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Show HN: Podflix – Like Netflix for Podcasts (podflix.app)
154 points by shrikar 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 126 comments

The reason why netflix became big so fast is not because of their suggestion service or categories but because they made accessible content that was otherwise not available to them at a reasonable price except from illegally obtaining it. I.e. The content versus the small monthly fee is the power.

Ratings are actually something Netflix has proven to be bad at. They even want(ed) to remove the stars system and replace it for thumbs up. In other words, suggestions, while nice, are not why it became so big.

In the podcasts land most content is free. The shows are usually already containing the category in their title or else in their tags. This means a simple search works very well in opening a series of podcasts in any category. To know if it's any good from your app would be great but again, even netflix sucks at this. Googling for reviews is still your best shot both for series as well as podcasts.

I cannot see yet what Podflix brings over using my Overcast app and simply using the search functionality. I'm already getting all the content I want in a single search and at a great price you cannot hope to beat: free.

So I guess my question is: what problem are you solving? I would have a good session thinking about this and than broadcast very clearly on your landing page what problem you solve that I have today. This can be a problem I don't even know I have right now. However, it is not availability of great podcasts at a great price. I already have that. Overcast also gives me playlist and downloading for a ride.

Hi Bastijn: 1) I think recommendation play a critical role in any customer-facing app. It's also powerful when we can start recommending episode instead of a podcast 2) The categories or topics are pretty strict on itunes. Have more subtopics will certainly make it lot easier to consume content. 3) I am also not planning on competing with any existing app. If possible I will even allow methods to subscribe using their favorite app.

I'm not denying that proper suggestions is a great service. I am questioning if it is enough to build a product around. Especially when people do not yet know they have an issue or are missing it. Netflix, Spotify, Apple music, they all share a common thing that made them great: give access to content not previously available for a fixed price. Your service doesn't. That doesn't mean there isn't a product here, it does mean you need to market your product completely different than "a netflix for podcasts". People probably feel they already can get all the podcasts they need for free so they do not easily see the value in a netflix for podcasts.

In any case I wish you all the best and hope you find good product market fit!

I think it's a bit cruel to compare multi-billion-dollar businesses with a lone guy doing his thing. None of those services started small. It's a fact that there isn't yet a good recommendation engine for podcasts out there. There are tons of clients relying on a few (relatively dumb) directories. The first service that can crack that particular nut, could easily become a lifestyle business or even get acquired. Not everything has to be a unicorn.

I'm not criticizing the current state. Sorry if it felt that way. I'm suggesting to change the communication of what the product is about and have a good thought about what is the USP of the product. This is why I said that there may be a product but the way it is brought now is not what triggers me to use it or feel I need it. Maybe suggestion is enough to build a product around, who knows, but right now I came in expecting a service like netflix and it wasn't which made me close the product after a few seconds.

The title literally suggests me to compare the product to netflix.

"what is the USP of the product"


unique selling point.


> I am also not planning on competing with any existing app.

But that's not up to you. That's up to users and the decisions they make.

Clicked through hoping to find a company that is going all out spending big on a vast array of podcast creators and content with hopes to dominate the space through sheer numbers and low subscription fees.

I think we may have differing views of what makes Netflix Netflix.

But it is laid out in titled rows like Netflix is. /s

An aside: I really wish we could find another word for "best". So tired of seeing that all over the web. Oh, and "modern" also, but at least I don't see that here.

Side note: Is the '/s' from the comment above a sarcasm directive?

If you're going to appear to change state, save state. Nifty on the fly search is nifty I suppose, but when I click through, then use back arrow, you shouldn't take me to beginning, losing all of my search results. Stop breaking the browser people. (this is as much a rant about this same pattern I've seen elsewhere as it is a knock against your site)

Slightly irrelevant but twitch.tv loses some state too if you scroll down too much in their directory page then navigate to a stream. Since their sorting algorithm compare viewer counts maybe it's undoable to fully realize proper back button UX.

Will do.

This is fixed!

