Overcast's New Clip-Sharing Feature is Exactly What Open Podcasting Needs

Marco Arment just released a banger of an update to Overcast. The headlining feature is called clip sharing, and it was inspired by this idea of Stephen Hackett’s on my show UNCO. I think clip sharing will quickly turn into an indispensable tool for both podcasters and listeners, but even more than that, I believe that updates like this are exactly what open podcasting needs to compete against the heavily-funded startups fighting to become the Facebook of podcasting.

Overcast Clips

What is clip sharing?

In his update today, Marco made it possible to quickly create and share either audio or video clips (although pretty much everyone is doing video) from any public podcast. I emphasize public because, reasonably, this won’t work on episodes from private podcast feeds. I verified this with the Do By Friday after show.

The UX for creating these clips is incredibly well done, as we’ve come to expect from Overcast.

The clip starts wherever you are in the episode, but you’re given the ability to go backward or forward to find the portion you really want. Each clip can be up to 1 minute in length.

Once you’ve selected the portion you’d like, there are simple options between audio only, portrait, landscape, or square video. The theming of the video clip copies the theme you have Overcast set to currently. (I wish you could change theming on the edit screen. I like using black mode in Overcast, but for UNCO clip sharing in particular, the white and orange theme is sharp.) You can also select between no app branding, the Overcast badge, or both an Overcast and an Apple Podcasts badge.

After you’ve made the selections you’d like, you can share your clip anywhere that’s available in the Apple share sheet.

What’s new with episode & show pages?

Marco also updated Overcast.com’s episode and show pages. Now when you click an Overcast link on any device and you’re not logged into Overcast, you’ll receive a page with links to the Overcast app, Apple Podcasts, Castro, Pocket Casts, and a generic RSS Feed link.

As a podcast creator with 80% of my traffic coming from Overcast and Apple Podcasts, this is a hugely welcome change. This doesn’t solve the link sharing problem entirely, especially for shows who have large Android listenerships, but it will reduce the need for me to tweet 3 different links of the same episode.

Why are these changes good for open podcasting?

Everything in today’s update made it easier for us to share our favorite podcasts with friends, family, and the world. Simple sharing is one of the toughest problems to solve in open podcasting, and this is a big step forward. I truly hope to see other great open podcast apps implementing these types of features in coming months. Marco said it well:

For podcasting to remain open and free, we must not leave major shortcomings for proprietary, locked-down services to exploit. Conversely, the more we strengthen the open podcast ecosystem with content, functionality, and ease of use, the larger the barrier becomes that any walled garden must overcome to be compelling.
— Marco

Some of my favorite examples of clip sharing