Sunday, August 15, 2010

Ideal Podcast Show Length: Short vs. Long?

I do not believe that length is a big issue at all, but is something that needs to be considered and thought about. Each podcaster needs to determine what his or her goals are for the show - overall format and depth of details covered in the recording will determine the length. You will find that half of your audience will want a short show and the other half will want a long show. So you cannot meet everyones desires.

Make the show length want you think is right for you and consider the value the audience is getting from the show based on the topic focus and segments. Do be concise, but have fun and give some of your personality over time as that creates a deeper personal connection with the audience. Over time this will create a friendship like relationship with your audience that will lead to the acceptance of longer shows. The comfort level you build over time will tend to cause your shows to get longer naturally anyway, unless you are rigid about it.

Always ask for audience participation and talk about emails or tweets they send you. Always think about what value you are offering and is it fun conversation, news or useful tips. All of these have various degrees of value based are your knowedge and talents. Most of all make a show that won't burn you out to do every week as it is common for podcasters to start a new show and podfade after 6-10 episodes then stop.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

What is Zune? So Misunderstood by Journalists

I keep hearing journalists write about Zune all the time and say that it is DEAD (see this example article in PC World). It is very frustrating because they are factually wrong as many writer or journalists don't know much about the things they write about these days.

Zune is far from dead as it is becoming THE entertainment platform for all of Microsoft properties (except for MSN). It is in Xbox, Win Phone 7, KIN phones, Win 7 Media Center, Win 7 PC Zune Marketplace media player software and now United Airlines. This fact should be obvious to anyone who is paying attention to the online media space, but many journalist now are lazy and don't do proper research before writing a story.

Many in the media just refer to Zune in connection to just the Zune media player hardware devices and it is so much more than that today.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Present and Future of Podcasting

Podcasting is becoming mature after almost 7 years now and it is starting to be taken for granted - not unlike broadcast radio or TV. It is interesting as awareness of podcasts still have not quite reached half of the online user base, yet podcasting still feels mature in many ways. I also know that it is clearly early days for podcasting and it needs to evolve.

The days of podcasting hype in the media are clearly over. It must be the fact that it is not as new now and online social media activities are dominating the attention cycles now. I have been working on platform distribution (Melodeo Mobilcast and Microsoft Zune) of podcast media content for almost 5 years. It is amazing that I have been able to build a 5 year professional career on podcasting. I am continuing to see podcast content growth and much podfading as well. Podfading is a common life-span issue as many podcasts start and then slowly or abruptly stop producing new episodes or just shut down entirely. Yet, the new ones contine to come in to fill those faded.

It is unclear about the growth in audience for podcasts in the absence of significant online and traditional media buzz. We still seem to have much confusion about what a podcast is still with a large portion of the online population. I believe that one significant trend that is hindering the growth of podcasting is the resurgence of online media streaming via content provider website or apps and the difficulty of getting easy access. I think that podcasts have matured on the distribution side and have leveled off. The reason for this leveling off is because new people are just not hearing about podcasts as much and the medium has already reached those that own a portable media player and have an interest in consuming audio and video content from an RSS feed. Sure, we are coming into a time when new smart phones have the ability to obtain and playback podcasts right on the handsets. This is a still rather undeveloped area, but will be getting better over the next few years. The new Windows Phone 7 devices will support Zune podcasts as part of the core mobile OS.

Yet, the future growth lies in two new areas. One is for video podcasts and that is reaching the large TV screen in the home. For video podcasts, the key to continued growth for many years to come is free and paid subscriptions that enable automatic notification of either the download of new episodes and or the availability to stream a new video episode to any device that plays video. I think requested TV and video podcast episodes should appear grouped together in my media listing on any service. Getting to my content should be as easy as going to a single page listing of all my DVR recordings in the old paradigm. This blending of DVR recordings is not unlike a possible list of subscribed and downloaded video podcasts that come in daily or weekly. These just show up in a list with my DVR recordings all on the same screen/page to offer an easy to find my media experience.

The other key growth area for podcasts is around the often forgotten area of audio podcasts, which I believe is still a very large part of podcasting and is at root where the majority of the content is today. Audio podcasts need to be easily available in the most obvious and heavily audio usage area and that is the car. Today, getting audio podcasts to play in the car is not that hard, but is a pain to do. I also think with the dangers of handling gadgets while driving, the opportunity to better integrate podcasts access, download and playback into car audio systems is key. This is another cloud-based opportunity and one that could be setup outside of the car and then the car just gets the content and plays it via 3G, 4G, LTE or even WIFI at the home.

Many still think that the name podcast is a bad and must be changed, but I think it is way past the point that it makes any sense to change the name. Far too many people know it as podcasting and we cannot go back now. The key is to evolve the platform and take the technical aspects out of the mix and get the great content easily available in the places and on the devices that makes it the easiest to find, get and consume. I think podcasting is on that track as video podcasts are part of Windows 7 Media Center and Zune podcasts on the new Windows Phone 7 and KIN devices will easily connect to car entertainment systems. Clearly, we are on the track to connecting with podcast users in better ways, but we have a ways to go in the car to make a better system for podcasts.

One last thought, we may also see audio and video podcasts being more blended in with regular download TV and Movie store experiences. This could blend the two worlds together as one day these all could just be called Video and Audio again and not really have to use special terms like podcasts to describe them. Thanks for reading.

I will soon post my thoughts on podcast monetization opportunities and issues.

Rob Greenlee
@robgreenlee

*This is not an official Microsoft statement or position, but my own personal thoughts.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two Hours on 24 Hour Podcast

Here is a link to my appearance on the 24 hour podcast Saturday, Dec 12th, 2009. We talked about Zune Video Podcast in Windows 7 Media Center experience. Give it a watch and at the end of the video you can see our cat "Si" make an appearance on this live video podcast.



