cesar Hidalgo where he talks about How Information Grows.

Now take look at all the external meta data from the web version of the podcast detail page. Click screenshot below to see a large view of all the related content goodies:
As you can see EconTalk has books, video, trade papers, articles, websites, blogs entries. etc. Many times there’s even more. His guests are speakers at various events, and many are upcoming events. Now let’s see how our podcasts treat all that goodness.

Click on any image below to see the slideshow of “hide and go seek” content.

I know, it looked like a content horror show. Help is on the way. Now let’s get into how we can close the gap between content creator and consumer. We’ll use Apple’s Podcasts apps UI as an example. Click the 1st image in the series to see a better approach.

Oh but there’s more. How cool would be to have a “podcast breadcrumb” letting me know the source of how I took an action. Now I have bit of context as I go through my “Save it Later” type lists. Click image below to the digital breadcrumb.

Conclusion:

This is not an easy issue to tackle. There needs to be a lot of coordination via podcast publisher services, developers, and the related media spaces where you can save content for later (e.g. Youtube, Pocket, Readibility, Facebook, etc). Unfortunately, we are in a walled garden with tons of weeds getting in the way. It’s time we uncage the valuable podcast data thats layered within in the audio discussion, and the supplementary content that is connected to that podcast episode. Next step would be to make all that content searchable so users can find the content they want, while knowing the source that it came from.

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