HeyWatchEncoding.com went out of beta earlier today. I've been using the product under the closed beta and have been very impressed with it. It also represents a couple of things in Podcasting that I'd like to point out:
If you aren't familiar with it, this is a Web-based service that lets you convert any format of Web video into another. For example, got a MP4 Video Podcast that you can't watch on your Xbox? A run through Heywatch will change that for you. Excellent RSS integration as well so you can do some interesting automation. Powerful tool.
While entire companies and sites are going to pop up (Heywatch.com is exhibit “A”) to help you get around sites and programs that don't broadcast in your format, we need to understand that not all of our customers are going to put up with the extra steps. Don't make your show available in a certain format? Yes, they could easily use something like Heywatch to make the conversion happen.
Of course they could also just go to your competitor …
The second point that gets lost on a lot of Podcasters is that you can use this same tool to convert your own content for your audience. Why don't you save them the steps? Isn't your audience worth it?
Finally, it is worth noting that this product is living proof that a good chunk of the audience has no idea what they really need. From a technical standpoint, “WMV 320×240” is the “Zune” format, but both are listed there. Why / because people want to click on what they know, not do the research.
I'm going to examine the way we list our Podcast formats. Am I missing any Zune listeners because they don't know they can listen to MP3? Are there iRiver customers that could be mine if I listed iRiver as an option? You get the idea.
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