Here is the second hour of my appearance on the 24 hour live video podcast. I talk about the latest in electric car technology - Tesla S, Nissan Leaf and Coda.
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3005332

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Speaking at BlogWorld


I will be attending and speaking on Promoting Podcasts through the Directories panel at the 2009 BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct 17th, 2009 at 4:15PM. The panel presenting will also include Todd Cochrane, CEO of RawVoice.com and BluBrry.com. We will be discussing the best ways get your podcast noticed in the podcast directories like Zune Podcast Marketplace, BluBrry.com, iTunes, PodcastPickle and many others.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is Friendfeed the future of Podcasting 3.0+


Twitter and Friendfeed are as Steve Rubel says, next-gen blogging platforms that are gaining ground very quickly, but these new blogging platforms could be the new way all syndicated digital media files are distributed. It seems like podcasts that integrate with these platforms could have some advantages in the long-term if these platforms become more friendly to podcasters at all levels. I can see major media companies benefiting from integrating with distribution tools that have advanced real-time audience interactivity tools built-in. Podcasting has long needed better audience participation processes and functions.

The combination of Twitters - easy participation/reach and FriendFeed type threaded conversations with embedded on-demand and live audio/video make for a very interesting media delivery, subscription and audience participation service that could be delivered directly to a broadband connection flat screen TV's or portable media players and multimedia enabled phones. I believe that this is the direction that Twitter and Friendfeed will go. This then presents an interesting opportunity for the audience to really join these shows and participate at a deeper level then ever possible. The potential is great in combination with live shows. Our TV’s of the future will have this audience integration more and this could directly impact the potential of live programs (we are seeing this develop already at places like UStream) as the audience could impact the show real-time. This does come with some dangers in the area of sponsors and filtering this feedback.

The big question is how will these platforms really take over podcasting and the easy way would be for these tools to generate a new type of real-time RSS like API connection to your preferred media player, TV or phone device that would support this new interactive type delivery platform. I think the basics are in place to start doing this, but it will take a revolution not unlike the birth of podcasting to get it off the ground and this platform will need to enable screen-level playback tracking that will help enable the generation of money for content providers in a better way then has happened with Podcasting 1.0. This platform would integrate streaming with downloading and pair those together. The other major issue is the integration of paid download-to-own pay per file digital media transactions and podcast-like subscriptions in the free and paid sides. The only answer is a combination of the two is the only model that works for everyone.

I don't think we ever achieved a podcasting 2.0 as we now need a Podcasting 3.0 and I believe this could be it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Zune Podcasting Is Alive and Thriving

The recent Zune HD announcements have been exciting and it is great to see so many others excited about it as well. The images of the device do not show "Podcasts" as a top menu item, but it is in the mix and thriving on the entire Zune platform and devices. The Podcast menu item appears when you select a podcast to be added to your collection. The new Zune HD will continue to support audio and video podcasts. Zune is commited to offering podcast content as we have 4 people working on the Zune Podcast area. We will continue to expand the podcast catalog that is also available at our Zune.net podcast area.

Update: Engadget has a nice article and set of hands-on gallery photos of the new Zune HD that shows clearly that Podcasts are indeed part of the top level navigation on the new device. Read it and see the photos.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Best Podcasts You're Not Downloading Yet

Zune has a steady flow of new podcast series coming into the Zune Podcast Directory and many really great ones never get the deserved audience attention for a variety of reasons. So, starting with this post will be a regular flow on this blog about new and cool podcasts that are the best of the best.
Here is this week’s list.
- SuperNews from Current TV is a full-episode animated video podcast makes fun of current events and online culture.
- President Obama's Weekly Address and Key Speeches – Video
- President Obama's Weekly Address and Key Speeches – Audio
- Coverville is a long-running music podcast produced/hosted by pioneering podcaster Brian Ibbott that has published almost 600 episodes.
- College Humor original videos are shockingly funny and like a box of chocolates as you never know what you are going to get with this very high quality produced viral video.
- Digg Dialog is hosted by Digg co-founder and Diggnation co-host Kevin Rose as he shows his more serious side.
- Smosh Videos are produced by YouTube stars Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. This series won a YouTube award for Best Comedy.
- Motley Fool Money podcast is your weekly dose of financial news, commentary and tips.
- NPR: Planet Money you'll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks -- all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.
- Rotten Tomatoes Show from Current TV is a fun and very well produced movie review show. So before you go to the movies this coming weekend check latest full-episode.
The links above will take you to our page for them in our Zune.net podcast directory.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Podcast Feed Submissions Accepted from Zune.net

The news that broke last week that Zune.net now has all 12 thousand podcasts available for streaming or download from the web site now. The streaming part is only available for audio podcasts at this time, but could be considered one of the largest online podcast directories online.

The real significant story that has yet to be blogged about is that podcast feeds can now be submitted through Zune.net. This is great for all those Apple Mac users who are making great podcast content and can now submit their feeds. They will also see them in the catalog and this is something that I have been working to get happen for many months at Zune.

It has been many years since a new online podcast directory has launched and is a significant development for the podcast industry.

I want to clear up any rumors about me “moving on” from Zune. It is true that I was off for many weeks, but I am back working on Zune Podcasts as a Podcast Producer that is doing the podcast community relations, editorial and promo features for the Zune software platform at Microsoft.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watch 24 Hour Podcast

Earlier today (Sat, Dec 20th), I joined Todd Cochrane of the Geek News Central podcast who is the 24 hour host of the podcast. It takes dedication to operate a 24 hours of live streaming. I want to thank Todd for inviting me to join the event this year to talk about Zune and the state of podcasting.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Zune's Top 25 Most Subscribed Podcasts for Dec '08

