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.

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

Friday, May 19, 2006

New RantCast Show Podcast Online


Here is the latest Melodeo Mobilcast Studio produced "The RantCast Show with Bill Valenti" podcast:

Readers rants from newspapers in South Africa, Pakistan and India, about racism, religious fundamentalism, superstition, and the need for politicians to take cold showers before dallying with young ladies. (11 min 5.19.2006 - #4 show).

Listen:
Download the mp3
Subscribe at iTunes

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

Is Mobile Phone Podcast Listening Dream Alive and Well?

In early 2005, I drank the kool-aid of the dream of podcast listening on a mobile phone. The dream was very much alive in the early days of the podcasting boom with guys like Podfather Adam Curry. At the time the iPod was just the beginning of the types of devices that people will use to listen to podcasts. All the early podcasters saw the few million iPods and Play for Sure Windows based MP3 players on the market and thought that mobile phones would be the natural evolution point for podcast listening.

The dream was and is still alive in me today in 2006 and thus why I am at Melodeo Mobilcast, but it has been a struggle to keep the dream alive in many for some odd reason.

Since I have been here at Melodeo, I have been working really hard to get the Mobile Podcasting topic into panels and tech/digital media thought leader events like South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX and many other conferences. I have to admit that it has been difficult and at times hard to understand why many digital media event organizers do not share the vision of what can happen when the potential of podcast listening and creation becomes adopted by users on the coming millions of media enabled smart phones.

Even the flagship podcasting conference the 2006 Portable Media and Podcasting Expo is not discussing the topic. Is it just too early to get the deserved attention yet? I have been raising the topic with all of these event organizers and it is just surprising that the Podcast Expo is not even talking about it on any panels. I would think that podcasters want greater distribution to more listeners. I know this may sound like sour grapes, but these things need to be talked about more.

I am asking you the reader of this post to start raising the topic more in the blogs and talk about the potential of this new listening platform. Being on the inside of this growing industry, I am seeing huge announcements coming on the horizon and big movement coming very soon in the area of mobile phone listening of podcasts.

I cannot give any details, but can say that all the pieces are coming together and it will be big and global. Areas to think about are enterprise podcasting and social networking using digital media like podcasts to create connections and discussion between people.

We do realize that the mobile phones need to get even better to really enable easy use of a phone for podcast listening, but this is happening fast. New phones are coming out fast and the wireless carriers are getting more savvy to podcasting on the mobile phone. The carriers are seeing our podcast listening application as a great reason to market unlimited data or Internet access plans to subscribers.

I just hope that we start to see more brewing interest on the part of podcast listeners and at conferences over the summer.

I am sure that our competitors in this space are also making great strides and we can only hope for a healthy competitive market that helps propel interest and awareness about the great potential of mobile phone podcast listening. Check out links to Pod2Mob, Voice Indigo and Voice Genesis at the Podcasting News website page all about Mobilecasting and you can read more about it at Wikipedia.

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

Fuel Cell Powered Podcast Listening Coming To Mobile

BusinessWeek Online is reporting that Samsung has plans to build prototype mobile phones powered by fuel cells. I think this is big news as one of the big draw backs to listening to podcasts on mobile phones is that it just drains the battery really fast. It is still unclear how long a fuel cell will actually last, but the impression is that it will be a dramatic improvement in talk time and listening time.

Samsung is the world's third largest maker of wireless phones and is behind Nokia and Motorola. This fuel cell deal is an exclusive deal for Samsung to use technology from MTI MicroFuel Cells of Albany, NY. The joint development deal will only last 18 months. Samsung has committed $1 million dollars to the effort.

It is being estimated that by 2012 80 million fuel-cell cartridges will be sold and will typically cost more then existing high end battery technology today.

Side note: Gillette, which owns the Duracell batteries, is working with MTI Micro to create a retail and distribution business for disposable fuel cells.

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How Long Till Microsoft Supports Podcasting?

Paul Colligan posted a response today on his Profitable Podcasting Blog to my earlier post about Microsoft support for podcasting;

It Takes 30 Months for Microsoft To Get a Concept to Market?

In regards to my earlier posting today that Windows Media 11 now officially has nothing RSS or Podcasting, Rob Greenly posted the following:

"Everyone needs to remember that Microsoft product update cycles are very long and player 11 features have been set for 2 years now. And since Vista ain't out until 1/2007 (at the earliest), we're looking at a 30 month cycle from feature lock to release.

Really?

Please tell me this isn't the case.

I believe that we will see something from Microsoft soon that will start to address Podcasting as a type of attachment for a broader RSS support platform.

What is soon, Rob?"

I cannot say in any detail as I am under a tight NDA with Microsoft, but I can say that we will see the support for Enclosures in IE7 and Vista will have a core RSS support platform built-in. The question that we all have is how far will Microsoft dive into support for podcasting.

Questions still remain like will we need to wait till Player 12 before we see it supported in the WM Player. I think it is safe to say that player 12 will have some level of support for podcasting and it has been in planning for quite a while already. We could see many potential things happen. It is possible to see a mid-product cycle upgrade of the media player or a stand-alone application with some type of directory. We could also see it supported in Outlook or Media Center PC.

I have no idea what direction it could go as all of the above is total speculations on my part and even if I knew I still could not tell you for sure anyway.

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

Monday, May 15, 2006

Enlightened Social Networking Topic of WebTalk

Here is the information about my freshly recorded new WebTalk Radio Show for May 15, 2006 with Rob and Dana Greenlee.

