One of the most frustrating things about the iPhone is that it can’t handle Flash, which has become the standard for streaming video on the web. YouTube managed to work around this by transcoding all of its videos into the H.264 format, but other video serving sites have failed to follow suit. Today Episodic, a video web publishing company, has launched a new web app that looks to solve this problem by converting Flash-based videos into a format that the iPhone can play in its native Safari browser. The service works with content uploaded to a number of different video sites, including Blip, YouTube, and Metacafe.
The site takes standard RSS feeds and scans posts for any video content, which it then converts to an iPhone-friendly format. Each blog’s converted feed can be accessed from a static URL (for example, you can check out a feed of WebbAlert at http://iphone.episodic.com/WebbAlert from your iPhone). Hypothetically, a video blogger could redirect to this static Episodic URL whenever an iPhone user visited their site.
While the video conversion seems to work well, Episodic’s app is still very limited. There’s currently no way to take a standard URL and convert that page’s content to video – you need to generate a playlist using an RSS feed. Some bloggers may also take issue with the fact that videos are now being hosted outside of their site (anyone can submit your site’s RSS feed for conversion). CEO Noam Lovinsky says that this shouldn’t be an issue, as the site is merely serving as a syndication platform, and will do everything it can to respect bloggers’ wishes.
Episodic is also hoping to help bloggers monetize their video content by offering an advertising and analytics service for streamed videos. Unfortunately there’s currently no way to authenticate who owns the videos – you could easily input an RSS feed and then start monetizing someone else’s content. Lovinsky says that the site is working on this issue, and that the company’s ultimate goal is “to help people get paid for the content they create”. In the future, the site intends to roll out a full-fledged video platform designed to help serial video creators generate professional content quickly.