Here is the Top 25 Most Subscribed to Podcasts in the past week (Dec 1-7, 2008):
The big new hits for the week are Best Ads on TV, CHTV: CollegeHumor Original Videos and President-Elect podcasts. See below.
The below deep-links go to the Zune 3.1 Marketplace media player software. You can download the Zune PC desktop player here to get these FREE podcasts.
1. Best of YouTube (video)
2. FOXCAST: Family Guy (audio)
3. Best Ads on TV (video) New
4. Discovery Channel (video)
5. CHTV: CollegeHumor Original Videos (video) New
6. President-Elect Obama's Weekly Radio Address (audio) New
7. Videos from President-Elect (video) New
8. G4 Attack of the Show (video)
9. The Green Room presented by Zune (video) New
10. Happy Tree Friends (video)
11. VH1 Best Week Ever (video)
12. Break.com (video) New
13. Discovery Dirty Jobs (video)
14. Comedy Central: Standup (video)
15. Sarah Silverman Program (video) New
16. G4 Human Wrecking Balls (video) New
17. Zune Insider (video & audio)
18. HBO's Stand Up Comedy (video)
19. Strong Bad Emails (video)
20. Onion Radio News (audio)
21. Fox News Gamers Weekly (video) New
22. The Soup Video Podcast (video)
23. X-Play's Daily Video Podcast (video)
24. Dane Cook Podcast (audio)
25. G4 TV Street Fury Video Podcast (video)
If you are a podcaster with a podcast in the Zune Marketplace Directory then you can also create what we call a Zune Deep-Link that you can use to link to your podcast page in the Zune Marketplace - Media Player software. To get this link go to this page: http://social.zune.net/links/ZuneLinks.aspx and do a search for your podcast to find the deep-link for use on your website. We will give you the complete code to place this link into your HTML code on your blog or webpage.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Zune Podcast Topic Interview with Rob Greenlee at New Media Expo

Shaun Daily interviewed me at the recent New Media Expo and we talked for 30 minutes about Zune podcast support, the state of podcasting, the future and some great content that is available. To listen to the full interview click this link that will take you to the BlogTalkRadio.com website.

Economic Downturn Impacting Podcasting

It appears that the building economic troubles are starting to impact the business and content side of podcasting. The most recent sign of this is the cutbacks to we have seen this past week by Revision3. Revision3 has been a great example of a successful independent new media content producer that has rivaled the success of major media podcasters. I have also started to see cracks in some of the success of major media podcasters as well. Many of these major media podcasters are in it for the long-term, but many are still still struggling to build solid revenue around their podcasting content. Many are bullish on the future of downloadable distribution, but are having a hard time selling the platform to advertisers for two primary reasons;

1) No actual playback data from the existing major podcast distribution platforms at Apple, Creative and Microsoft Zune.

2) Content redistribution concerns.

The major media companies are also becoming more concerned about the costs of making and distributing longer form video podcasts as the costs for bandwidth and staff labor are the major concerns. They all like podcasts because it enables the networks to reach their audience when it is easier for them, especially with cable tv shows that air during the day or work time hours.

I do think that comedy shows that air late in the evening like "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show, The Late Show with Conan O'Brien Show and all the other late night talk shows should become advertiser supported podcasts so those shows would be seen more.

I am also seeing more serialized scripted dramas and comedies come to video podcasting lately. See series like the Casanovas, We need a Girlfriend and shows from the Independent Comedy Network.

Video podcasting is becoming like TIVO without the DVR and may be a sign of an important shift that is happening to broadcast TV. Video Podcasts are becoming the Future of TV.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Top 25 Podcasts in Zune Marketplace software

Everyone has switched into fall mode and that has translated into a huge jump in podcast interest in the Zune Podcast Marketplace software. This is an annual rite of passage, that summer is the time when podcast usage dips and then it comes stampeding back in the Fall and Winter. Well, this year is no exception and we have seen a 30% or more jump in new podcast subscriptions from August to September. This heightened activity around podcasts involves Zune users discovering great new podcasts in the areas of comedy, politics, money, news, tech and comedy. Current zune podcast users are also doing some significant house cleaning of podcast feeds that are just not of interest anymore. This means that Zune has seen huge increase in activity around podcast transactions over the past few weeks on the Zune Podcast platform.

Here is the Top 25 most subscribed to podcasts in the past week (Sept 21-28, 2008):

The below deep-links go to the Zune Podcast Marketplace - media player software. You can download the desktop player here to get these FREE podcast episodes from the below podcasts.

1. FOXCAST: Family Guy (audio)
2. Best of YouTube (video)
3. HBO’s Stand Up Comedy (video)
4. Zune Insider (video & audio)
5. Strong Bad Emails (video)
6. Xbox 360 Only Game Trailers (video)
7. Discovery Channel (video)
8. Discovery Dirty Jobs (video)
9. Dane Cook Podcast (audio)
10. GameTrailers.com – Xbox 360 (video)
11. Happy Tree Friends (video)
12. NBC Nightly News (video)
13. Onion News Network (video)
14. G4 Attack of the Show (video)
15. Dilbert Animated Cartoons (video)
16. Comedy Central: Standup (video)
17. Real Time with Bill Maher (audio)
18. Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil (video)
19. G4 TV X-Play’s Gaming Update (video)
20. 60 Minutes Podcast – Full Episode (audio)
21. Xbox Live’s Major Nelson Radio (audio)
22. G4 TV Around the Net (video)
23. HBO’s The Life & Times of Tim (video)
24. CNBC’s Mad Money w/Jim Cramer (video)
25. G4 TV Street Fury Video Podcast (video)

If you are a podcaster with a podcast in the Zune Marketplace Directory then you can also create what we call a Zune Deep-Link that you can use to link to your podcast page in the Zune Marketplace - Media Player software.

To get your link then go to this page: http://social.zune.net/links/ZuneLinks.aspx and do a search for your podcast to find the deep-link for use on your website. We will give you the complete code to place this link into your HTML code on your blog or webpage.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Zune Delivering Real Competition in Portable Media Player Market

The new features in the Zune 3.0 release are adding to user options to discover music in new ways. Microsoft Zune research has shown that radio is still being used by the majority of potential users to discover new music. Most people like to have help in discovering new music. The buy from FM feature rated very high in the research and would drive device and service adoption.

The perception that radio is dead is misguided and has been for years now. Many bloggers and major media back in 2004 said, that radio was dead with the invention of Podcasting and that has NOT at all happened. The same is true for music discovery from broadcast radio.

Broadcast radio is still very important (huge audience) and will continue to be so for a very long-time. These new options don’t stop users from using the Zune players as just a digital music player, Zune just takes it to an new level. If the portable media player market is going to grow then there needs to be more ways new potential users can get into the digital music game.

Many may not realize it, but still as of today the majority of people in the USA do not currently own a digital portable media player and these new Zune features are a way of pulling this huge existing radio listening market into the digital music/portable media player market. The other reason to be positive about the Zune features in 3.0 is that it is always good to have competition in this kind of market.

