Publishers > Player Options & Tips

Player Options & Tips for Publishers
Making the Most of Podtrac Player

Podtrac Player: Summary for Publishers
Extending Customization Features via RSS: The Podtrac Namespace
Supporting Multiple Shows: OPML Files
Maximizing Play Performance
Reports

Podtrac Player: Summary for Publishers
Grow Your Audience with Podtrac Player
Podtrac Player provides an instant framework for playing and sharing online audio and video shows and podcasts through: publisher sites, blog sites, Facebook, Twitter, other social media websites, and mobile devices.

Optimize Plays on Your Website
Podtrac Player provides the ultimate in flexibility for your website. Customize player size, appearance, and features, and give users a great play experience.

Promote Subscriptions on Leading RSS Venues
Podtrac Player promotes show subscriptions through leading podcatchers and RSS venues including: iTunes, Zune and Google.

Enable More Plays on Mobile Devices
With an integrated mobile display, your website instantly supports plays on leading mobile devices. Podtrac Player also enables one-touch access to your shows from the home screens of mobile devices including iPhone and iPod Touch.

Supported File Formats
Podtrac Player supports most audio and video file format types including Quicktime (Apple), Flash (Adobe) and MP3.

Extending Customization Features via RSS: The Podtrac Namespace
Podtrac Player Leverages RSS 2.0 and the iTunes Podcasting Namespace
Podtrac Player uses RSS 2.0 (http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rss/rss.html) as well as several elements from the iTunes Podcasting namespace (http://www.apple.com/itunes/whatson/podcasts/specs.html#namespace). These include: channel <itunes:title>, channel <itunes:image>, item <itunes:title>, item <itunes:pubDate>, item <itunes:duration>, item <enclosure mime url>

Further Customize Podtrac Player with Your RSS Feed
Podtrac Player offers additional customization features to publishers by extending RSS with the following Podtrac Namespace.

Declare the Podtrac Namespace in your RSS Feed
When using any of the optional tags below, the RSS 2.0 specification requires that you add a namespace declaration to your feed xml, as in the third line of your feed beneath the iTunes namespace declaration, like this:
<rss xmlns:podtrac="http://www.podtrac.com/player2.0/tips.php#rss">


Podtrac Namespace: Optional Channel Level Elements

channel <podtrac:itunespodcastid>
Enable New Subscriptions through Podtrac Player to Increment Counts in iTunes
Background: iTunes ranks audio and video podcasts by number of new subscribers to an RSS feed, among other factors. In order for the iTunes to count a subscription (toward this rank or otherwise), the subscription request must come from the publisher’s page in iTunes via a Podcast ID assigned by iTunes to the publisher. By default, the iTunes subscription link in Podtrac Player subscribes a user to the podcast without the Podcast ID.
Optional Addition to Your RSS Feed: To enable subscriptions coming from Podtrac Player to increment iTunes subscription counts, Podtrac recommends publishers include the iTunes Podcast ID in RSS feeds by adding the following tag using the format below:
channel <podtrac:itunespodcastid>123456789</podtrac: itunespodcastid>
where "123456789" is the Podcast ID assigned by iTunes

channel <podtrac:multifeedsubscribepage>
Offer Users Subscription Options for Other File Formats
Background: Some publishers choose to give audience members a choice of file formats by RSS feed for the same content: one RSS feed for Quicktime format(s), another for Flash Video, another for audio, etc. Some audience members may prefer to subscribe to an RSS feed in a file format other than the one they are playing in Podtrac Player. To provide audience members with a choice of formats, publishers may create an alternative to the Subscribe Page from Podtrac Player in which the publisher may present subscription options with different file formats for various platforms (iTunes audio RSS feed subscription link, iTunes video RSS feed subscription link, Zune audio RSS Feed subscription line, etc).
Optional Addition to Your RSS Feed: To present users with subscription options in different file formats for the same show being played, create a page with these options on your website, and then include the address for this page in your RSS feed by adding the following tag using the format below:
channel <podtrac:subscribepage>url</podtrac:subscribepage>
where "url" is the address for a page containing a list of RSS feeds for the same show in different file formats with subscription links for each


