CES 2008, Day 3: Podcasting
In yesterday’s article I mentioned the variety of products being offered at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Today, on a search for podcasting products, I found an inordinate number of products that start with the letters "I" and "E". There was even one company whose slogan was "For Everything E," which either means I’ve stumbled onto Sesame Street or I’m in the midst of lots of electronic products that support the iPod. Fortunately the latter was the case, as iPod docks for cars, boats, kitchens, bedrooms, and everywhere in between were on display.
Along with these undersized and overpowered answers to the 80s boombox, there were several companies with an eye on capture and delivery of podcasts.
One of the first companies I ran across was Juice Wireless, a company that’s been around for a few years and morphed itself several times. The latest incarnation, thanks to another round of funding to the tune of $6 million, led by 21Ventures, is a service called JuiceCaster that marries social networking with user-generated content that’s stored and transcoded.
The company’s website, www.juicecaster.com, allows users to manage their JuiceCaster accounts. Unlike other social networks—and perhaps because the company had attempted to compete in the social networking space early on—the idea behind JuiceCaster is to create content and upload it to one location, then share it to many locations.
Once a mobile phone is used to capture video, audio, or still image content, a user can download JuiceCaster to their mobile handset, or visit the JuiceCaster WAP site (www.juicecaster.com/wap) to upload content. The app can also be used to view and comment on other users pictures and videos, but the real power lies in what comes next.
"We receive the original content via upload," says Nick Desai, Juice Wireless’s founder and CEO, "then we transcode the content to match the specifications of Facebook, MySpace and other social network sites. Holding the original content allows us to also transcode it for new social sites that come online that might have higher video playback quality than the current sites."