I just don’t see why many bloggers and major media have to keep slamming Zune, even as it continues to innovate in this evolving space. It is still very early days for digital media and portable consumption of that media. Zune does not have to follow Apple to succeed, as I believe that Zune is quickly moving into the leadership position around innovation in social networking digital media discovery, wireless sharing, sync and radio to digital e-commerce.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Podcasts Growth Steady

It is true that the podcast audience is growing slower than most expected, but it is still growing at a regular yearly clip. Mark Ramsey of the Hear 2.0 blog states that podcast audience is being held back by a variety of things that include the difficulty of finding podcasts that you would find valuable and worthy of your time and effort. I do agree, that it is tough to find podcast content that is valuable. I deal with that issue everyday in my work on the Zune Podcast content offering. I often have mixed feelings about building large catalog of podcast feeds as opposed to building a smaller catalog of the very best podcasts. I am leaning towards building a very large catalog that just has great discovery processes that include human editorial. I can really help people get to the very best content that will keep them interested in continuing to download and consume the content.

My strategy has been to included everything that has a fully functional podcast feed and content offering. The other part of my strategy is to only feature the best podcasts in my front page promotional spots. This has resulted in those podcasts doing very well on Zune. The issue is that my taste in podcast content will not always match with everyone looking through my limited selection of features every week. I try to feature a nice cross-section of great podcast content and it is driving a lot of video podcast subscriptions on the Zune platform. Zune users really love podcasts as it is FREE content and is driving large numbers of daily wired and wireless connections to the Zune Marketplace software client that holds my podcast catalog of about 6,000 podcast feeds.

I also agree that most iPod or Zune device users just don't sync up as often as we need for this industry to grow faster. I do feel strongly that the download sync process needs to get easier and more convienient. I learned this in my 2 years working on Melodeo's Mobilcast podcast to mobile phones position. This taught me that these podcast subscriptions need to live up on the internet and download sync can then happen directly to portable devices in cars, buses, trains and on airplanes. When audio and video podcasts can be gotten easily on a mobile phone or other portable device anywhere then this platform gets legs fast. What is interesting is that this could enable getting any kind of media content on the go via RSS enclosures.

The last point is that because of this lack of regular download sync is that many of the hourly and daily podcasts are just not being consumed very much on iPods and Zunes, but will see more consumption on mobile connected media player phones.

Podcasting will grow to over 60+ million users by 2012 and will have a strong advertising business driving it by then at almost a half a billion dollars.

Rob Greenlee

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wireless Sharing of Video Podcasts in Zune 2.5 Update

Here is a little known COOL new feature to the Zune Podcast support in the recent 2.5 firmware update. This feature is REVOLUTIONARY and I am surprised that it has not been blogged about before now, but you can now send video podcast episodes to other Zune devices using its built-in WiFi radio. This means that if you have found a cool episode from the Best of YouTube podcast that you can send it to a fellow Zune user and then that user can watch that episode on their device and subscribe to it all in the Zune device software. While the video podcast episode is playing - just click and hold the middle of the Zune touch pad until the subscribe screen pops up. Then click on "subscribe" and when you next sync your Zune it will add a new subscription to your "Collection" area. I think that is way cool and nothing you can do in an iPod.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Podcasting Needs To Become "Personalized Video & Radio"

What is "Personalized Radio or Video" you might be asking right now. Well, it is very simple and it is the concept of a prioritized or smart software agent created playlists. It is still too hard to manage and discover audio and video content that "You" are or will be most interested in. If we look at the success of TV and Radio it has been based on fairly limited choice and mostly high quality content choices. This limited selection has had the economics behind it to justify spending large amounts of money to market it as well.

Today, the reality is we have have almost unlimited choice of audio and video content from millions of sources. Everyone is becoming a "caster" of some form, whether it is audio bloggers to major media cable channels to you newspaper. Everyone and I mean everyone is starting to create audio and video content these days... just visit YouTube.com to see what I mean. This is starting to become a significant change for the larger and minor media companies as well and they are shifting fast to adapt, but many it will be too late. I think smaller broadcast radio stations will be hit first. I think the days of buying an hour of broadcast radio time for a lifestyle type radio show and reaching an audience is about over. Even taking that show to the Internet now is difficult. We are seeing so much noise online now and all our time to consume media content is getting spread too thin.

To the rescue is Personalized media and how that might work is to tell a software agent hooked up to your TV, on a website or your computer that will be an automated filter on content and make recommendations and suggestions (not search) to you on what you will most likely "Like" based on your past usage patterns. Sure this has some privacy issues, but it maybe the only realistic way we will be able to deal with the flood of media options we have today and in the future. We need our software to be smarter and make choices for us to save us time as I don't have time to sample millions of media choices.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Zune Springs Ahead To 2.5 Update

I have been working late tonight at Zune working on getting the new spring update to Zune users. The update included the release of NBC and MTV TV show content in the Zune Marketplace. I am a little loopy now as it has been many late nights here over the past month getting ready for this release. I have been doing the content programming of these new TV shows and podcasts.

I have also been working with NBC and MTV to get the marketing pieces and content offerings together for this launch. I think this is a big step for the Zune as it moves us into competing with iTunes directly with top quality video content.

A couple of highlights for the new release:
- Zune Cards now go to the device: listen to your friends music recommendations on-the-go.
- The social is now in the client.
- Mini-feeds keeping you up-to-date on all your friends music at Zune.net.
- Enhanced friends search.
- Reputation badges for passionate promoters of entertainment they love.
- New metadata editing tools
- Gapless playback (great for live concerts!!)
- The inclusion of NBC in our launch video partner list: get The Office, Heroes and 30 Rock here!
- An incredible line up of shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Adult Swim and Vh1
- Over 800 shows at launch in the Zune Video Store
- Integration with Windows Live Messenger

Read a Wall Street Journal article - Zune Eases Sharing To Close iPod Gap
Read Seattle PI by Todd Bishop - Microsoft adds NBC, other TV shows to Zune
Read Google News breakdown on this announcement

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Is Podcasting on the "Net Sidelines"?

