Podcasting is no longer new, but Nic realized that it lacks one key element: images. In an attempt to fill that gap, Vizzy was launched. Today, he shares what Vizzy is and discusses notable features that make it an essential tool for podcasters.
About Nicolas Ivanov
Nicolas Ivanov is the CEO of Vizzy Studio, a cloud-based production software that allows podcasters and creatives to add images and interactivity to their podcasts. Vizzy aims to bring the visual element into podcasting to help people tell stories better.
“Vizzy launched two years ago and started with a mission, which is to bring images into podcasts. Podcasting being predominantly streaming audio, we found that there’s a missing element: images. Not necessarily to watch but images to reference that you can see on your screen.”
Nic wants to change the way how people listen to podcasts. Instead of Googling something interesting when they hear it from the podcast as the audio continues, Vizzy adds images to podcasts, so listeners can easily take screenshots and make action later.
He also wants to help podcasters earn more by using images to engage with their audience. Nic adds, “You can use the images to have a form of podcast commerce. So the things you are passionate about, you can share with your audience in a way that they’ll remember.”
What Makes Vizzy Different
When asked what makes Vizzy different from the competition, Nic says that Vizzy doesn’t have any direct competitors to date. No one is doing what Vizzy is doing, so the brand has a better chance of dominating the industry and getting people to sign up for the service.
But not having competitions also have challenges. Nic explains, “We’re also doing it first, and the first move is to educate the market. So the question is more of people, ‘Why should I do this?’ or ‘Who will look at the screen?’ and it’s difficult.”
Because people still don’t recognize the need to see pictures while listening to podcasts, Nic and his team have to do demos and show people how Vizzy works.
“In this situation, say there’s an influencer, and they’ve got a podcast. That’s pretty usual at the moment. The key moment of your podcast, we [Vizzy] allow them to chapterize, so there might be ten chapters. Intro with Jessica, and then there might be a picture of Jessica, and there might be links to your social media accounts. The next one might be something situational, like ‘I’m in Sydney, Australia,’ and there might be a picture of that. People see the opera house, and they’re like, ‘oh yes, I know where that is.'”
Using Vizzy enables podcasters to curate what their readers want to experience alongside the audio. It’s also an excellent reference tool when you’re selling a product or if you have an affiliate. With Vizzy, you can put the product’s image on the screen, and it’ll be easier for your listeners to recognize what you’re selling and refer it to others.
Nic Ivanov On Launching Vizzy, What It Does And How It Impacts Podcasting
Vizzy’s Success Stories
Suzy Chase, a content creator based in New York City, is currently on Vizzy. She has been podcasting since 2005, and her first podcast was about cookbooks. She’s on her third podcast and became one of the top categories in Apple Podcasts, thanks to Vizzy.
After her success in podcasting, she’s now producing a show called, Decorating By The Book. It’s a 30-minute podcast where she interviews authors of interior design books and talks about the elements of those books.
With Vizzy, Suzy’s podcasts become more engaging as listeners can see images about the topic discussed in every episode. Interior design is hard to explain in words but is easier when supplemented with the right images.
Nic shares, “She had incredible success with the images in her podcast because it applies so well. And she’s successfully launched a YouTube channel using Vizzy too, where she doesn’t have to edit or produce video or record any of the videos.”
Suzy’s new YouTube channel has grown significantly because of Vizzy. Her first episode had almost a hundred views in three days and had 77 subscribers after 11 days. These numbers are impressive, especially for someone with a new YouTube channel.
Vizzy has played a vital role in Suzy’s transition from podcasting to creating her own YouTube channel. Vizzy has a plethora of features that make it easier for users to make videos.
“Because she’s already a user of Vizzy, once she created her show, which you can picture as a timeline with images across that timeline, which is different chapters in what she wants to put in, we’ve given her the ability and other users to create a video with just one more click of a button. There’s another button that says ‘generate video,’ and that’s all you need to do to generate videos for YouTube or other video hosts.”
Prioritizing User Feedback
Vizzy has grown a lot since it started. From being a startup paying for everything, it now has gained enough users to make improvements based on feedback. Nic says, “There is a very exciting time when you have enough users where you can stop being the product person — AKA no longer me — and then your users become the product persons because they might have different features they find more useful than I will build.”
