Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mobilcast: Personalized On-Demand Radio

I am taking a different approach to talking about mobile podcasting or as we like to call it around here this time “Personalized on-demand radio and podcasts straight to your mobile”.

It is almost a daily and hourly thing now that I am hearing from current podcasters, wireless carriers and tech people that I have met at places like the Microsoft MVP Summit this week in Seattle and Redmond. They all say the same thing that the word "Podcast" is just not cutting it anymore as the word for the ages in the context of the evolution of "Podcasting" into the mobile realm. Mobile is trying to reach the mass user market with podcast content and I am feeling push back at all levels on using the term "Podcast".

It is a good thing that we have positioned "Mobilcast" as an alternative name and our brand in the marketplace around this alternative distribution platform for the same content currently being delivered to the iPod.
The challenge for us now is that how do we change the topic so dramatically like Adam Curry was able to do around the iPod. I just need to spark the same energy and enthusiasim as was generated a few years back around the word "Podcast".

I was part of the discussion at that time (here, podcasting precursor, broadcast early adopter)and would like to be key to starting a new burst of energy around a new term to describe a new distribution platform that has all the same and more benefits of "Podcasting" and it is "Mobilcasting".

I spend some time this week with Paul Colligan of the Profitable Podcasting Blog. Paul was also in attendence at the Microsoft MVP Summit and we attended as a Microsoft Frontpage MVP and I attended as a Microsoft Digital Media MVP.

Paul and I talked a lot about podcasting and he made a blog post about mobile phone podcasting "Mobilcast".

Here is the meat of Paul's blog post;

"Met up with Rob Greenlee from last night. I had been to their site a few times in the past but never paid much attention as my phone (Treo 700p) wasn’t on their list.

My problem with phone-based Podcast clients is the simple fact that every phone is so different that it’s really hard to plan a strategy from the whims of companies who believe customer service is all about making it easy for me to buy ringtones. The more “generic” options (I am using the Kinoma client on my 700p) just don’t seem to be worth the effort and the really cool stuff always seems to be on the network that I’m not on.

Mobilcast is a very impressive product (how could Rob not give me a demo?). The news issue I mentioned above is fixed because it brings you the latest episode (and checks hourly) when you ask for it. He showed me an NPR news update just 55 minutes old. Nice.

But the problem is this:
The phone is a crazy little platform. With our kazillion carriers over here (and almost as many handset makers) the chances of getting everyone on the same phone (and same feature set) is only likely in the corporate rollouts."

Paul, you are correct that it is difficult to support all the phones, OS's and carriers to provide a great seamless and trouble free experience. We are doing very good at performing in these areas and support for smartphones like the Treo, Blackjack, Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices is coming soon.

I also agree that we must do a better job of communicating the benefits of podcast access through a mobile phone.
One of the biggest benefits is getting access to frequently updated hourly podcast feeds from places like NPR and CNN.
It is just not practical to get access to the many hourly and even daily podcasts via an iPod as users just don't sync their iPods that often.


  1. HI Rob, great post. I think mobilcast is a great name - but it might mean more education for the consumer. With podcasts and podcasting gaining media attention users might be confused if mobile podcasts are called mobilcasts.

    I prefer mobilcast but have been taking about mobile podcasts for some time to ensure instant understanding of the topic.

    Looking forward to talking to you next week and regards,

  2. Hi Rob,
    Thanks for letting your viewers knew about this new terminology.