Slashdot has a post drawing the conclusion that podcasting is now on the "Net Sidelines". I must say that from everything I am seeing here on the Zune team; working on podcast content and its distribution; it is alive and doing very well.

Sure podcasting may have declined in the hype of it and the techno-elite have moved on to Twittering areas now, but podcasts or downloadable portable media is still growing and doing very well. I do believe though that the technology of podcasting will eventually disappear from user view as better user interfaces make it easier to find and connect with this media on many always connected data platforms.

I am also hoping that this xml based revolution will transform and bring efficiency to the music, television and film industries around digital download distribution.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Unpodcasting of Video Podcasts

I have been seeing an interesting trend with video podcasting networks considering making their video episodes available to regular video download-to-own distribution sites that don't use RSS as the basis for the distribution to these sites. I am not going to be specific, but it is an interesting trend away from RSS distribution of these shows. This makes me wonder if RSS is just not going to cut it in the long-run for digital media distribution. I am seeing so much confusion and lack industry wide consistancy of RSS implementation, thus causing all sorts of ingestion issues. Everyone has its own RSS tags that create duplicate entries and proprietary tag needs in feeds.

Is this the first sign that podcasting is starting to dissappear into just "Video" and "Audio" again?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zune and Me at 2008 CES

I just got back from spending all last week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. I worked the show floor in the Microsoft Zune area of the larger Microsoft booth in the South Central Hall. I talked to hundreds of people who passed throught the Zune area. The show was great for the Zune, as many people really liked the design of the new device players and Zune Marketplace software.



I also talked to many content companies and podcasters at CES. They all are really excited about having an alternative podcast distribution platform.

See below as I have uploaded lots of photos and videos from my trip to CES in Las Vegas.
















Friday, November 02, 2007

Home is with the Zune


After a few months off from my gig with Melodeo Mobilcast, I am now with the Microsoft Zune team. We are about to launch podcasts on the new Zune 2 devices and I am managing that process as Podcast Programming and Marketing Lead. This position is very much like the Melodeo Mobilcast position that I recently left.

If you want to keep up with what I am doing with the Zune then click on over to my new blog called Zune Insider, which is an official Zune blog.

Here are a few recent blog posts from the blog:
We also just launched our national advertising campaign and here you can watch one of the spots. I will still post here now and then.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Podcasting is Growing Up

I would like to clarify my statements from my last post in this blog about why I think the closing of Yahoo's podcast directory is a sign of a maturing podcasting industry.

I do believe that it is an industry segment that is growing in importance as more major and indie content companies join with content RSS feeds. We are seeing the formation of industry associations (ADM) and a recent round of podcast related company closures and sales. These are clear signs that an industry is maturing and consolidating. The industry is moving beyond the initial burst of enthusiasm around podcasting. Podcasting is is still the fastest growing new medium that needs to evolve into a legitimate media delivery platform. I believe that like digital media streaming that also started with huge enthusiasm back in the late 90's, the podcasting industry hype dust is settling and I believe we are seeing this now. The weaker players always get weeded out during the beginning of the maturity phase. The truth is that Yahoo did a poor job with their directory and failed to keep improving and adapting to the needs of podcast listeners. I am glad that Yahoo decided to shut it down as it was not helping listeners or podcasters. The one bad part about Yahoo closing is the perception that podcasting as a concept is in decline, which is just not the case.

I do also believe that podcast discovery and simple one-click subscription processes is the biggest problem and opportunity for the podcast industry, iTunes has been a great start but it can be done so much better with personalization technology. I am very excited to be working with the growth of RSS based digital media syndication, as I think it will be the base for all of our personal media playlist so in all of our media players in the future.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Closing of Yahoo's Podcast Directory Is Sign Of Podcast Industry Maturity

I am not surprised Yahoo has decided to close down its podcast directory site on Oct 31,2007. It jumped on a hot trend and did not have a long-term vision. Yahoo just has to many businesses to focus on and this one just did not work for them.

I just think that any podcast directory needs to be directly linked up with an easy to subscribe process and use a portable media player or mobile smart phone player to be successful. Listeners and directories need to have a one-click to subscribe and listen process. This explains the success of iTunes + iPod solution. Any other successful platform needs to have the same equation and Yahoo just did not have this connection to a portable or mobile phone player. I do think that topic segmented web-based podcast directories can be successful, but will need to eventually be merged with a simple one-button to subscribe and listen platform for them to have long-term success. I think we will see a few more directories close down or merge with other companies.

For podcasting to reach mass adoption they need to be easily subscribed to, downloaded or streamed to a internet connected media player (iPod, Zune, iRiver), car media player, TV set-top box, gaming console and mobile phone. I saw with Mobilcast that given the option - people choose 90% of the time to on-demand stream podcasts from an internet server to mobile wireless connected phone player devices. We already see streaming on TIVO with audio podcasts and most video (TIVOCasts) podcasts downloaded, but audio will most often be streamed to player devices.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Coming Podcast and Portable Media Expo


I will be attending the Podcast & Portable Media Expo later this week and over the weekend in Ontario, California. I am looking forward to the trip and getting caught up with everything that has been going on with Podcasting over the past year and seeing many friends. It is an exciting time for portable digital media and podcasting.

I am also about to start a new chapter is my digital media career as I will be starting in a new position with Microsoft the day after the podcast expo is over. More details to come after I actually start in this new position.

It pains me to do this because I will lose so many search engine listings, but I do not want any conflict of interest. I will actually switch this website domain over to http://www.mobilecasternews.com/ on October 2nd.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Live Radio to Podcasting Comes Full Circle

I think it is very interesting that podcasting is going towards live radio at new sites like BlogTalkRadio.com. I watched a Scoble show episode with Alan Levy, CEO of BlogTalkRadio.com recently and it was like this concept was totally new online.

While I like to see this coming to life again, it is just not new and is a new as old idea. I think that seeing people getting all excited about this development is funny as it is only new to people who are new to the online radio space and don't have an understanding of the history of online radio.

The thing that is new about BlogTalkRadio.com is that it is free to have a show on the network. The earlier companies charged a fee to host a show on the network. I am sure that BlogTalkRadio.com will put these earlier companies out of business with a no fee business model.

