Monday, May 22, 2006

Even Podcast Industry Misunderstands Mobile Phone Podcast Listening

I was just listening to an episode of the "Podcast Brothers" podcast and was asounded by the lack of understanding about the mobile phone podcast listening space.

I am not writing this to insult anyone, but it just was glaring to me that a podcast about the business of podcasting could have such a limited understanding about this important and emerging area of the podcasting industry.

I would love to join Tim and Emile on the show sometime to talk about this mobile phone podcast listening and how Melodeo Mobilcast actually works.

It would also make sense for the show to have on a few other players in this space like Voice Indigo and Pod2Mob. Podcasters need to understand more about mobile phone podcast listening and the opportunities it presents to them.

Here is a link to the "Podcast Brothers" episode from May 12th that covers this topic.

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post about whether podcasting listening on a mobile phone dream is alive.

I am getting the impression that the education part of the podcasting industry has a huge hill to climb in helping grow awareness and understanding about Melodeo Mobilcast, Pod2Mob, Voice Indigo, Voice Genesis, MyMBN.com and generally about mobile phone podcasting. All of these companies are taking a slighly different approach to making podcasts available on mobile phones.

Here is a Mobilcast presentation that I have recently done that explain Mobilcast, here is the downloadable mp3.

The first three companies on this list have a java based software application that needs to be downloaded and installed on the mobile phone first before you can have the total experience of listening to podcasts on the mobile phone. The most common way to get the client download is to visit the companies website and send yourself a text message (SMS) with a link to the direct download. The size of the download is generally in the 200 to 400K max. Most of these companies also have WAP based access to podcasts by using a web URL as well. This is usually just an easier way to get to podcasts and download the java client application.

The last two companies have completely different ways of getting podcast content to the listener thru the mobile phone.

Here is a brief rundown on each of these companies and how their technology delivers podcasts to the mobile phone.

If you are from one of the companies below please let me know if I have fully described your service completely. Please feel free to post a better description of your service in the comments of this post, but keep it factual and descriptive. Please leave out the marketing spin and use of words like leading, easy to use and first to market.

Melodeo Mobilcast:

Mobilcast™ beta is available for download from www.mobilcast.com. Melodeo Mobilcast brings podcasts directly to a mobile phone via a java based phone software application. Listeners that have a wireless unlimited or limited Internet access plan for their mobile phone can stream their favorite shows to their phones and enjoy them now, or download them and listen later. By using the mobile phone Mobilcast eliminates the PC barrier – podcast fans no longer have to be online to download and listen to your favorite shows. Data is showing the listeners prefer streaming podcasts over downloading to the mobile phones almost 5 to 1.

This application has a podcast directory in the software on the phone that contains short-cut links to some of the best podcasts online and gives the listener the ability to do keyword searches on the phone to find any other podcasts that is available from the Mobilcast server.

It is possible for you to build your own favorite playlist of podcasts on the phone that will be with you anytime and anywhere. You do not need to download and side load to the phone as the link to the podcasts is always kept up to date with the latest episode for instant streaming access and optional downloading for later listening.

Voice Indigo:

VoiceIndigo is a free service that makes podcast digital audio content available anytime, anywhere, from any artist or publisher who chooses to distribute their works as podcasts. Voice Indigo technology helps listeners to find, filter, manage, listen and share digital audio content.

Podcasts are able to be scheduled for download to the mobile phone. The Voice Indigo phone software application needs to be downloaded to the phone then after creating an account and playlist at VoiceIndigo.com, then displays your playlists. Then it initially downloads the playlist to the phone with short sample of each podcast after login on the phone phone, then you can select the ability to have the whole episode downloaded. From what I can tell Voice Indigo does not support streaming of podcasts to the phone.

Voice Indigo is also doing some advanced things with advertising delivery around podcasting.

Pod2Mob:

Pod2Mob is also a java software application that is downloaded and installed on the phone that gives podcast listeners the ability to get podcasts streamed and downloaded to the mobile phone. Pod2Mob also has a WAP site that enables access to podcasts through a WAP browser on the phone. Pod2Mob also requires that you create an user registration that is then used on the website, phone software and WAP access. The website and the phone client also has a podcast directory for access to podcasts.

Voice Genesis:

Voice Genesis has a downloadable mobile phone application called "Vemail" that enables reading and access to text based email that can then be replied too via voice recording on the mobile phone and then sent to the email sender as a link to play the audio reply back on another PC or mobile device. Voice Genesis has enabled podcast episodes as another form of audio content that is linked too in an email received that then can be played back from any device that gets email and that includes the vemail application on the mobile phone.

