Sunday, July 30, 2006

New Melodeo.com Improvements Released

We released some new upgrades and inprovements to Melodeo.com on Friday. I have been working hard to improve our podcast content catalog. The site will continue to improve, so please come by the site and check it out.

We have some very big announcements coming in August. I believe that these announcements will change the landscape and perceptions about the future of mobile phone listening of podcasts. Look out iPod and Zune here we come. Read this

Soon we will be redirecting the current Mobilcast.com and MobilcastNetwork.com domain names to Melodeo.com.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blending Effective Advertising In Quality Content

I believe in two schools of thought about podcast advertising. The first most effective podcast advertisment is one that includes the message as part of the discussion about a broader topic that is presented in a way that people will be interested in listening. It becomes a valuable exchange of value between the company and the listener. The other way is live read host mention in the content of the program.

I recently did an interview with the President/COO of a company called SightSpeed.com and it was an 18 minute conversation about the video calling industry and how SightSpeed is innovating in the marketplace. I have never recieved a penny from any interview that was directly paid for by an advertiser, but have done interviews and then at a later date the same company become an advertiser.

I have been doing candid conversations with CEO's and other spokespersons from companies for years. I know it is currently thought to be unethical to get paid to do an interview as content for a radio show. It has always been a difficult delema for show producers and hosts to produce quality content that often includes detailed discussion about products and services and not get paid for the massive promotion the is given on their behalf. Many of these companies could become advertisers on radio shows or podcasts, but do not because all of the marketing budget is going to getting free interview placement through a PR firm.

The movie industry is an example of paid product placement, it is happening in every movie these days. These product placement deals are not disclosed to the audience as paid product placement. I think the real issue is whether these detailed discussions are honest or are they just like an infomercial. We are even seeing more infomercials work hard to make these half hour commercials feel like honest content, but the only real difference is that they always say at the beginning of the infomercial that this is a is a paid placement. Most viewers do not see the first 15 seconds of the infomercial and think that the program is a legitiment piece of content.

It is getting more difficult for broadcast radio shows to get advertisers and sponsors, thus the radio stations are shifting the financial burden on too the content providers. Most broadcast radio stations charge from $100 to $2,000 dollars per hour of airtime. The show producer ownes some or most of the hour or half hour time slot.

This financial pressure makes it difficult for most content producers to make any money. All legitiment content shows and infomercials pay this amount. Podcasting does make production of a radio show much cheaper and easier. Thus the explaination for the explosion of new radio like content online.

Rob Greenlee
WebTalk Radio
http://www.webtalkradio.com

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Daily Show Talks About Net Neutrality -- Must See!

You must see this video segment from a recent "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" episode that makes fun of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who is overseeing the decisions about the "Net Neutrality" issue. Senator Stevens is quoted in saying in this segment that the Internet is a "series of tubes". This is a must see, as it will give you a very clear picture of who is leading the hair brained and stupid decisions around the Internet coming out of congress and the senate right now that could dramatically impact our access to podcasts and other streaming media on the Internet.

This link will take you to the "Rain: Radio and Internet Newsletter" for July 14th to see this video and read their comments as well.

Rob Greenlee

New WebTalk Show: Are Walled Garden Broadband Networks Coming

Show Guest Co-Host: Mitch Ratcliffe, ZDNet Rational Rants Blog

Show Topics:

- Have we seen this before and why do we need Net Neutrality.
- What is Net Neutrality
- Global Browser War Heating Up
- Podcasting State of Confusion
- RocketBoom 2.0 Launches New Host
- Ted Koppel Launches NPR Podcast

Show Hosts: Rob and Dana Greenlee
Visit Website: WebTalk Radio

Listen 45 min show from July 14, 2006:

mp3 (18MB) and Windows Stream (48K)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Nielsen//NetRatings Replies To "Podcaster" Mistake

I sent an email to my contact at Nielsen//NetRatings about the podcasting research study publish yesterday and I got this email response back from them;

"Thanks for your feedback on our use of the word "podcasters." Because this is a relatively new technology, the terms haven't all been hammered out, but your point is well-taken. We hope we made it clear that we were referring to those who dowload podcasts in the first paragraph of the release."