Just visit WorldTalkRadio.com that I consulted with 4 years ago and you will see what I mean. You can also see WSRadio.com.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Podcasting Changes Could Drive Dramatic Leap Forward in 2008


Podcasting will always be linked up with the iPod from a historical perspective, but devices come and go. Just think back to the Sony Walkman, a new and better device came along and replaced it called an iPod. I believe the same thing will happen to the iPod one day a better device will be seen as cooler. I think we are already seeing that day come closer with the launch of the iPhone and other truly mobile devices with wireless connections.
We shall see if Apple can keep the iPod viable in the market as more innovation comes over the long-run. I do hope that a better device does come that becomes a wild hit as I think it would be good for all of us.
I think it would be good for the podcasting industry if the Microsoft's Zune really does become a hit as it would more split the market for podcasting and would make the term "Podcast" mean more than distribution to an iPod. Making the term "Podcast" mean a type of portable on-demand content and less associated with an iPod would be a very good thing.
I do believe that podcasters can help expand the meaning of the term podcast by doing a few simple things. We need to slightly change how we all talk about and market podcasting in our blogs and to the media. This slight change in message could make a dramatic difference as I am seeing first hand that many existing and new podcasting related companies are trying to make podcasting an easier process for the listener and viewer. I also believe that content quality and selection is getting better everyday. The coming 12 months will be a very important new phase for podcasters and podcast consumers. I think the technology of easier discovery, management and anywhere delivery will make for a dramatic leap forward in 2008.

What can we all do today to start making a difference in this area and here is my to do/wish list:

1) Make podcast RSS feed links available in addition to our iTunes links on our websites
2) Promote alternative distribution platforms to other devices as much as possible in your shows and on your site
3) Submit your podcast RSS feeds to all available aggregators, mobile platforms, podcast networks to build a true online syndicated distribution strategy
4) Make sure your site visitors can listen or watch your content easily on your website
5) Reach out and talk to mainstream media and online media folks to tell them how the meaning of Podcasting is changing to go beyond the iPod
6) On all of our blogs, feeds, graphics and websites use the terms "Portable On-Demand" in as many places as possible

Friday, August 24, 2007

Portable On-Demand Cast = Podcast


This will not be another gripe post about how bad the term podcast is to the long term growth of portable media. You will never again hear me bash it. It is here to stay and we need to make the best of the situation. I am hearing more and more private discussion about changing the meaning of the term “Podcast” away from a strong connection with the iPod and making the name mean "Portable On-Demand Cast". I think this makes a lot of sense because the name podcast is here to stay and it is more often then not understood to mean a piece of content and less to mean a type of distribution. This transition to the Portable On-Demand meaning will take time as most have been conditioned to connect the iPod with Podcasting in thinking about the medium.

I think with the coming support for podcasting on the Zune, we have an opportunity to muddy the meaning to mean something a little more open and less Apple centric.

The challenge to everyone in the podcast industry is to start talking about this rebranding concept. I think it is important to the future of a strong and diverse distribution ecosystem that users will understand better.

Podcasting today has a user understanding and communications challenge that can be addresses by all parties involved at all levels in the industry. I also think that it is important to move beyond the singular focus that many podcasters large and small have on iTunes and the iPod. We are seeing many new distribution platforms on mobile, coming Zune support of podcasting and other types of mobile and living room devices that will bring greater success to content creators.

Podcasters need to be sure they offer their podcast RSS feeds right on their websites and stop only linking over to iTunes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Only Part of Podcasting that is Dead is the Hype

Please folks don't get caught by these catchy headlines of these blog posts "Internet Radio is Dead" and "Podcasting is Dead". See a portion of the Internet Radio is Dead post below:

Podcasting is dead. Even interactive podcasting with callers. Case closed. End of discussion. For that matter, compared to video, blogging is dead.

I know some podcasters get good numbers. I think I know why that is. It has nothing to do with talent. People listen for one of two reasons. Either the podcasts are so old they started back when attracting an audience was easy, OR the people making the podcasts are already established bloggers or celebrities, so they can drive traffic to their recordings.

One of the very biggest podcasts belongs to a prominent conservative blogger, whom I will not mention, because he seems like a decent guy. It's like listening to paint dry. All he does is read aloud. The copy is bad. The stories are boring. The delivery is wooden. He has no personality. But he gets an audience, because he's already well-known. I think this is a great example of the second type of podcast I mentioned above.

I would guess that with RSS included, maybe 2000 people read my blog. I can therefore send maybe a hundred people to hear a podcast, tops. If I had 50,000 people, I could send maybe 2-3000. That seems to be how it works.

Let's get real here as hype, knee jerk and unrealistic reactions like this is what got us all to this point to begin with. Portable downloadable media and blogging usage was always going to be marginal for many years, as it takes time to grow a new medium. It was never going to replace existing radio and TV like many thought it would in the early days of the podcasting boom. I do believe that RSS based syndication and distribution of digital media will continue to grow as more and more people will prefer to get content sent to them that they have subscribed to receive, store and playback on the listener and viewers timetable. The concept is already here for many already with TIVO, DVR's and iTunes. It is all about getting content the audience wants for consuming at a later time is what this is all about. Audio podcasting will grow as it is enabled to all of our cars and on our mobile devices.


Podcasting and Blogging are not Dead, but is still in a very early stage of development. I believe that those involved in these new content distribution and consumption methods are blazing the trail for a dramatic shift that is coming to all of us. The day is coming that we will be in total control of our media and content creators will be all of us and a few of us. We will all or mostly all of us will join in on the revolution of digital media and those that engage will help succeed in this new world and those that don't will slowly loose opportunities. I do believe that you need to be smart about what you do with the time you have on this earth, but expressing your personality, creativity and smarts online will always payoff if one is credible about it. Please step back and take a deep breath and don't fall for the hype or unhype about portable downloadable on-demand media. It is real and YouTube actually confirms it for us all and is not an example that podcasting is dead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

