SpareMin Headliner turns podcast clips into shareable videos

One of the great things about podcasts is the opportunity to discuss things in-depth, without having to squeeze it all down into a 30- or 60-second sound bite. But that creates a subsequent challenge: What’s the best way to promote those longer conversations on social media?

That’s something we’ve argued about at TechCrunch, where we’ve launched several podcasts in the past year. (I’m a tiny bit biased, but I think they’re all pretty good.) And according to a recent article in Digiday, it’s an issue that a number of publishers are wrestling with.

The team at SpareMin has tackled the problem with Headliner, a browser-based product for transforming audio clips into videos. If there’s a particularly newsworthy or fun clip from your podcast, you can turn it into a promotional video in just a few seconds.

I wrote about SpareMin before, after it built an app for semi-random phone calls (which could then be used to create audio content). Co-founder Oliver Wellington said that his team created the first version of Headliner as an experiment, based on the Audiogram generator that public radio station WNYC released last year.

But publishers immediately showed interest, and Wellington said SiriusXM, Gimlet, The Tim Ferriss Show, Reid Hoffman’s Masters of Scale, the BBC, the Guardian, Comedy Central and dozens of NPR stations have all used the free tool. So now that’s where SpareMin is focusing its energies (though there are no plans to shut down the SpareMin phone call app).

Intro To SpareMin’s Headliner from SpareMin on Vimeo.

The big selling point of SpareMin is its simplicity. You upload an audio file, which it automatically transcribes (Headliner supports transcription in multiple languages, including English, Spanish and German). You can then use the Headliner editor to create a slideshow-style video, or just go with a moving waveform. Headliner can even assemble the video itself by using the transcript and pulling related photos from Getty Images.

Headliner is definitely an early product. The editor is free, it only works in Chrome and Firefox, and its main output is an MP4 video file. (Wellington said the team is working to support more browsers, and on the ability to export directly to platforms like YouTube.)

In the meantime, for those of you who didn’t make it all the way through our discussion of Netflix’s Ozark, I used Headliner to whip up this video of my podcast co-host Darrell Etherington explaining why he’s not interested in watching some of the greatest TV shows of all time.