Or you can just search any podcast episodes: https://www.listennotes.com

Nowadays I don’t subscribe to any podcasts. I just find interesting episodes and add to playlist — like pocket/instapaper — episode-centric, instead of podcast-centric. https://www.listennotes.com/listen/

And if you want to build an app, you can use podcast api: https://www.listennotes.com/api/

I have a thesis that the download-orientation of podcasting has held it back. Just stream, like every other medium.

The download-orientation is exactly what makes it popular for anyone without unlimited mobile data.

That said, I don’t know of any current podcast app that doesn’t handle streaming if that’s what you want.

Doubt it. Audio is tiny compared to video and many/most have virtually unlimited data.

They sort of have streaming but tend to be more oriented around "subscribing" which is unnecessary and frictiony, IMO.

Every decent podcast player lets you stream as easy as downloading. Why I don't use the streaming is that when I go through a tunnel on the train I don't want the stream to stop. Same on a plane or underground.

The only reason I listen to podcasts is because I can download them so I can listen to them without my phone/where there is no good connection.

How do you find interesting episodes? That sounds like a lot more work than finding interesting podcasts.

There are different ways. search is one of them. You can compare this with finding interesting articles to read.

For example, I want to binge listen to all podcast episodes of a person, eg kevin systrom https://lnns.co/Ut_qSy6-TwP

You can take a look at my playlist https://lnns.co/8OfbFlditV2

When you build a recommendation engine at episode level

The feature that I'm looking for in a podcast service (especially one that calls itself "Like Netflix") is ad-free content. I'd be happy to pay a monthly fee not to hear yet another ad for the same darned things over and over and over again on my favorite podcasts.

"I want to talk to you all about squarespace, I was updating my squarespace on my Bolden Branch sheets on my Casper mattress waiting for my delivery from BlueApron.com listening to my audiobook from Audible.com about to take a sh*t on my Squatty Potty" [0]

But yeah, I really hate hearing about Squarespace, Simple Contacts, RX Bar, Mac Weldon, Hello Fresh/Blue Apron, Butcherbox, Betterment, Privacy, Rocket Mortgage, and the whole lot.

[0] https://youtu.be/O1TiSy1ZWsE?t=7m26s

Agreed. I'm thoroughly conditioned not to tolerate commercials any more and when one comes on, I turn off the source. This is why I don't listen to podcasts any more. If Netflix had commercials, I'd drop my subscription yesterday.

It's not too difficult to hit the "Skip forward 15 seconds" button a few times.

It’s even easier now that the iOS podcast app lets you choose a skip duration for the forward and backward buttons— I’ve got mine set to skip 45 seconds forward and 15 back.

Yes, Overcast, at least, lets you configure your prev/next buttons and I have mine set to 15 seconds. I know based on the podcast about how many times I need to mash the next button when I hear "We are sponsored this week by...."

Its not too hard, but it is still something that I'd pay to avoid. I spend an hour or so rowing in the mornings, and hitting the skip-forward on my headphones takes me out of my rhythm.

There is Stitcher Premium[0] that does exactly this.

[0]: https://www.stitcher.com/premium

They have a caveat "Some shows record their own ads which Stitcher cannot remove". It would be nice if they marked which shows were actually ad-free. It would be even nicer if they put auto-skip markers over the "unremovable" ads. We've had that technology for TV for more than a decade (comskip.exe, MythTVs comflag, etc).

You better learn Chinese then. Podcasts is $7 bln business there, not ad-driven.

What I don't like about these "discovery" apps in general, is that they tend to show you the best of "topic x" based on some algorithm. The algorithm is usually using some type of user provided data. But they usually fail to take into account my level of knowledge about this topic. So I end up only finding good podcasts in the form "topic x for people who have no idea how x works". I want the opposite.

I built a search engine for talks (http://findlectures.com/), and one of the explicit goals was not to collect user data for privacy.

The content is selected by recommendations - e.g. someone on HN say a speaker was good, so bring in all the conferences they spoke at, then there are some filters to exclude things (e.g. terrible audio).

There are also facets to explore different ways, and my experience has been that this approach works well for researching new technology, in that I can typically find a small number of highly relevant talks on a subject I'm researching.

Hey Brujoand, I will be adding people who listened to this also listen to type of recommendations very soon.

