Sonic Mountain bought the assets of Evan William's podcast directory Odeo (and then promptly renamed itself Odeo). In September, the new company bought out its chief rival, FireAnt, for about $400,000. The company planned to launch in December a public beta of its new software that merged Odeo's podcasting tools with FireAnt's desktop media player (which aggregated video blog feeds). Odeo obviously missed that date, but company COO Eric Rupert says that he expects the new Odeo "to be released for a more 'open' beta sometime at the beginning of Feb."In May of last year,
Rupert spoke to the Voice Over Times blog and indicated that the new Odeo will also include an embedded browser and will help people find, play, and store media content (audio and video podcasts).
"Its a client for subscribing to, watching and listening to podcasts which can also transcode the content and sync it with a number of portable devices including smartphones," Rupert told Voice Over Times. The ability to sync with a wide range of portable devices was always one of FireAnt's most attractive features. Judging by the screenshot (above), the new Odeo media browser is based directly on the FireAnt software. While it is hard to tell from just a screenshot, to my eyes it looks nearly identical to the last iteration of FireAnt.
The relaunch positions Odeo to compete with companies like Veoh and their VeohTV service and Mefeedia. FireAnt's player has always been very slick, and Odeo still has name recognition as one of the first podcast authorities, so combining the two in the way Odeo plans makes sense. Can Odeo make a comeback? We'll begin to find out next month.