Maryland startup BitPlatter is bringing search and analytics tools to podcasts - Baltimore


Dec. 3, 2018 6:59 pm

Maryland startup BitPlatter is bringing search and analytics tools to podcasts

The company created a platform transcribes podcast episodes 24 hours a day. Now it's looking to provide "social listening."

FluidDATA tracks podcast mentions.

(Courtesy photo)

Lots of companies have access to alerts that show when they’re mentioned on websites and social media with the available search functions and mention-tracking that platforms provide.

BitPlatter built a platform that brings the search and analytics tools that proved powerful for text-based mediums to the spoken word – namely, podcasts.

Launched in 2017, the Maryland startup created FluidData, a platform that offers the ability to find specific phrases or mentions within a podcast.

Like many tech tools, it started as a data problem. Baltimore-area cofounders Steve McDaniel and Matt Adams both have backgrounds in big data and data processing. McDaniel, a former security researcher, looked at search engines, and asked himself, “What if there was a search engine where I could type in a word or phrase and it showed me every audio file that ever mentioned that?”

With Adams, he set out to build “the Google of audio.”

They built tools to scour the internet for new podcasts and download the audio files 24 hours a day. It draws from more than 200,000 feeds.

“We crawl the internet for new content, download it to our data center and run it through data processing,” said McDaniel.

Using machine learning, the platform then transcribes the audio and video files, and makes them searchable. McDaniel said the company’s technology performs the transcription itself, and can transcribe “several years’ worth” of audio in a single day, which is necessary given the growth of podcasting, McDaniel said. The system adds more than 20,000 new files a day.

With the access to transcripts it provides, the startup’s product stands out from platforms offering a search feature for a podcast someone might like based on a particular subject or category option. Rather, it allows for a targeted search for specific phrases within an individual episode.

The company also offers analytics. After generating initial revenue toward the beginning of the year, the cofounders made a new move into the “social listening” arena over the summer, in which companies and marketers apply tools to look at what’s being mentioned relative to their brand or an ad.

Adams offered the example of a podcast that reviews a product.

“People talk about their experience with brands, whether they purchased it, how the product is working for them,” he said. For the companies tracking the mentions, the idea is to provide “insight into what their potential customers are hearing,” he said.

The company offers an API that allows users to apply specific search filters to podcast transcripts. It can also provide alerts and the ability to chart mentions over a period of months.

With podcasts on the upward swing, the company believes users will seek out these tools, just as they have for social networks.

“Podcasting is a medium that’s completely exploding,” McDaniel said.

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