The Future of 1337 Wine TV’s Podcast

Well, folks, it looks like in the near future I’ll have to stop the podcast of this show. All other forms of the show will continue still! I’ve almost exhausted the “free” or cheap ways of hosting video for the podcast though. My current solution is to use one of my websites (I have a few URLs under the 1337 Wine umbrella) to do the actual hosting of those videos. I have Unlimited, not Unlimited, hosting and bandwidth with Pressable.

When I switched to them a couple years ago for hosting the videos, I inquired about the “unlimited” part. At the time it wasn’t a big deal. Especially since my RSS feed numbers had been pretty much destroyed from a couple issues mostly related to the demise of blip.tv. Since then, I’ve increased these numbers to almost what they were in the blip.tv days.

I have viewers from all over the world (63 different countries so far this year) that subscribe to the RSS feed and watch via podcast apps on their mobile devices or other devices, people with settop boxes including TiVO (though you all should be able to watch via YouTube now), desktop computers, etc. Pretty much all of you will have to switch to YouTube or something that can access YouTube (XBOx, Roku, AppleTV, SmartTVs, etc.).

Is that such a bad thing? Not really. YouTube is THE place to host video. And just about every device that can watch a podcast can also watch video on YouTube. AND I earn $$$ from YouTube (though it’s almost nothing). Back in the day, when I started this little video podcast, it was all about iTunes. Somehow, my lack of iTunes subscribers never mattered as I was getting views elsewhere from the RSS feed (that’s how it gets on iTunes).

To continue this will be impossible at some point. Pressable hasn’t given me a deadline, but I’ve let the cat out of the bag with them. I’ve been having multiple issues uploading my files the past few months and I finally addressed it with them; including the raw numbers. Even if I hadn’t said anything I would be hitting the limits that are coming soon from what they told me.

So, I’ll be looking to switch to distribution via YouTube exclusively beginning the first week of 2017. iFood.tv subscribers, you’re covered. They retrieve my videos from YouTube. However, there isn’t a way for me to use iFood.tv as the host for the RSS feed. I urge all of you who watch via the podcast to subscribe to me on YouTube or iFood.tv. To my iTunes subscribers, I’m sorry to end it. Standard RSS readers and some non-iTunes podcast apps will work with the YouTube feed, but there are very few of those. If you want the feed, then here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCPmfD45krhbgj8SHq2EfyPQ

After the first week of 2017, there will no new episodes. I may record an “final” podcast explaining what’s going on. The feed will probably stay at 10 episodes, or even just the last special final podcast to stay within the limits from Pressable.

OK, for the rest of the TL;DR post, here are the numbers and technical stuff:

So, the question will be asked, “Why can’t you use YouTube for the RSS feed?” Well, you can’t. YouTube’s RSS feed doesn’t provide the video in the proper format for iTunes, or pretty much any podcatcher technically.

iTunes has a few quirky requirements that other services don’t necessarily have. So you may be able to continue to watch my videos in a podcast app other than iTunes, but so far my tests using the YouTube RSS feed don’t work. Some of these apps will search YouTube, but it’s a convenient way to watch YouTube without opening a browser. An RSS reader will do the same.

So, again, YouTube doesn’t have the videos in the proper format for iTunes and most other podcast apps. There are a bunch of settings in the feed that need to be compatible and they aren’t. Nor can you adjustment them from your YouTube account. And no, no matter what you may have found on the ‘net, there is NO WAY to make this happen. I’ve been trying on and off for several years, and all the “tricks” either never worked, or stopped working a long time ago.

So what about all these podcast hosting services? Well, the problem is that a typical episode is anywhere from 1 – 2.5 Gigabytes (GB) in size. I get via the RSS feed anywhere from 500 – 3000 views in a month for all episodes available on the feed when it was set to have 26 episodes max. I just changed it to 10 episodes max really to be nice to Pressable until I end the feed.

Even at what is probably the cheapest way to do this (Amazon S3), and if I made sure my the file size for every episode was no larger than 1GB, that would equal anywhere from about $50 – $270 PER MONTH. At the file sizes I currently have it’s really closer to $100 – $550 PER MONTH. This is for a feed size of 26 episodes. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of scratch to put out a podcast that doesn’t earn even close to those numbers in an entire year.

The other options like blubrry (who I use for their analytics), libsyn, podbean, etc. are closer to the higher set of numbers if I somehow made sure my file size never was more than 1GB. And this is for current numbers. The more the podcast grows, so does the cost. Even at 10 episodes for a feed max we are still talking at minimum $50 per month realistically since those 10 episodes are the most watched anyway. Again, growth means higher costs. Video is expensive, yo.

Restricting the file size to 1GB per episode isn’t too difficult for 10 minute shows. The video quality on a big screen TV is acceptable. But, let’s say, it’s the Halloween Special, or an interview at a winery? These are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour (or more in some cases). The quality starts to really suffer the longer the show is.

I know, not everyone who is watching the podcast is watching on a TV. But even a laptop screen won’t suffice for the longer shows. And really, there are a decent amount of viewers that are watching on larger screens. Video quality (and audio) have been an important part of this show from the beginning. If I didn’t care about it, then I’d use my laptop camera and mic to record it. Not knocking anyone who does this, I’m just saying I’ve tried to emulate some of the better shows out there that actually have budgets and staff.

The bottom line is unless I win the lotto, I can’t afford to pay normal hosting fees. Or a service needs to come along and make it affordable. The show isn’t ending, it’s just not continuing as a podcast officially.

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