Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Are Podcasters Causing Slowing Growth?

Paul Colligan's "Are Podcasters Slowing Down Podcasting’s Growth?" blog post brings up many sore issues with Podcasting.

This needed to be said.

13 Signs That Podcasters Might Be The Podcaster’s Worst Enemy:

  • Obsessing about free Podcasting services, events, training, and products while complaining that nobody wants to spend money in this space.
  • Raising panic about web streaming rates for RIAA music while claiming that Podcasting doesn’t need that top 40 crap.
  • Bragging that your show isn’t making money while shouting that “traditional media” should follow your model.
  • Preaching to the converted while snubbing noses at those who haven’t figured it out yet.
  • Spending hundreds$ on microphones while complaining about the shipping charges on “free” business cards.
  • Pounding Apple TV for not having HD while ignoring that fact that your Mom can actually use it.
  • Voting Tech Podcasts to the top of every list while assuring this medium is for everybody.
    Begging for reviews at iTunes, the Pickle, the Alley and more while assuring us that they don’t matter.
  • Promising this media is for everyone but attacking anyone who tries a different business model.
  • Claiming your work is extremely valuable but accepting CPM rates of less than Murder She Wrote reruns.
  • Pushing the Anti-DRM Gospel while freaking out if your blog content was “repurposed” anywhere.
  • Praising Skype as the ultimate interviewing platform while forgiving the fact that it simply isn’t.
  • Complaining that none of the “big boys” are in this game but failing to produce a model that the big boys might be interested in.

If you think I include every Podcast in this list, you didn’t read the list. If you find that you resemble something on this list, … I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I do generally agree with all of the points he makes about Podcasting, but it is a reflection of human emotion and contradiction. We all say and do things that can be seen as contrary to our best interest.

Everyday I feel pressure to ignore tech podcasts as many on the outside of our community don't feel that they should spend any time or effort at all on tech podcasts and early adopter tech geek types. They see tech content as too narrow and not a large potential audience.

Newer people to the podcast industry want to see podcasting become a mass media like broadcast and reach a huge audience and a mass market audience. I think many think this can be done by ignoring the early adopter audience, but I think that is a mistake. Many also think that this can be done by simply offering a more diverse and complete content offering. I know that I am splitting hairs on this one, but I think this approach is getting ahead of itself.
I think where we are today is still clearly in the early adopter semi-geek phase and that is where the growth still is. It is just slower growth for now until the technology, usability and compelling non-tech content appears. I think we are seeing this happen at NPR as they start getting into video podcasting as well. I also think mobile is a very important evolution of podcast distribution.

I know this is a little off topic, but I am working on the mobile podcasting piece with Mobilcast and it is expanding all around the world fast. I am working on content and operator deployment all over the world right now. You all would be amazed if you saw the list of operators moving to Mobilcast and Mobile Podcasting.

All I can say is that Music, Comedy, Entertainment, Tech, News, Talk Radio are the top content categories with everyone of these operators. These are the content areas that need to be grown and improved in podcasting to reach the masses. But I also feel that niche programming has a big piece as part of the growing importance of long-tail content, I am just seeing a lot of this content fade out.

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