Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Future of Podcasting

Lamp Post
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
Another interesting take in the ongoing conversation about how to monetize podcasts from Steve Mays.

He writes:

"Here's what I think will happen. A few really savvy businesses or organizations will find someone that really understands podcasting and trust them enough to produce a good one for them. They might hire this person or "sponsor" an existing podcast. Over time, the podcast will develop a following. But we're talking hundreds of listeners (maybe thousands if it's REALLY good)...not hundreds of thousands or millions. How much trouble and/or expense will a company go to in oder to reach this relatively small, albeit targeted, audience?

Another possible scenerio is what I think of as the "homegrown podcast." Some guy that works at Lowe's, for example, starts doing a weekly home improvement podcast. He's pretty good at it and gets a little following. He plays it for the boss who likes what he hears and agrees to pick up the costs and buy some better recording equipment. In return for a couple of brief --non-intrusive-- mentions about this week's specials. In the Hollywood version of this story, Lowe's corporate jumps on the bandwagon."

I tend to disagree on the scale. My evidence is only anecdotal, but what isn't in this market?

First off, the number of people listening to podcasts for the first time is growing. I can't remember where I read it, so don't trust my numbers, check for yourself, but I believe that in 2005 5 million people downloaded a podcast, with that number expected to climb to 15 million in '06. If the market is growing, the opportunity to monetize is growing.

Secondly, people like listening to podcasts for the same reason they like reading blogs, NOT for the same reason they like listening to the radio. It's the personal, interactive, insider feel that makes some podcasts work. For others, it's the chance to stay current with short versions of their favorite radio show - a sampling of Penn Jillette's show or NPR's Marketplace.

And when people discover them, they work to listen to them. My sister, who has an iPod, started listening to podcasts, and soon her boyfriend, who doesn't have an mp3 player, was downloading podcasts and burning them onto cds to listen in the car.

Steve makes some great points, but I still like this breakdown for a realistic assesment of both what the prospects for monetization are, and what makes a podcast successful.


Blogger Handbag Express said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:50 PM  
Blogger Adam Elend said...

I deleted this comment because it was spam. And I instituted word verification for comments.

I will not delete or edit real comments, of course.

5:13 PM  

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