Guest co-host Mitch Ratcliffe, Rational Rants ZDnet Blogger and can also be found at RatcliffeBlog.com.

Topics:
- Is Yahoo Regretting Not Buying Google,
- Older Online Users + Online Social Networks = Next Area of Online Growth
- Is Influence the most valuable currency online
- What is the Potential of Social Digital Media.

53 min.

Streaming (Windows Media 48K)
mp3 Download (56K)
Podcast RSS Feed

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

No Podcasting In Windows Media Player 11

Paul Colligan posted today on his Profitable Podcasting Blog that the new Windows Media Player 11 does not support Podcasting.

While he is correct and here is is exact post:

Windows Media 11 is "out."
Looks like I was right - no Podcasting.
But, let's admit it, is anyone surprised?
Here's my favorite part - Microsoft's "Next Generation Music Player" doesn't do RSS.


Everyone needs to keep in mind that Windows Media Player 11 features were locked down before podcasting had any real traction in the marketplace. Everyone needs to remember that Microsoft product update cycles are very long and player 11 features have been set for 2 years now. Paul, you can rest assured that Microsoft will not sit on the sidelines of this growing market forever and I believe that we will see something from Microsoft soon that will start to address Podcasting as a type of attachment for a broader RSS support platform. It will be interesting to see how it will play out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mobile Phone Uploading of User-Created Content

The Mobile Technology Weblog is reporting that YouTube.com will be supporting direct video uploads from mobile phones. This has interesting implications for a broader growth area of user created content being easily published online. It just seems like we are all quickly getting the ability to become content creators and it is just a matter of how serious we want to become about it. We also need to decide how much money we want to spend to have this ability and I wonder if we are seeing another new digital divide happening all over again.

This digital divide is between online citizens who have the mobile phone technology to be part of the growing content creation trend and to stay connected to the growing important social networks like MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn, MSN Spaces and those that do not have the money to join in on the geeky fun. The cost of these high-end mobile phones needs to come down much more, before it reaches a large audience of uploaders.

RSS Feeds need to be the way users publish content from the phone.

The growth of user and professional created audio and video podcasts is expanding very quickly right now and Melodeo Mobilcast is positioned to be an important platform for the distribution of all of this growing podcast content. We would prefer to see user created content available via an RSS feed that is auto-generated as part of this mobile phone created content, so it makes it possible for this content to be distributed more broadly then just to one site like YouTube. Melodeo Mobilcast currently only takes content into our system via RSS feeds.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dan Bricklin Gives Us His Top 10 Podcasting Sites


Halley Suitt the CEO of Top Ten Sources website and blogger at Halley Comment has put together a great group of online thought-leader experts that have selected Top 10 lists of blogs and podcasts. I met Halley at the recent 2006 South by Southwest Conference in Austin, TX. She is a great person and has the respect of the online community.

This Top Ten Sources groups together topics that you would not normally think would be covered in blogs. If you are looking for great blogs by topic interest this is the place to go. You can even find a great Top 10 tech podcast recommendation list provided by podcaster Dan Bricklin. Dan has his own podcast at Software Licensing Podcast. Dan also put together a web document about the Genre of Podcasting. It is an interesting read.

Here are some of the Top 10 List that have been created by some well known online names.

See People list below:

Stowe Boyds Top 10 Scobles Top 10 Abraham Lincoln Werner Vogels Top 10 Steve Garfields Top 10 Adam Greens Top 10 Halleys Top 10 Arianna Top 10 Eric Rices Top 10 Lane Beckers Top 10 InstaPundit Top 10 Amanda Congdons Top 10 Maryams Top 10 Wendys Top 10

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

OnHollywood Conference is Live Streaming Now



The above photo is from what is on the stage right now.

You can watch the OnHollywood event LIVE right now. Click to join it now. I am in the audience and many very cool companies are presenting and I am kicking myself that I did not get on this list to talk about Melodeo Mobilcast.



I just saw audio and video search company PodZinger present on the stage and Blinx.tv co-founder just finished presenting.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Melodeo Selected 2006 OnHollywood 100 Winner


Melodeo Mobilcast is a 2006 Winner of OnHollywood 100 Award being awarded in Hollywood, CA tomorrow evening. I will be in attendence for the whole event. AlwaysOn created this new executive summit, OnHollywood 2006 executive summit, slated for May 2–4, 2006 at the ultra-fashionable Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, California. OnHollywood 2006 is where cutting-edge technology CEOs from all over the planet converge on Hollywood and mix it up with the entertainment and media establishment.

The OnHollywood 100 is an annual power list of the top digital media and entertainment companies. The OnHollywood 100 are evaluated against the following five criteria: innovatioin, market potential, customer adoption, media buzz, and investor value creation. The list consists solely of private companies at all phases of development, from start-up to late stage. The winners of this competition will be honored at OnHollywood, featured in the Spring issue of AlwaysOn print blogozine, and profiled on http://www.alwayson-network.com/.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Podcasting Today and Tomorrow






Here is the mp3 file (52 min) from Podcasting Today and Tomorrow panel at the Podcast on the Floor event in Portland, OR. Is Podcasting for Real and Podcasting Future sessions merged to close the show. John Hartman, Rob Greenlee, Eric Rice and Jason Ruby talk about the future and legitimacy of the medium of Podcasting.