Podcast setup
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Twitter should embrace podcasts

Protocol Entertainment

Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Friday, we’re taking a look at a rumor that Twitter’s adding podcasts to its app, and all the things you should watch, play and read this weekend.

Why podcasts would be a great addition to Twitter

Twitter is getting into podcasts: Earlier this week, both serial leaker Jane Manchun Wong and fellow reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi posted screenshots showing dedicated menu items for podcasts in Twitter’s mobile apps, suggesting that the company may be getting ready to expand into serialized audio in the coming months.

I know what you’re thinking: Do we really need another podcast app? And does Twitter have what it takes to compete with podcast industry giants like Apple and Spotify? I think the answer — at least to the second question — is yes. Podcasts are actually a perfect match for Twitter, even if we’re still in the rumor phase.

  • We don’t know Twitter’s exact plans for podcasts, with spokespeople telling Social Media Today that the company was “always exploring new ways to help people engage in the conversation on Twitter,” while declining to comment further.
  • Twitter did acquire the team behind the social podcast app Breaker last year, with Breaker CEO Erik Berlin writing that the team was “continuing to build ways for people to communicate better and looking forward to the future of audio.”
  • TechCrunch reported at the time that Berlin was going to work on Twitter Spaces.
  • Twitter has yet to release any metrics for Spaces, but The New York Times reported in December that the live audio service had reached 2 million monthly active users — not bad for a service that is primarily based on live tune-in.
  • However, the company is clearly looking to take Spaces beyond the constraints of appointment listening: Twitter recently made it possible for anyone to record their Spaces and make those recordings available for up to 30 days.
  • Turning those recordings into proper podcasts, and allowing people to subscribe to future episodes, could be a logical next step.

Twitter has been wooing podcasters for some time, teaching them how to use tweets to speak to their audience, and also asking them to use Spaces as a kind of live version of their podcasts. The company has also added a bunch of other features to Spaces and its entire platform that could come in handy if and when it launches proper podcast support.

  • Twitter has announced plans to add Spaces analytics to its API, which could help podcasters keep track of their audience.
  • Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows could lay the groundwork for paid podcast subscriptions.
  • There are also plans to bring Spaces discovery features to Twitter’s API, which could be an interesting way to tie live audio to federated podcasts.
  • Imagine, for instance, a media organization hosting podcasts within its own app, and then linking to Twitter whenever a podcast gets produced in real time in front of a live Twitter audience.

For Twitter, podcasts are a return to its roots. The company launched as a podcasting app called Odeo all the way back in 2005, only to pivot to tweets when Odeo didn’t take off.

  • Odeo was conceived as social audio nearly 20 years ago, but with a severely limiting audience model: The original idea for Odeo was to allow people to record mini podcasts for their friends — a kind of audio DM, if you will.
  • Now, the company has a chance to instead focus on what it does best: public discussions and communities of like-minded people.

Apple, Spotify and others have spent hundreds of millions to secure exclusives for their respective platforms — which has, on occasion, backfired. Twitter, on the other hand, is already the public playground of the world’s media companies, journalists and politicians. If Twitter gives them a way to easily capture and distribute their musings as podcasts, it might just strike gold.

— Janko Roettgers


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TGIF: How to spend your weekend

Elden Ring — Xbox, PlayStation, PC. It’s impossible to talk about Elden Ring without drawing on the mountain of commentary that’s flooded social media, gaming forums and news sites over the past week. That’s the beauty of FromSoftware’s newest and arguably greatest game yet: It's a modern single-player game that’s best experienced by discussing it with other people online.

More so than any of the studio’s past games, Elden Ring features an opaque storyline and an even more cryptic open world that’s jaw-droppingly massive and full of secrets. But discovering and talking about it together with the entire internet has become a core part of its appeal. Just get ready to die … a lot.

The Metaverse Finally Has a Killer App: PokerBloomberg. Last month, I wrote about the metaverse real estate boom, and how it often stands in opposition to the stated goals and ambitions of the Web3 and crypto evangelists building these platforms. Bloomberg reporter Cecilia D'Anastasio’s latest piece on one of those platforms, Decentraland, is a fascinating look at what’s actually going on in these otherwise largely empty social platforms, beyond all the real estate speculation. It turns out the answer is: a lot of poker.

At least half of Decentraland’s users at any given time are playing virtual casino games for items they can exchange for cryptocurrency, all run by a third-party company without a gambling license. Regulators might catch on, but only if they can figure out what the metaverse is first.

“Yu Yu Hakusho” — Crunchyroll. Sony’s acquisition of anime streaming service Crunchyroll means the popular platform has been expanded with a huge library of new shows, including many with English dubs, from sister service Funimation. One gem worth watching is the excellent 1992 paranormal action series “YuYu Hakusho,” which happens to have a great English dub that has stood the test of time. The series has it all: iconic characters, great animation and a fantastic fantasy plot featuring the life of spirit detective Yusuke Urameshi. It’s been one of my favorites for the past 20 years.

“Mob Psycho 100” — Crunchyroll. For those looking for a more modern anime to get into, an absolute must-watch is ONE’s “Mob Psycho 100,” the story of a young and impressionable psychic named Shigeo Kageyama. Featuring truly mind-bending animation from studio Bones, of “Fullmetal Alchemist” and “My Hero Academia” fame, “Mob Psycho 100” is both a sensory experience and an emotionally melancholy one. It balances traditional action anime fireworks with an emotional narrative about discovering yourself through the bonds you form with others.

— Nick Statt


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Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to entertainment@protocol.com. Enjoy your day, see you Tuesday.

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