Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What happened to the Podcast Industry?

I have been involved in on-demand portable downloadable digital media since 2000 when I first posted mp3 file downloads of my WebTalkGuys Radio show. The term podcasting has seen huge media attention that drove new content and listener growth in the first two years (since 2004). This massive amount of media attention inspired many new content creators, because they saw an opportunity for fame and fortune that was mainly fanned by MTV TVj Adam Curry (PodShow and Daily Source Code).

You must give Adam credit for driving the massive amount of attention to Podcasting, but was the hype overblown? I think looking back now it was very overblown and the expectations that Podcasting would kill radio now seem totally absured. Yes, when was the last time Adam Curry and podcasting was mentioned in the media? It is safe to say that the media and general podcasters burned out on Adam Curry and his podcasting hype. He even recently lost his Sirius deal to broadcast podcasts. He is seen now as a negative influence on the world of podcasting for many reasons related to his efforts to commercialize podcasting and to take credit at the expense of others on the Podcasting page at the Wikipedia.

I still have faith that on-demand portable downloadable and streamed digital media will continue to grow and develop, but it will happen at a DRM free level.

The news around Podcasting the past few months have been less then positive and have shown a real falling to earth. We have seen many commercial entities around podcasting fall to earth under the weight of open and non-commercial influences. In the news today of Audible's Wordcast (commercial DRM'd podcasting service is being shutdown and last weeks news of ODEO being sold, Loomia changing it's business model away from podcasting are signs of an industry in a less inflated market and one that is getting more real by the minute.

If you want to go back in time and read some of the discussion around commercial podcasting then start here with a post made by my WebTalk Radio co-host Mitch Ratcliffe, that fueled this later discussion. If you scroll down the page to the comments, you will see a few thoughts of mine back then.

Sure the hype is down and it is not as exciting to be involved in podcasting, but that is ok with me because I am here for the long-haul and I have seen this since it started. I still think that on-demand portable downloadable and streaming digital media is the future of all of our media consumption.

The term Podcast and iPod is an evolutionary step in the process to huge global adoption of consumption via mobile devices of all kinds.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thanks for the Mobilcast Reviews

I want to thank the many bloggers over the past few months who have taken the time to do a review post about Mobilcast and their experiences with the service. I wanted to give them some attention, Google juice and link love for their time and effort. I will be over the next week going through and posting these reviews and commenting on them.


Earlier this week, (Monday, May 21st, 2007) Ken Rutkowski, long-time host of KenRadio World Tech Roundup give Mobilcast a big endorsement on his show. You can hear it by visiting his show page and listening to the first 3-4 minutes of the show. He has a little flash player on the page to listen with. Ken has a huge following for his show and has been doing his daily show for 10 years now.

I also want to thank all those that have responded to the call for feedback and filled out our online survey about Mobilcast. If you would like to take the survey then jump on it now via this tinyurl --http://tinyurl.com/2y6g3x

The most recent blog review was from Matt Cuppa's blog sub-titled "My take on tea, technology and our environment".

Here is Matt's post about using Mobilcast from May 17, 2007;

"After registering on the website and setting up the application on my phone, it took about fifteen minutes to set up a list of “Favorites.” Using the “Search” feature gave me better results than scrolling through the limited list of pre-selected podcasts. I was very happy with the selection of available podcasts. I was able to find all of my usual shows with the exception of one.(Treehugger Radio, which is pretty hit-and-miss no matter what service you use.) There is a website component, which I have not spent much time with, that allows you to link you’re mobile “Favorites” to your account on the web.

The playback is surprisingly high quality. It won’t make you hang up your iPod, but for streaming data over a cellular network… wow! I expected the tinny sound of overly compressed audio accompanied by plenty of blips and stutters, symptoms of dropped packets. You’ll hear a stutter now and then, but for the most part it’s mp3 quality sound. The playback controls are intuitive, but if you forget how to pause your show, there is button map on screen. I really like that my phone’s volume control works within the application, and that playback continues even if I close the flip. This is great because I can pocket my phone and go. If you’re used to your iPod, it’s a bit inconvenient that you can’t rewind or fast forward, although you can skip to the next episode or pause your current episode. If you stop in the middle of an episode, even after quitting the app, starting the episode again will bring you to the point you that left off at.

Over the past few weeks, this application has made it onto my short list of essential mobile applications. I’ve come to love simple applications that focus on doing a few things very well. Mobilcast does just that. With it’s intuitive controls, large selection of available podcasts, and surprisingly good audio quality, I’m totally sold on Melodeo’s Mobilcast. Assuming your phone is supported, this is just an all-around good app to add to your mobile aresenal."