True Broadband Mobility: N95 with US 3G and N800

I am very pleased to hear that Nokia has decided to offer US 3G (HSDPA) support in a coming new version of the Nokia N95 in September. This is big news for those of us that have ATT's unlimited internet MediaMax data plans here in the USA on our mobile phones. MediaMax costs $19.99 per month and the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is $349. It is a perfect mobility solution.
This unlocked N95 phone will give you access to 3G speeds on the N800 that would normally cost $59 per month on laptops or other PDA phone devices. This ability has been on my mind ever since I returned Cingular's 3G laptop card a few months ago, it felt crazy to pay $19.99 per month for EDGE internet access and another $59.99 for laptop 3G access. Paying $80.00 per month for mobile internet access seemed like to much to pay.
Now it is finally a real value to get mobile unlimited internet access and get 3G speed for $19.99 per month until ATT closes the loop hole down.
The only real short comings of this solution is that you cannot edit Microsoft Office documents on the N800 and the N800 could have a faster processor.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Blog Name and URL Coming


I am planning to make some changes to this blog over the next few days. The name of it will be changing slightly to Mobilecaster News at http://www.mobilecasternews.com/. I am adding the "e" back to the mobile word that will correct the mispelling from my previous name and URL.

This blog/podcast was also nominated for a Podcast Award and the winners will be given awards at the Portable Media and Podcast Expo. I will be requesting that the name of this blog be changed on the Podcast Awards website.
The blog and podcast RSS feed URL will stay the same.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

CelleCast: on-demand audio on your phone


Last night I spoke with Andrew Deal. Founder and CEO of Vancouver, Washington company CelleCast.com and they are taking an interesting approach to mobile phone audio distribution. While the concept of delivering audio content via regular phone audio signal is not new, the messaging of how they are promoting it is and is worth mentioning. They never use the word "Podcast" on their site. Go check them out as they are worth watching in this space as this company does not need to have mobile operator/carriers deals to roll the service out to the market. Andrew has also managed to recruit a very experienced broadcast radio veteran by the name of Dave Van Dyke of Bridge Rating's Research and long-time radio station owner to help him as Sr. VP Operations and Media Partnerships. I have known Dave for many years and he knows what he is doing.

This is a signal of a coming change back to pre-podcasting days -- in how companies position themselves as the hype of podcasting has faded. We are getting to a point where everyone who wants to grow a company in this area needs to reach the other 62% who do not know what a podcast is, but do know what radio and audio programs are.

You may have also noticed that this blog has changed as well to be less about "Mobile Podcasting" and more about mobile phone digital media trends and companies. You will see here less bias towards Mobilcast from this post forward as I no longer work for Melodeo. I am back to producing great digital media and online content. I am looking for my next great mobile digital media opportunity that will keep my dreams alive. Please keep me in mind if you hear of great mobile digital media opportunities and if you would like your mobile digital media company featured here then feel free to send me an email to: (rob at webtalkradio.com). My contact info is also in the right side column of this blog.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

iPhones begin Mobilecasting or is it now iPhonecasting?

Mobilcast user logs are proving to us that downloading and storage are no longer barriers to getting content on the phone with Mobilcasting. Somehow as part of this mobile podcast listening discussion we need to focus less on downloading and storage as that is an iPod and mp3 player process and is not an always connected mobile phone experience for most mobile podcast listeners today.

Now with the introduction of the iPhone, Apple or iTunes based mobile audio and video content consumption via podcasting will begin to transfer to the iPhone -"iPhonecasting" has begun. Users will not want to wait for the content to download to the iPhones flash memory. They will want to get the content on-demand via a stream as users will get frustrated with the wait.

We should even consider dropping the use of the term “Podcast” to describe it unless you are only talking about a type of content only. We should call it “Mobilecasting” or “Mobilcasting” and I hope we do not start calling it iPhonecasting. The Mobilcast java client application has been around for over a year and a half now and we have significant usage data on the question of streaming content vs. downloading content on the mobile phone. We have offered both and streaming is winning at over 95%.

The huge benefit to getting audio and soon video from RSS with media enclosure feeds on the phone is that you can always get the latest and most up to date content available in those feeds. So all of those hourly feeds become “Personalized Radio” with potential content sources from all over the world. You are basically creating your own personalized radio station on your phone with almost real time updated content. You only get what you want when you want it. I use the application everyday of the week and my consumption of audio has exploded compared to mp3 based listening like the iPod.

Apple has too many podcasters and listeners in a form of mind control with this iPod and iTunes platform. It is not the future of podcasting, because the future of podcasting is “Mobilecasting”. Give it a try and you will see what I mean.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Downtown Seattle iPhone Line Builds

Updated June 29th at 6pm PST: I just got back from the iPhone release at the Apple store in Seattle at the University Village Mall. I took photos of the 600-800 people who were waiting in line to get in at 6pm. I also got in line and within 1 hour and 10 minutes (7:10pm) was able to get into the Apple store. It was very crowded and I think they had more sales people in the store then customers at any given time. I was asked 10 times while standing in the store if I needed help. See bottom of this post to see my purchase of an iPhone.































































































































































I did PURCHASE one of the iPhones. I got the 8GB version of the iPhone for $652 dollars with sales tax. Wow -that is one expensive phone.

I know that I said in prior posts that I would not get one, but the temptation was so great. After purchasing it and diving more into the service plan changes that I would need to make and the inability to trade out AT&T sim cards on the phone with my other Nokia phones.

Unfortunately, I am going to need to either sell it or return it. I need to have a phone that will also run Mobilcast and nuTsie without me having to pay for two lines with data plans.

Fri, June 29th at 2pm PST , Many of us here at Melodeo the makers of Mobilcast and nuTsie have been visiting the Pacific Place shopping center AT&T (Cingular) store this afternoon to check on lines and demo displays for the 6pm release of the iPhone. This photo is from the same store this afternoon.

One of the guys here reported that, "There was a line of 19 people queued up out the door waiting to buy an iPhone and one very confused looking guy waiting to buy an LG Sync (he was from Ballard). The demographics appeared to be late 20’s to early 30’s and nearly all male. The AT&T rep in the store stated that there would be 24 in-store sales reps in the store tonight when the iPhone goes on sale at 6pm. On a typical Friday evening 8 or fewer reps would be working the store. We also found out that the iPhones sold in the AT&T store would NOT be activated in the store, but instead on-line from the iTunes site."

