Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Does Podcast Always Mean iPod Listening?

Most people still equate podcast listening with the iPod. I believe this will become a growing issue for the broader content creation and distribution side of of the podcasting industry. Can we call Podcasting an industry? What do you think? Does almost 100 million links in Google for the search term "Podcasting" make this an industry yet. I think so as more and more people and companies are building businesses that include or are based on Podcasting.

The issue of the name "Podcast" that started almost two years ago with the very early podcasters that includes myself expressed great concern over the name being so linked up with the Apple iPod platform. It is a good and bad thing all at the same time. The fact is that podcasting would not be what it is today without the iPod. Yet at the same time podcasting being so linked up with the iPod will in the long run inhibit its longer term growth rate.

The core issue centers around the growth of other ways to listen to podcast content. We are starting to see more potential opportunities for the growth and innovation around podcasting get dampened by the strong connection the public at large has about podcasting being something you only do on an iPod device. While this is very good for Apple, it is creating a wall of perception that is getting in the way of helping move podcast listening to the mass market with other platforms and technologies.

The reality of today is that most people do not consume podcast content on the iPod, but from a web page. This actually is more of a webcast type of function and that more and more people think of a podcast as a certain type of content that only available on the iPod.

I am also seeing media, research firms and many others use the Podcast term so broadly to refer to listeners, podcast creators and types of content that it is getting very confusing to everyday new people that hear about podcasting.

In a response to these concerns I am also hearing rumblings in some of the podcaster email list groups talk about starting a co-op or fundraiser to put together a massive advertising campaign to promote podcasting to non-iPod platforms and on the web. The industry feels so locked into the Apple + iTunes platform that it worries them for long-term growth. The podcasters are also getting very tired of telling people that you do not need an iPod to listen to podcasts.

The podcasters and companies offering alternative listening and discovery technologies need to get together and build the other side of podcast distribution.

We are interested here at Melodeo Mobilcast as we are focused on Web and Mobile Phone distribution. Please post a comment to this post if you are in support of putting a co-op advertising buy that promotes non-iPod podcast listening.

Rob Greenlee
WebTalk Radio Podcast
Melodeo.com

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