Wow, what a positive review and he covers all of the highlights of the application. While Matt is correct about many of the advantages to using Mobilcast, we realize that we can always improve the experience. He is correct about the blips and stutters in the playback as we must use the carrier data networks and they do have dead spots in coverage and many times because of our adaptive chunking buffering of audio the application will play right through those dead areas and then when a new chunk of audio is needed then network coverage is back.
If you are using an older version of Mobilcast then you need to upgrade and get the great new audio quality that is available in our 5.1 version. All of our carrier deployments are now on the new better sounding version.
Check back again soon to see more reviews posted here. If you have a review then please post it and send me the link and I will give you some link love and Google juice for it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

More New Mobilcast Demo Video's Released on YouTube

I have posted a few new Mobilcast video demos over at YouTube.com. I hope you find them helpful in the understanding of how Mobilcast works on a Nokia N73 phone and gives you a view into how I use Mobilcast on a daily basis.

In-Car Mobile Podcast Listening with Mobilcast & Nokia N73



http://youtube.com/watch?v=WLpXjcoZWe8

I also created a video about my 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid that does also show Mobilcast, but it mainly is about how quiet the Camry is in electric mode. It is very cool and is quite the experience. I am finding that the older you get the more I value silence and the Camry delivers on that while driving and and at every stoplight.

Review: 2007 Camry Hybrid Driving in Silence



http://youtube.com/watch?v=pcHolwiIyoc

If you have used or currently use Mobilcast then please take the 5 minute and 10 question survey we now have online -- Click one of the links to take the survey now: http://tinyurl.com/2y6g3x or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=702663852744


Rob Greenlee

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nokia N75 Launches with Mobilcast support on ATT (Cingular)

The great slim looking Nokia N75 has just been released into the wild on ATT (Cingular) network and is the first high-end, UMTS 3G, Symbian S60 3rd Edition smartphone to launch on ATT's (Cingular) network. The news on the street says that these very cool looking N75 phones are selling like hotcakes. It looks like Nokia may have a hit here in the USA market with a series 60 smartphone.


The phone also features a 2 megapixel camera and music player. It has a full Web browser, Bluetooth support and memory card slot. The N75 has dual speakers for stereo music playback and with its DRM software it is compatible with a number of online music services, such as Yahoo Music. Best of all the N75 supports Mobilcast, as we have been testing on it for months now.

For ATT and Nokia to get together and offer this thin flip phone in the U.S. represents a major step forward in the two working to bring more feature-packed phones to US consumers. It is available today for $200 after rebates.

Nokia N75 - Specs Review Key Features include
- S60 3rd Edition - Triband (WCDMA 850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
- Dimensions - 95mm x 52mm x 20.2mm - Weight: 123.5g

The N75 is somewhat smaller and lighter than the N70 (95,9mm x 53mm x 21.8mm, 126g). And compared to RAZR (98 x 53 x 14 mm). Anyway, remember that the N75 is a smartphone with a lot of features that makes it thicker.

- Main screen is 2.4 inch (240 x 320 pixels) with up to 16 million colors

- Cover screen is 1.36 inches (160 x 128) with up to 262k colors

- 40 MB of internal memory with hotswap microSD support

- Bluetooth profile 2.0

- Infared (irDA)

- Video Capture up to 15 frames per second

- Digital Music Player supporting MP3, M4A, AAC, eAAC+, WMA with playlists

- FM Radio

- Dedicated Music Keys in the cover UI (user interface)

- Stereo Speakers with 3D Audio

- E-mail (SMTP, IMAP4, POP3), MMS, SMS, PIM, call management

- Email Attachements Viewing

- MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint, PDF and ZIP

- 2 megapixel (1600 x 1200 pixels) camera, intergrated flash, dedicated capture key, digital zoom

- On-device photo and video editor

Nokia N75 Camera

The camera has 2 megapixels (1600 x 1200 pixels), integrated flash and a dedicated capture key. The zoom is a digital one (not autofocus, which often is better). The phone has a on-device photo and video editor. Resolution of video is 352 x 288, 176 x 144 and it captures video up to 15 frames per second.

Comparison: The N70 has 2 megapixels and the N70 video is also 352 x 288 pixels and with the same 15 frames per second. Is this the same camera? If it´s the same camera quality is good.

Contents in sales package include:
- Nokia Stereo Headset HS-28

- Nokia Audio Adapter AD-41

- Nokia BL-5BT Battery

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mobilcast 5.1 "Hi-fi Sound Quality" upgrade is now available at AT&T and 3 UK

A few weeks ago we announced the release of Mobilcast 5.1 "Hi-fi Sound Quality" in our free beta release. This week we are making the new Mobilcast 5.1 "Hi-fi" available at AT&T (Cingular) and at 3 UK.