Vizzy prioritizes features based on the feedback it gets. Nic and his team will cross-reference the features back to the users and then incorporate them into Vizzy.
“For example, maybe someone raises something that sounds really important. Instead of waiting for everyone else to also raise it, which will take a while, we will go back to our most active users and say, ‘Hey, this new feature has been suggested, what do you think?’ and oftentimes, they will support that.”
By asking current users their opinion on certain features, it helps move the process easier. Nic and his team are also fundraising to be able to continually add newer, better features to Vizzy.
Vizzy’s Plans for Expansion and Growth
Vizzy plans to expand by fundraising and bringing more exciting features from their own backlogs and feedback from users. Nic adds, “I think compressing the amount of time it takes to podcast or to create something is going to be great for influencers who are doing it full-time.”
Nic and his team will also look into partnerships with different industry players and connect to podcasters who used Vizzy in their shows. Nic wants to engage with individuals who are popular enough to be trendsetters in different industries, so when they start using Vizzy, everyone else starts using the same.
“I think there hasn’t been anyone pushing the chapters and images as strongly as Vizzy because Apple podcasts have built it intentionally. That’s why they support this [Vizzy] because they want more chapters and use more images. And people don’t know that they have the capability to use that, so we’re out evangelizing it and helping them.”
Biggest Challenges in the future and How Vizzy will overcome them
“You never know what’s going to happen. It’s safe to say that we’re not with the current environment and the current economy. It’s unlikely that’s going to get worse, and podcasting isn’t slowing down, it’s still speeding up. Episodes are pretty steady, listeners are very steady, so podcasting is here to stay.”
And Nic is clearly stating facts. According to the annual report released by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, podcasting will be a $4 billion industry by 2024. Aside from the increase in the number of podcasts and listeners, the growth of podcasting also comes from the advances in ad tech that allow businesses to target audiences better.
As for Nic, the challenges Vizzy will face in the future are growing sustainably, the competition, and influencing other platforms to come on board. He explains how Spotify is a closed environment and likes to control everything in their own way and doesn’t play with the rest.
“It will be working with them [Spotify] and showing them the value of images, so they can actually be compliant with the rest of the system so we can allow their influencers and their podcasters to use the same tech.”
Role of Technology and AI in Vizzy
Nic acknowledges how AI has evolved ever since they started Vizzy two years ago. Today, AI can do things that were impossible in the past but admits “it’s not there yet.”
He continues to explain about the Uncanny Valley. In the tech industry, when something computer-generated has crossed the Uncanny Valley, it means that a human can’t recognize that this movie, image, or podcast wasn’t created by a human but by a machine. But for Nic, the AI today is nowhere near crossing that.
He explains further, “You can tell the images generated by AI aren’t quite real. An interview completely generated by AI sounds amazing, but it doesn’t make sense. Your brain can tell you it’s not real, so technically, we could take someone’s audio, create images and chapters, use fillers and words, but it’s not going to sound or feel human. And I don’t think listeners are going to take that.”
Vizzy was designed to give creators the ultimate control of what happens and when it happens so they can control how their listeners and users are engaging with their content.
What’s In Store For Vizzy
To make their users’ lives better, Nic and his team are currently working on new features to add to Vizzy. Besides allowing users to add images and chapters to their podcasts, Vizzy will also allow users to generate show notes with a button and create short links from URLs in the future.
“We generate the show notes with a button, which is great as they’re structured in a way where you get chapters for YouTube. We’ll also shorten long URLs with a code attached to them.”
Nic and his team want to help influencers make “one-click” clips because they aim to make things in one click. With this feature, users can cut content into shorter clips and share them on Instagram reels, TikTok, YouTube shorts, or LinkedIn.
How Vizzy will Evolve In The Future
Vizzy’s ultimate goal is for people to completely expect images in their audio and go beyond podcasting. Nic says, “We try to call it streaming audio because the podcasting lines are blurry. It doesn’t have to be podcasts or videos, we’re just calling it streaming audio. We want that to be ubiquitous for images to be there in audio. Some people are going to choose videos, and they do great at [making] videos. For the ones that can’t afford it, we’re happy to help.”
For Nic, their number one goal isn’t to be the biggest brand in the world in proving images in streaming audio but to make images in streaming audio ubiquitous. Nic shares, “We’re happy to provide our technology to others.”