I am sorry, but the above given reason for the mistake is very lame. Nielsen//NetRatings has lost a lot of credibility with many in the online space from this mistake. I think they have especially lost credibility with podcasters and bloggers.

We just don't need any more potential listeners or people confused about Podcasting.

Side note; I am going to try and get a researcher from Nielsen//NetRatings on my WebTalk Radio show podcast very soon to talk about this research. We shall see if they can make any sense on the phone with me.

Rob Greenlee

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What is a Podcaster? Nielsen//NetRatings is Confusing Everyone

I was a little confused by these findings and the terminology used in this study.

Nielsen//NetRatings seems to think that listeners are podcasting or podcasters when they listen to a podcast program. I thought that podcasting is only done by podcasters or people who create content and that viewers view video podcasts and listeners listen to podcasts.

Whew... very confusing. I can only imagine the general confusion by everyday people who read this research.

See below the findings from Nielsen//NetRatings about the current podcasting adoption in the USA.

Nielsen//NetRatings announced today that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast. 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast.

These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent. To put this in perspective, though, Nielsen notes that podcasting is not nearly as popular as paying bills online, 51.6 percent, or online job hunting, 24.6 percent.

"The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences," said Michael Lanz, analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate," he continued.

Young people are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in audio or video podcasting. Web users between the ages 18 and 24 are nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, who were also more likely than the average Web user to do audio podcasting.

Video podcasters trended a little older, with 25-34 year olds indexing the highest. Web users above the age of 45 were less likely than average to engage in podcasting of either sort.


You can get the full PDF file of the study here.

Rob Greenlee

What is a Podcast? Ask a Ninja

This is a fun way of explain what a podcast is to anyone. Give it a watch

Source: Ask a Ninja Video Podcast

Rob Greenlee

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

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More Gnomedex Melodeo Launch Photos




More photo's from the Gnomedex Melodeo Launch Presentation.

Are We Talking Personalized Radio Playlists

The BBC has been debating the future of its podcasting experiment and whether it will continue podcasting in its present form. The concept of Personalized Radio Stations has come up as a possible future path for the BBC to better blend the broadcasting with the on-demand side that has been created by on-demand streaming and podcasting.

The BBC is trying to find what is next for the evolution between broadcast radio and on-demand or downloadable digital media. MyBBCRadio player is the model for BBC Personalized Radio Station concept. I believe that we are seeing the beginnings of this concept here at Melodeo with our playlist management platform.

Here is part of a post from the Alan in Belfast blog;

Podcasting has come from nowhere to be a relevant consideration for any radio producer wishing to reach the widest possible audience. But is this still radio and can this form of programming ever be more than just a nice add-on? Is it a revenue source or a valuable form of marketing, and if so what are the success stories that point to a viable future for podcasting?

Or as many broadcasters in the USA are already predicting, is podcasting the first step towards the end of traditional radio habits and the start of a more direct relationship between programme maker and listener, with a wide selection of producers supplying their stuff with the mediation of radio stations?

I think the key take away from the above is that radio broadcasters and podcasters need to be thinking about listener relationships and breaking down the seperation between broadcast radio and podcasting. I think technology will make it easier to blend the two together and empower the listener to create a "Personal Radio" experience. I think we have been moving down the path of thinking that on-demand radio like podcasting needs to be a seperate experience from regular radio listening and I just don't agree.

The recent research by Bridge Rating is showing that podcast listening actually helps drive up broadcast radio listenership. This actually tells me that all radio programming needs to be on-demand as well. Generally we are making it too hard to get to live radio broadcast programs and most do not need to be listened to live.

I have been on all the distribution sides for many years with my own radio show called WebTalk Radio. The program has been on terrestrial broadcast radio, satillite radio, webcast streamed and podcasted. I have seen it all and feel that the listener just wants to listen in as easy way as possible.

