Oh yes, it’s been a while since the last release and of course we have our reasons. But development never stopped and Podlove Publisher 2.8 is out (see this link for a more technical summary of what’s new).
This time we are adding a few incremental updates to our Analytics section and and one bold new feature: transcripts.
Transcripts are coming
Transcripts are an incredibly desirable thing to have for podcasts: they allow searching for specific parts, increase searchability by search sites when presented properly and they increase the accessibility of audio content significantly too.
However, transcripts have been considerably difficult to be created and used. Manually created transcripts are costly in terms of time and money and even if you spend the money there has been a lack of technical standards for storing and integrating transcripts into websites in a defined way.
This is now slowly changing: more and more automated speech-to-text systems are becoming available at reasonable costs and they are creating ever better transcripts with more and more languages being supported.
Still, automatic transcripts trail manually created transcripts in terms of accuracy, punctuation and so on but they are increasingly useful when they are primarily used for improving search results or helping you with your internal research when trying to find content in your older episodes.
New services are also coming up to deal with these problems by allowing users to quickly build on automatic transcripts and improve them manually in an assisted fashion. We will soon see a landscape of tools and services that will make creating transcripts easy and cheap enough for more and more podcasters so it’s time to come up with a good integration.
Last but not least, the WebVTT file format has become a de-facto common denominator for passing transcripts along, supporting time codes, speaker identification and a rudimentary set of meta data. While not perfect it’s enough to get a transcript infrastructure up and running and Podlove is leading the way.
Podlove Publisher 2.8 is helping with transcripts in multiple ways:
- Importing transcripts via WebVTT
- Support for transcript assets
- Backend allows assigning speaker identification to Podlove contributors
- Complete access to the full transcript information line by line via Podlove templates
- Integration of transcript in the Podlove Web Player
This means you can now leverage any kind of transcript source as long as the transcript file structure can be converted to (or is already stored in) WebVTT.
You can then use the embedded WebVTT speaker information to assigned certain speakers to Podlove contributors.
This allows the transcript to be presented in an exciting way using the Podlove Web Player. The transcript is not only fitted right into a tab of the player, it is also scrolling along while the podcast is playing, highlighting the current phrases.
You can also interactively select certain parts of the transcript and make the Podlove Web Player jump right to it. In addition to that you can actually search in the transcript right from within the Podlove Web Player and find all occurrences of a certain phrase (and jump to it).
Once you have upgraded to Podlove Publisher 2.8, just enable the new transcripts module and you can explore your new transcription-decorated podcast home.
We are seeing many opportunities on how to advance the use of transcripts even further in the future and we hope to be able to deliver more exciting stuff in upcoming releases.
While we haven’t added much to the way Podlove Analytics work we have added some global information in addition to the per-episode information be have provided so far:
- downloads per month
- top episodes
- episode asset
- podcast client
- operating system
- download source
This should help you getting a better view of what’s going on with your podcast. We are hoping to provide more flexiblity for how to present more and more detailed information on a global level but we are heavily limited by WordPress in this area and have to come up with a trick or two to achieve this.
For those who want to do their own analytics, we now provide the raw data in CSV format so that you can throw it whatever tool suits you the best in order to find the information you need. If you come up with nice ways of looking at things that you would like to see built right into Podlove Publisher, let us know.
Podlove Web Player 4
And oh of course, Podlove Publisher 2.8 comes with Podlove Web Player 4. That’s no big news as this version has been shining on the web and has been supported by previous versions of the Publiserh already. But A LOT of things have changed under the hood and we are going to make use of more of these hidden features in the future. Transcripts are just the beginning.