What iTunes Did for Podcasts
Podcasts are a product of iTunes. iTunes made them.
Sure, podcasts were around before iTunes, but they weren't a "thing." You couldn't get your head around them. They were, what, a blog with an audio file? Internet radio? Huh? Don't get it, I'll just read the blog.
iTunes provided a high traffic aggregator for podcasts, but that didn't make them. There are lots of other agreggators, better and more flexible aggregators.
What iTunes did to make podcasts is simple:
They put them where users could find them "along the way". They integrated them into their music store, where huge numbers of users who like listening to music on their computers and portable devices were already flocking. Then they made podcasts look like music downloads that you don't have to buy, instead of like blogs you have to listen to.
They did the same thing with TV shows, and that's why iTunes is the only place that traffics in a significant number of TV downloads.
But the best example of Apple's use of the "Along the Way" distribution strategy (which I pimp all the time on this blog) is the Video iPod. Rather than introducing this new value added product at a higher price point and letting their customer choose to opt in to the technology, they simply kept the price points the same and added this device changing technology free of charge (and they threw in more drive space to boot.) So now everyone who wants to buy an iPod to listen to music gets video functionality "along the way."
We can argue all day long about the best way to distribute video content on the way, but success is success
PHOTO: The pit on Queens Blvd., though a hole in the wall. 2/27/06