Nice idea. Doesn't seem to work if the category has spaces in it's name though.

Works: https://podflix.app/category/Technology Doesn't work: https://podflix.app/category/Management%20&%20Marketing

Cool will look into that. Do you have any feedback on the recommendations?


Doesn't look like fixed, cos I am still seeing empty page

It seems to be case–sensitive:

    /category/Management & marketing
works, but

    /category/Management & Marketing
does not…

Congrats on the launch! After many, many years of my not being into podcasts, I recently returned, and am loving podcasts. The challenge has been both in finding a decent player/client, and discovery of podcasts. I'm most recently using Stitcher, and so far its not so bad. My favorite feature is the ability to automatically download episodes for offline listening. So...for now, i think I've got a decent player/client. On the discovery front, I sure hope your app/service begins to grow, because i think it would help in the discovery of new podcasts. Kudos and good luck to you!

Try Overcast! I use Stitcher to avoid ads on some of my favorite podcasts (Stitcher Premium feature), but using Overcast is unquestionably a better experience. More focused and intuitive interface, tons of control over downloads, and the ad-free version (ad-free app, not ad-free shows) is a very affordable $10 per year.

I honestly don't understand what people see in Overcast. It was already less feature-complete than Downcast, and now there is Pocket Casts with every feature under the sun, an android version, and a modern interface too.

All of them more or less suck at recommending/discovery, but apart from that, Pocket Casts is a clear winner for me.

That's pretty interesting. I think there are some downsides to taking the Netflix-style of discovery. I find it buries obscure content and it creates a limited view of content. It creates a bubble of specific content which has its upsides and downsides.

There are several other tools for podcast discovery. There is FluidDATA that has transcribed almost 11 million podcast episodes and it lets your search all of the episodes and channels by phrase or mention. The search page is available here: https://fluiddata.com/

Pedantically - would rename "best" to "most popular".

Also, your favicon needs to be changed from the Vue.js

Great product, best of luck

Agreed multiple people have told that. And yes the favicon change should be coming soon.

good note

Congrats of launching!

Some suggestions: Would be useful to see the descriptions for each episodes. The save feature you mentioned, as well as some basic history of which episodes I've already heard, would be great as well.

I currently use the Stitcher podcast app and my favorite features are the offline-downloads and the "play this next" button for queuing up episodes. I've payed for Stitcher premium once since I use the product daily, but did not find much value added from it - if you can find some ways to offer value beyond what the existing apps are doing, there is a market to be had, though you certainly have some tough competition from Apple, Google, Spotify & the other apps, so I wish you the best of luck!

Yes, I am planning to add the save feature. Also would love to know what you think about the recommendation aspect of it

You realize that "flix" is a synonym for "movies", right? Have you heard of a chick flick? That's why "Netflix" makes so much sense. So you're basically calling a podcasting app "pod-movies".

Flicks is also synonymous with "skip through" or "flip through" or "click".


Interesting thought but while you can listen to the podcasts on the website you still need to use a normal player to actually subscribe to it. So it's more like a account-less netflix. I'd suggest putting subscribe links in for multiple podcast players (Apple, Google, Pocketcast, Overcast). I'll take this moment to plug my favorite iOS podcast player: Overcast [0]. Don't let the website throw you off, the app is where it's at and Marco just released Overcast 5 alongside iOS 12.

[0] https://overcast.fm/

Hi Josh, I will be adding a feature to login, save your favorite podcasts as well as start generating recommendations like Netflix / Amazon. Mainly like people who like this also like this other podcast.

Also, there is RSS feed link if you go to the podcast page itself(RSS feed, URL, Ratings, Recommendations and episodes) Let me know if you are not able to find it.

This site doesn't work. Searched for "baseball" and one related podcast was suggested along with 2 non-related.

I searched for "film" and 3 mental health podcasts were suggested.

This service seems to promote a very odd consumption of podcasts. Most people don't have a problem finding new podcasts to listen to if they want another one to listen to. The much bigger issue they have is finding which of the previous episodes to listen to. It would be much nicer if this let you review each new episode release of a podcast and send you an email if the new episode of a podcast you were kind of interested in is highly reviewed relative to the other.