Podtrac Namespace - Optional Item Level Elements

item <podtrac:episodeimage>
Display Episode Graphics for Episode Selection in Multi-Episode Podtrac Player
Background: By default, Podtrac Player displays episode publication date and episode title name as the representations of various episodes in a multi-episode player.
Optional Addition to Your RSS Feed: If a publisher wishes to provide users with a graphic representation of each episode, the publisher may create an episode graphic to represent an episode along with the episode title in a multi-episode player.
item <podtrac:episodeimage href="url"/>
Where url is a graphic representing a specific episode

item <podtrac:streamingserver>
Support (True) Pre-Recorded Streaming
Background: Audio or video files can be played in Podtrac Player as a “buffered download” or “progressive download” or “simulated stream” using a conventional http reference for the file being played. For all such downloads as in any player, a brief buffering period occurs before the file begins to play, and the buffering length depends on the size of the file being played. To remove the buffering period for large media files and improve play start time, you may consider serving the files from a true streaming server. (Note that although many hosting companies state they offer streaming service, many of these are simulated streaming as the files are not hosted on a true streaming server. The file will be served from a streaming server if it begins with “rtmp” instead of “http.” )
Optional Addition to Your RSS Feed: To enable Podtrac Player to play a true streaming media file from a streaming server, place your media files on a streaming server, and then include the address for your files in your RSS feed by adding the following tag using the format below:
item <podtrac:stream server="rtmp://url" filename="name"/>
Where the server attribute is populated with the URL of the RTMP flash streaming server and directory in which the file resides and the filename attribute is the name of the file without a file extension

Podtrac Player with Multiple Shows: OPML Files
Podtrac Player enables you to offer multiple shows within a single instance of the player. Do this by creating an OPML file which provides links to each of the RSS feeds you want to be accessible from the player. You may copy the OPML page below, substituting the RSS feeds of your choice and the series graphics for each.
Here's an example: Netcasts from Leo Laporte

Maximizing Play Start Performance
For most podcast files, users consider a short buffering period which occurs after the user presses play in a progressive download file ("simulated streaming") player acceptable. If the buffering period for your files is longer than you'd like, below are some approaches to consider for making your files start playing faster:

1 - For large audio or video files, consider reducing the file size by adjusting the bit rate of the files and the resolution in video files.

2 - For large video files, consider creating a RSS feed that contains Flash versions of your episode files. The Podtrac Player supports plays of Quicktime files, however play start speed can be improved by developing a Flash version of your video files optimized for web based viewing. (Note that iTunes does not support Flash media files, so you need to develop a separate feed for this use case. This is extra effort of course, with the objective of wider distribution of your content via the web.)

3 - For large video files, consider creating a RSS feed that links to true streaming versions of your media files. (Note that iTunes subscription feature does not support true streaming media files, so you need to develop a separate feed for this use case.) It should be noted that streaming of lengthy files does not necessarily mean additional cost. In a progressive download environment, assuming a minimum connection time, the entire media file is transferred to the user. In a streaming environment, only the portion of the media file listened to or watched is transferred. A component of cost at many hosting providers is the amount of data transferred.

Test different approaches in your RSS feed and see what works best for you and your users.

Reports
Hosting Provider Reports
Plays of episode files through Podtrac Player are displayed as file requests through reports provided by your hosting provider.

Podtrac Measurement Reports
Podtrac provides the most widely used measurement and analysis system for audio and video podcasts and online shows. Podtrac Measurement Reports detail download activity through Podtrac Player separately. The Podtrac Measurement System is used by thousands of top podcasts and is provided at no charge to publishers.

Podtrac Player Reports
To optimize data collection and enable you to take advantage of future Podtrac Player Reports, please obtain the Podtrac Player embed code you post to your website by first logging in to your Podtrac Account and then clicking on Podtrac Player from the My Podtrac page. We will let you know when the reports are ready.