MyMBN:

Mobile Broadcasting Network has been around for years and has been delivering audio content to mobile phone via stream playback at the server level through the regular voice phone connection. The listener just calls an 800 number to access the content and it starts playing via an assigned access code you enter into the phone. They have recently added podcasts to their selection of content offerings through a connection with a company called UpSnap.

One thing that I have noticed at all of these companies websites is a lack of a clear text paragraph description of exactly how their technology works that enables a potential listener or user to really understand how it works. The best one was Voice Genesis who has a flash demo that clearly showed the experience. I believe that even Melodeo Mobilcast could do a much better job of explaining to the user how podcast listening on the mobile phone really works in a clear and easy to understand demo on the website.

Rob Greenlee

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:21 AM

    Hi Rob:

    I came across this recent article that I believe supplements your post.

    Podcasting to go truly mobile: May 22, 2006 Wireless Asia
    http://www.telecomasia.net/telecomasia/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=328107

    All the best,
    -Ricardo
    http://organicallyspeaking.org/

    Holistic Conversations for a Sustainable World Who Share Your Passion for:

    * high quality organic food
    * natural, sustainable lifestyle
    * ecology
    * holistic health

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just started thinking about podcasting via mobile phones for my TravelCommons podcast. Scanning my web server logs, I began to see more hits from the Far East and quite a number of redirects from Chinese search engines such as Baidu (sp?). I also have the ClustrMap badge on my site have also seen an increasing number of Asian hits on what is admittedly a very North American-centric podcast. I've been thinking that adding mobile phone podcasting would increase my penetration in the Asian markets.

    Doing a Google search on "listening to podcasts on mobile phones", I ended up on your blog. I submitted my RSS feed to your company, Voice Indigo, and Pod2Mob. I then tried to listen to my podcast through each service on my Cingular Motorola V551. I was only successful with Voice Indigo. I'm still waiting for the SMS from your company and got a error message when I hit a link on Pod2Mob's WAP site. Even the Voice Indigo approach wasn't too elegant -- had to forward the SMS to my GMail account, then go to mobile.gmail.com so that I could click on the link. Reminds me of the pre-iTunes days of podcasting...

    Regards,
    Mark Peacock
    http://travelcommons.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Mark,

    I agree that seems way to complicated. I am having our guys check our SMS service to make sure it is working ok. Did you finally get the SMS?

    Download Mobilcast to your data connected phone by opening up the Web browser on your phone and manually enter in this address: http://zeus.melodeo.net/mc

    We are working on some big deals in Asia right now. When these deals hit they will reach a lot of podcast listeners.

    Thank you for giving us your feed and leaving a comment here.

    Rob Greenlee
    http://www.mobilcast.com
    http://www.webtalkradio.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous1:29 PM

    Here is a clarification regarding the podcasting experience for users of the Voice Genesis Vemail product.

    1. To use the service you must first download Vemail onto your phone. Instructions can be found at www.Vemail.com under download.

    2. Configure the product for use with at least one of your existing email addresses. Configuration can be accomplished most easily at www.voicegenesis.net. Click podcaster at the end of the process and select from a list of featured podcasts, or input any podcast URL.

    3. Now whenever you retrieve email using Vemail on your mobile phone, your podcasts will show up automatically in your inbox as voice email messages. You can not only listen to them, but also foward them to friends or even reply to them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous2:25 AM

    "...I have noticed at all of these companies websites is a lack of a clear text paragraph description of exactly how their technology works"

    I totally agree with you on this part!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Voice Genesis Support8:19 PM

    Here is clearer description of the Voice Genesis podcasting approach, written by Voice Genesis. Voice Genesis produces and distributes a multimodal mobile messaging product called Vemail. Once you install Vemail on your phone, you can retrieve your email and read it, and speak replies, among other things. The initial idea was that visual review and voice response is the fastest way to handle email on a cell phone. Voice Genesis then went ahead and added the Vmobcaster feature (accessible on its web site if you are a Vemail user). Vmobcaster lets you subscribe to podcasts at www.voicegenesis.net and they will show up in your Vemail inbox when you retrieve email on your cell phone. You can listen to them. Since Vemail treats these podcasts as "voice-email" you can actually reply to the podcaster, forward podcasts to frieds, or even use your phone to speak/create podcasts. More: www.Vmobcaster.com

    ReplyDelete