I also stopped by the store and took the above picture. They also have plenty of display space open for the window and it is empty and I also saw other displays up that did not have any iPhones in them. Melodeo is buying one of the iPhones, but I am not sure if anyone else here is getting one. If Robert Scoble and his son still lived in Seattle then he would be waiting first in line here instead. Ryan from Engadget, please add this post to your iPhone multi-city post. To read more posts from the Pacific Place line read this blog. Rob Greenlee

Possible iPhone Launch Monday with 3G in Europe (UK)

Guy Kewney of the NewsWireless.net blog is reporting that a 3G version of the iPhone is launching on Monday in Europe with Vodafone, T-Mobile of Germany, and Carphone Warehouse.

From his blog post;

"Hints of the European launch emerged yesterday when Bill Condie of the London Evening Standard tipped Vodafone to be the official carrier, which will be confirmed Monday. But Voda is just part of the picture, with Apple going for a three-pronged European strategy with carriers - again, responding to disappointment in America with the exclusive deal with AT&T/Cingular."

This is all very interesting if it is correct, because it would mean that Europe is getting a more capable iPhone in Europe before the USA gets it.

This other piece of his post has me wondering if this is really correct;

"Shipment date is still unknown, but "on course" for the year-end date predicted last October by Apple CEO Steve Jobs."

I am speculating that since the deal with Europe was done later then the deal with AT&T that it gave Apple more time to pull a better phone and carrier deal together. This European deal addresses the core two complaints about the US iPhone release. Slow data network and only one carrier/operator release.

The post also describes a possible French Telecom deal that could be in the works;

"Writer Condie quoted sources inside Credit Suisse which suggested that France Telecom was in line for a franchise. That is unlikely to be fulfilled, possibly because of Orange's insistence on "strong branding" on any handset it carries. Orange has irritated several phone makers by insisting on disabling technical and user-oriented features which didn't sit with Orange."

This news has not seem to have broken much in the USA, but it is an interesting twist to the iPhone rollout story. Keep in mind that any 3G device deployment in Europe will not work with USA 3G as it is on different radio frequencies. So you cannot buy in Europe and get 3G here with the phone, you would be back on EDGE again.

AT&T Boosts EDGE Data Speeds To Over 200K


Engadget has broken the news that it appears the AT&T has boosted its EDGE data speed to over 200K for the impending launch of the iPhone. I just ran the same mobile speed test three times on my Nokia N73 and it has shown 222K, 197K and 210K. It is my understanding that EDGE has an upper limit maximum of 473.6 kbit/s for very short transmission distance. This is very realistic that AT&T has done this in light of how badly they have been beatup in the press about its data speed with the iPhone. This is a boon for all those not buying an iPhone. This will really help with podcast and music playback with AT&T users of Mobilcast and nuTsie.
EDGE MEdiaNet Unlimited Data Plans cost $19.99 per month at AT&T. It will also be a great help with my Nokia N800 experience. If you want to test your speed on your mobile phone then type this address into your phone browser: http://www.dslreports.com/mspeed

Thursday, June 28, 2007

N800 to support Skype VOIP and IM coming in July


This is an update post to an earlier post I made about the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet device that I use to connect to the Internet through my mobile Nokia N73 phone. It enables me to get on the web anywhere with my $19.99 per month MEdiaNet Unlimited data plan through ATT (formerly Cingular).

It has leaked all over the web that Skype for the N800 will be coming in July of '07. That is in only a week or so from now. That is great news and will really make the N800 extremely useful as a VOIP and IM device. Very Cool. (photo and source from jkontherun)

Mobilcaster that doesn't Podcast, an interesting question

I have had a few readers of this blog comment that "A Mobilcaster should podcast or Mobilcast some content". Well, I do agree that it would make sense for me to do that and I still might do it.

I created a Mobilcaster RSS feed URL: http://www.mytalkradio.com/melodeo/rss/rss.xml and intended to do it on a regular basis. I even have my own studio in my office here at Melodeo that is right behind me and I still don't do it.

I also have a home studio with over $10K in audio equipment that has been the home studio base for two popular podcasts called WebTalk Radio and the Boston Legal TV Show podcast. All of my past podcasting has been with my wonderful wife Dana and we have been a team. We even got to do podcasts for CBS TV Network back in 2005.

I admit to becoming a podfader and letting down many listeners who have followed my radio shows since 1999.

I suppose that what I am about to write is a list of excuses, but these are realities that I have faced in keeping any podcasts alive. I have be very lucky for many years to have jobs that allowed me the time and energy to produce a broadcast syndicated radio show. I have also had large stretches of time when I was doing consulting work and focusing on the radio show. These stretches of consulting time have been the times when I had the time to devote to building the show and its distribution. Since starting to work at Melodeo, I have had less time and energy to battle with producing content for a variety of work, family and personal reasons that I will not bore you with.

Producing quality radio show content is very hard work and I just don't want to go down the path if I cannot produce a top quality program. I have had a very popular and financially rewarding radio show for many years and I know what it takes to do it right. I also admit to now having a clear vision on what content would actually work now. Podcasting has changed the Internet radio market beyond recognition and it is now dominated by major media companies that have the talent, resources, audio quality, marketing horsepower and time to make content that builds an audience. When I started back in 1999 it was wide open and opportunity was everywhere, but now it is so crowded and there is so much top quality content being produced that it would be very hard to rise above the noise of the Internet these days.

My position here at Melodeo Mobilcast and now nuTsie is very demanding on my time and energy. I also have a 3 hour daily commute to Seattle the eats away at my content production time and I am remodeling my house. I am building mobile phone podcast catalogs for mobile carrier/operators all over the world. I am responsible for localized language podcast catalogs in many countries around the world right now. This Mobilcast listening on mobile phones is growing and coming into a time when the phones and the wireless networks will make it possible for mobile phones to be a great way to get to podcast-like content. The iPod is old technology as seen by the excitement around the new iPhone.

You may see me run back up to the content fence again soon as I do have a new WebTalk Radio site almost completed. I don't see myself doing a Mobilcaster podcast on a regular basis, but could do a few episodes now and then. I do seem to be getting more and more pulled towards video. Look out as I have a face for radio.

Rob Greenlee