How do you source the podcasts? Do you consider YouTube interviews as podcasts? A lot of great content on YouTube is functionally equivalent to Podcasts (two people talking, interviews, etc.). I tried looking up the viral interview where Joe Rogan interviews Elon Musk (searched "joe rogan" and "elon musk" separately to increase my chances) and nothing came up in your search engine.

Not looking at youtube. But if that something people want I can look into adding that as well. Currently there are crawled on itunes, spotify and soundcloud.

Might be interesting to do; lots of stuff on YouTube (even though it has video) make for wonderful podcasts. Even if you project out the video content, they're still worth listening to. Not sure if they make it easy to distinguish between videos where the video part matters.

It looks like you don't have 'The Joe Rogan Experience' podcast either - 0 results for 'Rogan'. It's one of the most listened podcasts in the world so I think there's something wrong with your crawling.

This is pretty awesome. Is there any way to help?

By the way, it'd be nice if you could add Late Night Linux [1], esp. since you have linux luddites, which is their previous show.

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/late-night-linux/id11899...


Make a PWA webapp of this available on the Windows store, you will find a niche to fill devoid of good podcast apps. Make service workers that allow for download/offline sync and i think you will do well. Obviously put it on ios/android as well but i think you'd find a good home with your simple design on ms store. Announce your app on neowin, mspoweruser and such too.

lack of CORS headers on most podcast file stores (making cross origin fetches a black box of mystery errors) and the lack of a background audio API puts a damper on any sort of PWA podcast app currently.

Interesting that Hypercritical is listed in "Best News Podcast" even though the last episode was in 2012.

It was a great podcast but slightly mis-categorized.

These categories are currently coming from Apple. In a week or two I will be generating topic/categories based on the content. Stay tuned.

Are you only populating those specific categories because I noticed what seems to be an intentional ignoring of comedy podcasts. Almost none of the Apple's top comedy podcasts are available through search and it doesn't appear to be divided by network. For example, there are plenty of NPR podcasts listed but Wait Wait Don't Tell Me isn't on there.

It is fine if you are planning on sticking to the "HN topics" type niches of tech, business, management, etc., but I am not sure I would use the Netflix comparison if you aren't aiming for a general audience.

I am planning to add more categories and topics. Stay tuned.

But I don't want another service :/

I get podcasts on Spotify or Apple Music already. Why should I open another app to get another audio form?

The lack of Categories beyond whats on the main page is the big issue I have. I want to find podcasts for my kids and there is no way to do that other than search - but that returns mostly adult podcasts ('how to talk to your kid about x', 'financial planning for expectant parents' kind of stuff)

That said, I'll check back later in the hopes that this improves over time.

A great start!

Hi Donohoe, If you click on any podcasts you can see a bunch of tags. Those are all clickable categories. If you provide me an email I can email you once I add kids related topics

So I have a small content producing company and have three podcasts that I host and track user interactions. Create a lightweight curl (possibly oath) API that lets my server send your server real-time play information and stream refresh info. You will get better data that way, it’s like a Facebook pixel or whatever.

Is there a reason why I can't find my podcast there? https://jeena.net/pods

It shows up in iTunes search and gPodder search too, but not on that website. I also can't seem to be able to find out how to make it find my podcast.

Can you provide me your itunes link?

I have a rss link for you https://jeena.net/pods.rss and I guess this would be the iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/jeenas-excellent-encount...

one big flaw. The first page thumbnails do not re-appear with a summary text when I click View More. It seems like the View More view shows podcasts there were not amongst the first page's thumnails. What if I want to read a summary about one of those first page podcasts?

Hi Jordache, Just a quick tip all the images are clickable on the front page so you could just use that to go to the page. However, I agree it might not be a good user experience. Will fix it soon.

Good UI but feature-wise it felt underwhelming because it's pretty much what Castbox [1] has already been providing

[1] https://castbox.fm/

The search is horrible. I searched for my podcast by keyword and by name, as well as some other podcasts I listen to and none came up even related to any of the shows I was looking for.

