Today I continue my series on using the video podcast distribution service blip.tv. Monday I talked about blip basics. Today I’ll quickly address the best way to distribute iPod compatible videos via blip. In fact, if you want your video podcast available for download in iTunes with videos playable on iPods and iPhones, blip.tv is one of the easiest routes to go.
In order to have your videos available for download in the iTunes store, you need an iTunes feed. If you are at all blog savvy, you may already be familiar with RSS feeds. (Ironically, RSS stands for “Real Simple Syndication,” but it’s one of the most confusing topics relating to blogging and new media distribution). When you create a blip.tv account, it automatically creates an iTunes feed. Here is the feed created for the podcast channel we created for WPPI:
Note: this type of iTunes link is a direct call to the iTunes software on the user’s computer. Windows users must have iTunes installed for this to work. When the user clicks the link, they will be subscribed to your videos via iTunes. This is not the same thing as submitting your podcast to the iTunes store (thereby making it available for people who may search for your podcast in the iTunes store). Read more to learn how to do that.
Submitting to the iTunes Store
To submit your podcast to the iTunes store using our blip.tv account:
- Once you’re logged in, click the “Dashboard” link at the top
- Next, click on the “Distribution” link to the left. You’ll see a long list of various distribution methods. Find “iTunes” then click it.
- You’ll be taken to your iTunes settings page where you can type in the author name, description, add your categories, and upload your iTunes show image.
- Once all the info is finished, click save at the bottom. You will then be take to a screen where you’ll be prompted to “Add to iTunes.” Click that link.
- Your iTunes software will launch, and you’ll automatically be taken to the “Submit a Podcast” page.
- Copy and paste your podcast URL from your blip account. It will be similar to the iTunes feed link, but instead of staring with “itpc” it starts with “http”. You’ll need to be logged into your .Mac/iTunes account to submit a podcast. Click continue.
- On the following page, you’ll be prompted to enter the same kind of info you already entered in your blip account. It should be all pre-populated.
- Hit submit. That’s it. It could take a few days or longer before your show will be added to the store.
Once your show is added, you will have an iTunes show page similar to the one below. (As of this blog post’s writing, I actually hadn’t added the WPPI channel to the store, so the image below is from my audio podcast, F-Stop Beyond. The idea is the same).
Once you have this page, right-click (or control click) on the show image to copy your iTunes Store URL. This is the URL you should use on your website when you want link to your iTunes show page. This is a better URL than the direct subscription link above because using this URL will push your show up in the iTunes charts, increasing the show’s visibility. The URL created is pretty long. It will look like this:
You can shorten it by taking your feed ID (the string of numbers at the end after the equal sign) and add it to this URL as follows:
They both accomplish the same thing.
Creating and Uploading iPod/iPhone Compatible Content
Finally, one of the most important things to remember is that just because your videos are now downloadable from iTunes, this does not mean subscribers will be able to play those videos on their iPods or iPhones. The videos in your podcast must be formatted specifically for iPod/iPhone playback, or they won’t sync with the user’s device. Again, blip makes this easy. If you subscribe to blip.tv’s pro account (which is only $8/month for $96 for 14 months) they will automatically create iPod compatible videos from whatever you upload. Those are the videos it will make visible in your iTunes feed.
If you have the free blip account, you need to upload your own iPod compatible videos. To do so, just click “Edit” on any video record, then select “Add additional” format. This will create an upload field where you upload your already existing iPod compatible video. blip.tv determines which videos to display in your iTunes feed based on the extension. The feed produced will search in order of: m4v, mp4, mov, m4a, mp3, pdf.
Of course, you first need to make these iPod compatible versions. And that’s a snap. Assuming you’ve already created a QuickTime (.mov) version of your video, import it into iTunes, then right-click or control click on it and select “Convert Selection to iPod/iPhone”. If you’re an advanced video producer and own Apple’s Compressor 3 or above, you can use that to create iPod compatible videos. (This will give you more flexibility in the compression process).
Publishing your video podcast in iTunes can be a lot of fun. It’s very cool to see something you’ve created on the most popular podcast distribution network in the world. It’s a great way to extend your brand, or, if you’re a video producer like us, a great way service to offer your clients. Now you see how simple it really is. For more information, check Apples Tech Specifications page or FAQs on the subject.
Now all you have to do is make something worth watching. You’re on your own for that one.