Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's Confirmed: Podcasts Are Going Mobile

Wireless Asia and Mike Chapman an analyst for eMarketer is reporting in a website post that is titled "Podcasting to go truly mobile".

"Podcasting may have its roots in the iPod and other MP3 players, but by the end of this year, more people will be listening to podcasts on mobile phones rather than on iPods.

That's according to Mike Chapman, an analyst with consultancy eMarketer, who says that the rise of more feature-rich handsets will become a "driving force" in podcasting.

"In the second half of 2006, people listening to podcasts, or watching video podcasts, on cell phones will become commonplace," he told Business Week Online.

Helping things along is the availability of new apps from startups like Pod2Mobile and UpSnap that allow users of lower-tier handsets to download podcasts directly by dialing a number or sending an SMS - eliminating the need to download a podcast to a PC first, as required by iPods.

The podcast shift to mobiles also seems to be leading a general trend of growth in mobile data usage. According to an annual study by market research firm Ipsos Insight, the use of mobile devices to check email or browse the Web is outpacing even laptops in some markets like in France, the UK and Japan."

See my comments below.

While the above article is true that sending an SMS with a link to download a podcast is a way to reach lower-tier phones, it is not the best way or the most popular way users will get podcasts on mobile phones. Mobilcast is seeing far more people streaming podcast content to mobile phones and many times less people downloading podcasts.

I am also hearing that mobile data usage is going up and wireless carriers are interested in selling data plans. These are all good signs to see on the road to the fast growth of mobile podcast listening.

While I would like to believe that more people will be listening to podcasts on mobile phones then iPods by the end of 2006. It is possible that through some of our coming content deals and wireless distribution partnerships we may reach some significant user numbers? Yes, but it is hard to say whether we will actually have more listeners across all the players in this mobile podcasting industry to out pace the iPod. I think it is a good goal to set.

The piece of the post that talks the fast growth of email reading and web-browsing on mobile phones in France, UK and Japan is very interesting because my usage follows that as well. I read email and browse the web more on my unlimited data plan mobile phone then I listen to podcasts.

This strangly sounds like the same user pattern on the PC. Is the mobile phone fast becoming an extension of the PC experience as we see PC like features come to the mobile phone? Then it would follow that we will see simular podcast listening patterns on the mobile phone as we see on the PC today. The mobile phone should be an extension and mirror of the PC podcast listening experience.

Rob Greenlee
Get Melodeo Mobilcast Today and start getting your podcasts on your mobile phone.

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