Yeah, I searched "Ruby" - got almost a full page of results for random podcasts (perhaps they had a guest named Ruby at some point?) until I saw an actual podcast about Ruby.

"Docker" - 1 result, about a personal brand podcast

From a quick inspect, looks to be just a SPA sending all search through Algolia, as opposed to a search geared toward podcasts specifically. (my understanding is that you can customize the indexes setup in Algolia, but with podcasts, I assume the naive approach is to just throw all the RSS text at it and assume that's adequate)

Probably what you were looking for https://podflix.app/category/Web ?

Not really. That's too broad of a category.

Also access Podflix podcasts by voice command: https://is.gd/PodcastByVoice

I have a strong appreciation for these types of uber simple designs

I've never used Netflix, so I've no idea what the comparison means. I'm assuming there isn't a subscription fee to access free podcasts, though.

to be the netflix of podcasts the selection surprisingly lacks any fiction podcasts.

i wouldn't sign up to netflix for news but for movies and tv series, and likewise i expected podflix to give me audio books and audio dramas.

for fiction podcasts it is also crucial to keep already released content available (again, like netflix does).

i don't care much about rating, but i'd love decent categorizations that make finding content easier.

greetings, eMBee.

em-bee I am adding different genres as we speak

what index are you using?

I can't find my favorite podcasts

Sorry guys I am indexing content slowly. If you can provide me the name of the podcast I can index immediately. Also, will be providing feature to submit podcasts on the site

I'm kinda surprised not to find the Accidental Tech Podcast in the Tech section.

That was what I looked for first as well and was surprised to see so much Twit garbage (really guys, your ad reads are HELLA long) above Relay.fm content.

Same for me. Of course the first thing I did was searching for my own podcast. :) Looks like I didn't list it in all the directories yet.

Sorry guys I am indexing content slowly. If you can provide me the name of the podcast I can index immediately. Also, will be providing feature to submit podcasts on the site

Personalised recommendations would be outta this world! Even if it changes my perception and make me try new podcasts :-)

Coming Soon!

I wish there was a way to navigate to weirdly specific categories and have 6+ podcasts on screen at once. Great idea!

Where does review count and rating come from? I didn't see any way of rating or adding a comment.

Currently, its being fetched from Itunes. In coming weeks I will be adding features to save/follow, add rating. Also there will be more sub-topics/genres

How does this compare to Pocketcast's Discover section? I guess being free is a big advantage.

I haven't heard of them will look into it.

Pagination seems to be broken... I can never get to page 2 of specific podcasts.

Podcast lists don't load in Safari and in Chrome -- issue for anyone else?

Is it solved or no? Do you have javascript disabled by any chance?

You should probably change the favicon from the default Vue favicon.


Doing it right now :)

what makes this netflix ish? Just that lists of lists initial UI? That is a very superficial aspect of what makes netflix netflix.

Every page comes up empty?

Terms, Privacy, Categories...

So it’s Spotify without music?

the font is awful

exponent is dead


The 'flix' in Netflix refers to 'flicks', i.e. films.... that is clearly not the case here. Surely the name should have been something more like 'NetCasts'?

So much this! "Flick" or "flicks" is a reference to the flickering that happens during old fashioned mechanical projection.

Funny though since a netcast is already another word for podcast according to Wikipedia. Netpods, anyone?

I’m voting for PodFix.

As someone else has pointed out here, though, it also stands for "flip through" ;).

It doesn't matter. anything-flix right now pretty much means 'content on demand'.

Using fake accounts to upvote things will get you banned here. Please don't do it again.

Would you mind elaborating? I didn’t upvote, just curious if it’s a faulty fraud detection..

Why do you suspect foul play here, considering the OP is claiming not to do it?

Edit: and thanks ahead of time!

I am not doing anything :(

A bunch of fake accounts upvoted the submission. I'll take your word for it that you didn't do this and mark my comment offtopic.

If you really weren't doing anything of that nature, then I'm sorry for suspecting you! Many people are trying to manipulate HN in this way, so we have to guard against it.

Is that also the reason it went from first page to 2nd?

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