The upgrade is a major one as it dramatically improves the audio volume and quality of the audio experience. Mobilcast now supports AAC+ at 24k. This is a huge improvement over our Mobilcast 4.2 support for AMR at about 12K bit rate.

Existing Mobilcast users on 3 UK will be getting a software update notification when they launch the older 4.2 version to download and upgrade to 5.1.

Existing Mobilcast users on the AT&T (Cingular) network can download the upgrade by clicking on the “Options” function key in the application and request an over the air upgrade. All new user sign-ups and downloads will get the new Mobilcast 5.1.

The new Mobilcast 5.1 Hi-fi service at AT&T is compatible with phones that support AAC+ and includes Motorola Razr V3, Nokia E62, Nokia 6682, LG CU500 and the list will soon include the Samsung BlackJack.

Here is a video demo of Mobilcast 5.1 "Hi-fi":

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mobilcast User Survey - Mobile Phone Podcast Listening

I am always interested in speaking with current and past Mobilcast software users. You are a great resource for us to better understand how our software matches with your Mobilcast expectations.

I know that when you download and install Mobilcast that you have expectations about how the software will function, available content and the UI that it has.

Please take a look at this online user survey that we have pulled together that will give us some important info about your use of Mobilcast and what you think of it.

The survey is only 10 questions long and should only take about 5 minutes to complete.

This survey will be on-going and will not be taken down, so you can pass this link around to others that you know have given Mobilcast a try or are currently using Mobilcast.

Click here to take the survey

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Melodeo Mobilcast is a Red Herring Spring 2007 Top 100 Winner


It has been formally announced that Melodeo has been included in the new Red Herring Spring 2007 Top 100 technology company list. The award is being given to us today down in Monterey, California at the Red Herring Spring event that is going from May 1st thru the 3rd.

Congratulations to the team here for all the hard work with Mobilcast and some new very cool mobile products we have coming that are yet unseen.

Looking at the list it appears that Melodeo is the only mobile podcasting related or in our case Mobilecasting company on the list. I don't see any other podcasting related company. Very interesting. Why do you think that is? It could be because we are getting Mobilcast deployments with wireless operators all over the world right now.

Update 5/4/2007: Bill Valenti, VP of Melodeo accepting the award

Here is the whole list 2007 RED HERRING 100 WINNERS:

Actimagine
LifeSize Communications
AeroScout
Limelife
Agitar Software
LiveOps
Alien Technology
Mascoma Corp.
Altierre Corporation
MediNotes Corporation
athenahealth
Melodeo (Mobilcast)
Attenex Corporation
Meru Networks
Attensity Corporation
Millennial Media
Azaire Networks
MOG
Big Fish Games
Move Networks
BLADE Network Technologies
MyPublicInfo
blip.tv
Newsvine
Blogtronix
Ning
Bynari
NorthStar Systems International
Cedar Point Communications

oDesk
ClairMail
OpenPages
CoalTek
Oxy Systems
Codexis
Pactolus Communications Software
Codon Devices
Pandora Media Inc.
ConSentry Networks
Pervasis Therapeutics
CoreValve
Plateau Systems
Covergence
Plextronics
Dabble
Pulse~LINK
Dash Navigation
Purkinje Inc.
DayJet
QlikTech International AB
decentral.tv
Rearden Commerce
EchoSign
Recordant
Enclarity Inc.
Reef Point Systems
EnteroMedics
Revision3 Corporation
EQO Communications
Right Media
Experticity
Roamware
Eyeball Networks Inc.
Satiety
Financial Engines
Scalent Systems
Firefly Mobile
Silver Peak Systems
Goodmail Systems
SimpleFeed
GreatPoint Energy
SimplyHired
Greenplum
Skytide Inc.
GridNetworks
Smart Imaging Technologies
GridPoint
Solaicx
Ice Energy
Solaria
iLike
Sylvan Source
Imperva Inc.
TeleFlip
InnerPulse
Tesla Motors
Innovalight
TransMedia
Interactive Supercomputing
VideoEgg
IPLocks
Vyatta
Jaduka
WebTrends Inc
Jangl
Widevine Technologies
jaxtr
Wikia
Kasenna
ZoomInfo

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Why Is Mobile Podcasting and Mobilcast Lacking Geek Love?

I am always shocked everytime that I see one of these Mobilcast Top 50 Most Popular Podcast lists that more technology topic podcasts are not showing up on these lists. Whenever I see other lists of most popular podcasts it almost always includes quite a few tech podcasts.

I am not totally sure why this is happening and should we be concerned about it or are we seeing a new trend evolve. When podcasting started a few years back, technology podcasts lead the popularity growth.

It has always been a goal of Melodeo to go after more of a mainstream listener base. This mainstream listener base would not be as interested in tech topics and more interested in music and entertainment content.

