A Blinkist graphic with the words "Fit learning into your life" with vector graphcis of a phone and headphones with Blinkist content on the phone.

Blinkist
Shortcasts

Client: Blinkist
Sector: Technology
Audience Vertical: Education & Learning
Format: Series
Services: Scripting | Full Production | Consultation

Blinkist is one of many tech start up success stories. A German learning app founded less than 10 years ago that creates text & audio explainers of key ideas from nonfiction books. With over 18 million users the company were in the process of launching a new part of their business model called “Shortcasts” and looked to Distorted for help. This took their tried and tested format of creating abridged versions of books to the world of podcasts to change how people consume them.

 

Read about how we work together below.
 

A picture of an iPhone on a tabel next to a laptop and a pot plant. The phone has the Blinkist app loaded up with their 'explore' tab open.

Objective

With over 2 million podcasts in the world and over 48 million episodes there is a lot of audio content for people to consume and whether you like a show or not sometimes a full episode can be off-putting. Step in, The Shortcast…

A Shortcast takes the key insights from a podcast episode and transforms them into a focused, compelling, delightful new audio piece around 10 minutes long.  A Shortcast is more than a summary; it’s a new piece of content derived from the original. Shortcasts recontextualize and elevate original episodes and free up the listeners time. 

At the end of 2020 Blinkist were launching this new format but needed support and a lot of it. Their plan was to release over 1000 Shortcast episodes in 2021 and needed a way to ramp up production whilst sticking to their very strict guidelines on style, tone of voice and content. 


Creative

We worked with the team at Blinkist to create a process by which we could handle a number of shows to take the production work loads off their team and into ours. This involved getting under the skin of the original podcast content and working with the original shows to create a shortlist of episodes that would work well as shortened versions. From there we’d listen through to the original content, choose salient and interesting clips that summarised the main learnings from each episode and write new scripted elements to join these clips together. The finished product would be a coherent, condensed yet very informative version of the original podcast episode. All that and keep it under 10 minutes.


 

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Outcomes

So far we’ve produced over 10% of their global Shortcast production and since Apple launched their new podcast subscription service the Blinkist Shortcast subscription has been one of the most popular on the platform with people paying a monthly fee to listen to Shortcast content. We’ve also taken a huge amount of the leg work and editorial approval away from the Blinkist team so that production processes can ramp up internally as well.

With people’s time being more precious than ever this format of condensing the main points from audio content into a more listenable experience is only going to increase. Long live The Shortcast!