Anchor's Shareable Videos Are Back

After removing the feature in the recent Anchor 3.0 launch, Anchor Videos are back. These are short (up to 3 min) videos of an episode with captions and an animated waveform that can be shared on social media.

From the company’s blog:

Earlier this year we launched Anchor 3.0, the easiest way to make podcast, ever. As part of our mission to democratize audio, we believe it’s important to innovate on how that audio is shared. It’s always been a chore to visualize audio segments for social media, and with our new web tools, it’s easier than ever.

I think the interesting underlying story here is the Anchor’s embrace of the desktop. They started out as mobile-only but my guess is that to appeal to more experienced creators they realized they needed a desktop experience. Currently all post-production work is done on a desktop and getting your finished episodes out of, say, Hindenberg and onto a phone just to upload to Anchor was a pain. With their new play as a hosting provider, they needed to remove any barriers and appeal to a broader range of creators. Which meant a desktop experience. And I would argue that the more experienced creator is a better customer for Anchor. They know they like podcasting and will stick around for longer on the Anchor service rather than a creator that just wants to dip their toe into podcasting only to abandon it an episode later.

The Anchor Video creation experience is still not geared towards the experienced creator – it is not possible to extract a short clip from a full episode and make that into a Video on the Anchor app. You will need to render and create a 3 min segment first and upload that to Anchor to be made into a Video.

Now that Anchor is positioning itself a hosting platform, they hope that easy access to creating Videos will pull creators in to use their hosting service.

As I noted back when Anchor Videos launched the first time (which they called Clips back then), it seemed strange that there was no way to push users to subscribe from the video:

The problem for Anchor (and Pippa) is that they don’t have a traditional player. Since Pippa has no player yet and Anchor will only play content created on its own platform, there is no clear call to action that users can take from a shared video. Indeed, it’s odd to see Pod Save America use Anchor branded Clips on social media when you can’t listen to the show on Anchor.

I think it’s just a matter of time before Anchor offers the full iTunes catalog for playback in its app. Right now it feels like a confusing proposition for listeners – they have to know whether this an Anchor podcast or not and remember which app to use to listen. Why not offer a single app that can play both podcasts and Anchor shows?