This trending could also symbolize a miss directed focus on our part. Should we be seeing more geeks using Mobilcast. I have always thought that we should be reaching out more to tech geeks that blog and podcast. I would like to see more of a balance in content interest with our Mobilcast users.

I think we would pickup many more Mobilcast users if we reach out more to technology geek early adopters? Would this drive faster growth with mainstream users as the early adopters discover Mobilcast as a good alternative to the iPod.

I do wonder if our lack of support for the Treo, Blackberry, Windows Mobile devices and BlackJack has contributed to our low tech content interest in our top 50 most popular lists.

What do you think? How important is early adopter geeks to a software product like Mobilcast?

Rob Greenlee

UK's Mobilcast Top 50 Most Popular Mobile Podcast Streams for April 2007

Here is the ranked Top 50 list of the Most Popular Mobile Podcast Streams in the UK for April 2007. You will notice that many of the top podcasts are music, comedy and BBC podcasts.

1 Bubba Bohacks Joke of the day
2 BBC: Best Of Moyles
3 BBC: Scott Mills Daily
4 a2z Radio: Hip Hop
5 BBC: Today
6 a2z Radio: Top Hits
7 CNN News Update
8 The President's Weekly Radio Address (Parody)
9 BBC Radio NewsPod
10 "Back Page News" with Bubba Bohacks
----------------------------------------
11 The Adam & Joe Xfm Podcast
12 Times Online UK Podcasts
13 Daily UK Weather Forecast Meteogroup UK
14 Hip Hop and Kool Aid
15 The Ricky Gervais Show
16 The Onion Radio News
17 KEXP Song of the Day
18 The Premiership Podcast
19 a2z Radio: Rock of Ages
20 IndieFeed: Hip Hop / Rap
21 Formula Pod Show
22 Tim Lovejoy: Virgin Radio
23 Asia Cast World News
24 New York Times Front Page
25 KEXP Live Performances Podcast
26 * InfoWorld Daily Podcast *
27 Mark Kermode's film reviews
28 Eighties - AccuRadio
29 Football Weekly on Guardian Unlimited
30 MTV News: Daily Headlines (Audio)
31 Radio 4 Choice
32 BBC: Chris Evans - The Best Bits
33 Irish and Celtic Music Podcast
34 Indiefeed: Hardcore/Punk
35 Wake Up To Money
36 The FADER Music
37 The World: Technology from BBC/PRI/WGBH
38 Sixties - AccuRadio
39 CNET News.com daily tech news podcast
40 World Soccer Daily Podcast
41 European Breaking News Reuters Audio
42 World News Reuters
43 Lonely Planet Travelcasts
44 Top Hits - AccuRadio
45 KEXP Presents Music That Matters
46 Pod-porn.com
47 Science on Guardian Unlimited
48 Day and Webster's Football Rules
49 Film Cafe
50 Newsdesk on Guardian Unlimited

Melodeo Mobilcast Debuts Mobile Podcast Listening in Denmark with TDC


Today Melodeo Mobilcast announced the launch of the first on-demand mobile music, podcast, and radio listening service in Denmark with wireless operator TDC. Melodeo's Mobilcast is immediately available to more than 2 million mobile customers in Denmark with TDC.

"Mobilcast customers in Denmark with TDC will be able to listen to on-demand music and radio shows from popular sources such as Virgin Radio, Podhead.dk and DR, as well as thousands of independent programs from all over the world."
The on-phone content catalog of podcast feeds and categories are localized to the Danish language. Melodeo is doing most if not all of the localization to local language and offering mostly Danish podcast content.

The biggest benefit to users is that you don't need to download any mp3 files to be able to listen to mobile audio podcasts. You will be able to get access to the content right away when it is published via streaming to the phone.

"Mobilcast provides wireless customers with on-demand access to more than 150,000 music and entertainment programs including radio shows from popular sources such as NPR, MSNBC and CNN, as well as thousands of independent programs from all over the world. Mobilcast customers enjoy a wide selection of music, comedy, news, sports, and other entertainment programs. Mobilcast is immediately available to more than 44 million wireless customers on two continents through distribution deals with Alltel Wireless and Cingular Wireless in the United States, Rogers Wireless in Canada and British wireless operator 3 in the UK. "

I cannot recall is I posted about our below joint venture deal in China;
"Melodeo also recently announced an investment from Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group in China Access Media Solutions, the Chinese joint venture operating company started by Melodeo and Access Co. Ltd. in early 2006. The companies are working together to further develop and distribute world-class solutions for securely delivering mobile music and multimedia entertainment to wireless customers throughout China and other Asia Pacific marketplaces.

Melodeo's Mobilcast mobile entertainment service is compatible with the majority of handsets on the market. For more information, or to check your phone's compatibility, visit http://www.mobilcast.com/"