Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mobile Podcasting: Will It Crash And Burn?

Some in the podcaster community are saying that mobile podcasting will crash and burn with offers like the announced Alltel Mobilcast distribution deal for $3.99 per month.

First of all, I do not believe that any of the carrier deals will crash and burn, but we are at an early stage with this distribution platform. The carriers will not do deals without revenue from it and the subscription fee is more about getting and paying for data to the phone then about paying for podcasts. We are working our hardest to keep the cost down and make these packages all you can eat plans. We have many of these carrier deals in the pipeline from all over the world. Melodeo is global in its reach and you will see that very soon.

I do agree that it is early for mass acceptance of the total value of podcasts, but that is why early on we need to push shorter form high value content from major well known media brands.

People trust the content from major media brands like NPR and CNN. We are shooting for mass market adoption on mass market phones and getting help from the major media companies to build and reach listeners. I know this is hard to swallow if you are a one person podcast operation. I totally understand from being one of you guys with WebTalk Radio. I am keeping all independent podcasters in mind with Mobilcast and I want to build our inventory from all podcasters.

Please visit and submit your feed.

My role at Melodeo is managing all podcast content and some product marketing. I am seeing high interest in music related and entertainment content. I also see in our stats interest in everything else as well. I am with you in the area of breaking down the barriers to getting people listening to podcasts, but we need to start building a business model around podcasting that extends beyond just selling mp3 players or iPods. We still believe in podcast advertising inside of podcasts, but we believe the podcaster controls that part. I believe that one day we will offer podcasters the ability to earn revenue from mobile distribution, but for now our network and the carriers need revenue from the data passing over the network. Most of these plans are unlimited and are not unlike dialup access from 10 years ago.

We all need to stay positive about the mobile opportunity and keep pushing for great content in all forms and topics. I am on the hunt for great short and longer form podcasts. I believe strongly that mobile is the platform of choice that will enable podcast to compete with Internet and broadcast radio. Our mobile phone client stats are showing stream listening over download is almost 8 stream to 1 download.

The power of mobile is "Click Here" to listen now. Download and side loading has a place, but it is small presently on the mobile phone. Video is on our roadmap and auto podcast sync between mobile and web is already built, but not promoted yet. It is already enabled in our newest java Mobilcast client. The Alltel client does not have the ability yet on BREW.

Please keep giving us feedback and comments. We need your great ideas to help us build this mobile network correctly.

My "Mobile Phone Podcast Listening Blog"

Call me if you have any questions or ideas. See you all at the PodcastExpo.

Rob Greenlee
Mobile: 253.831.5632
WebTalk Radio


  1. Anonymous7:42 AM

    I for one think you are doing an outstanding job of leadership in the podcasting industry. This new mobile service offers us all tremendous opportunity. The charge for download is more than fair.

    I don't know where we got started on the idea of everything is "free" because nothing is. People who scream for "Free" don't know why they shouldn't. We can't build a world on the idea of Free unless we're going to feed everyone for free first which we don't seem to be willing to do.

    Keep up the good work.

    Allan Hunkin,
    Owner, and operator of the SuccessTALK Channels,

  2. I think the amounts that carriers are charging for accessing podcasts is very reasonable. Considering to access a podcast through your phones browser would cost (at least in Canada) more than 25$ per mb. I pay 5$ to access podcasts, but for any other data I pay through the nose. I am not suggesting free, but people have to bring their prices more inline with reality.

    As a producer I am more interested in improving the accessibility than my bottem line right now. If people can get the content I produce on a cell phone that is great. If you either charge me to get my content out there, or insert an ad (and allow me to be distant from that ad ie begining or end not in the podcasts) then thats great as well.

    I think a natural progression of your business would be to allow content producers to pay for "push" delivery. Meaning, that I pay a fee to have you send the new content to phone subscribers as soon as I place it into a feed. Either email, or MMS.

    If I can tell an organization that people can access their content through a cell phone, people perk up. ipods are for kids, but everyone has a phone. So thank you for improving the accessibility of podcasting.