I think we are presently making things confusing for listeners. They are seeing so many media formats and ways to get to media that is expensive and hard to understand. I believe that we need to really work hard to remove those barriers. I also think that we should blend on-demand media and live audio programing on as many internet connected platforms as possible.

No one has come up with a technology platform that creates one playlist that is what I would call a "Personalized Radio Playlist" yet that combines all on-demand audio and possibly video with live radio and video programming to create a complete "Personalized Playlist" that could be injected with software intellegence that would create a great listener experience.

Melodeo has started down the path towards helping listeners create personal podcast playlists that will soon include video podcasts. We just need to start thinking about what it will take to get broadcasters to put up full length programs. I have heard many say that the content that broadcasters need to produce needs to always be different for digital online distribution and feel that is many times incorrect. Good quality content is good content and if a program is good on the air it will be most often well recieved online as well. This is especially the case as we move the on-demand online audience more mainstream. We are just making it hard to get to audio and video content right now.

We also need to put more energy behind content suggestion technologies. The key is smarter playlist management platforms that bring all content online on to one platform and gives the broadcaster the security to share all. This security part is important and some level digital rights controls will need to be inserted into this or any wide reaching content platforms. The blending in of paid subscription content will be important to creating this integrated and easy to use listening platform.

Rob Greenlee

Monday, July 03, 2006

Melodeo vs. Odeo Names

Scripting News blogger Dave Winer posted this below about the simularity between Melodeo and Odeo names;

"Melodeo looks good, but isn't its name too close to Odeo?"

Dave, yes you are correct that the names both have the word odeo included and that could trigger a quick "knee-jerk" reaction to the fact that the Odeo word is included in the Melodeo name. The fact is that the name is enough different and any association between the two is weak. The name Melodeo has been online longer then Odeo.

I think Odeo.com is great for podcasting and they have terrific technology. We just feel that the names are different enough to not create any problems for either company.

The discussion about the technology and view point on making a great listening and podcast discovery is a much more important discussion to be having. We are looking for your feedback on how we can make your podcast listening experience as good as possible.

The podcasting industry needs to focus on educating potential listeners about the advantages of listening to podcasts and to drive better discovery, user interfaces and listening technology.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Sen. John Edwards "One America" Podcast and Melodeo

Senator Edwards on "Your Mobile Phone". His podcast is on Melodeo.com and Mobilcast. What do you think of the timing on camera shutter button? It was not set-up.

It was great to see a former Democratic Vice Presidental candidate up close and personal at Gnomedex in Seattle yesterday. Former Sen. John Edwards which we had a joint press announcement with a few days ago... read annoucement.

The announcement came about from a phone call that I got from a person on Senator Edwards podcasting team that they would like to work with us to distribute the "One America" podcast. I quickly agreed to work with them as we are wanting to build out our political content areas coming into the 2006 and 2008 national election cycles.

We both decided to get out an announcement about Senator Edwards podcast being available through our Melodeo Mobilcast and Melodeo.com.

We wish Senator Edwards good luck in his march towards the White House in 2008. We know he has not officially announced his campaign, but it sure looks like he will run.


Rob Greenlee

gnomedex, gnomedex06, john edwards

Melodeo at Gnomedex


The last 48 hours at Gnomedex have been very interesting and fun as I got the chance with our Exec. VP Bill Valenti to demo and present the new Melodeo.com website.

Bill and I had 10 minutes to demo the new site and mobile experience. We had no big plan to present and was done very informally. We just got up on the stage and just showed how the website works and the bigger vision of the new site. Time got away from us and we did not mention a few things like coming support for video podcasts.

We felt positive about the reception of our concept of blending mobile and web podcast listening. We also felt that the concept of making the "Best Podcast Listening Experience" possible on the web and mobile was well received by all.

The Melodeo team deserves a big thanks for all the terrific work that they put in to build this great new website. We have only begun to build this site and we have a long way to go.

The dream of podcast listening is still alive and well. See us around the world very soon as I am pulling together podcasts from countries all over the world.