Monday, August 27, 2007

Podcasting Changes Could Drive Dramatic Leap Forward in 2008

Podcasting will always be linked up with the iPod from a historical perspective, but devices come and go. Just think back to the Sony Walkman, a new and better device came along and replaced it called an iPod. I believe the same thing will happen to the iPod one day a better device will be seen as cooler. I think we are already seeing that day come closer with the launch of the iPhone and other truly mobile devices with wireless connections.
We shall see if Apple can keep the iPod viable in the market as more innovation comes over the long-run. I do hope that a better device does come that becomes a wild hit as I think it would be good for all of us.
I think it would be good for the podcasting industry if the Microsoft's Zune really does become a hit as it would more split the market for podcasting and would make the term "Podcast" mean more than distribution to an iPod. Making the term "Podcast" mean a type of portable on-demand content and less associated with an iPod would be a very good thing.
I do believe that podcasters can help expand the meaning of the term podcast by doing a few simple things. We need to slightly change how we all talk about and market podcasting in our blogs and to the media. This slight change in message could make a dramatic difference as I am seeing first hand that many existing and new podcasting related companies are trying to make podcasting an easier process for the listener and viewer. I also believe that content quality and selection is getting better everyday. The coming 12 months will be a very important new phase for podcasters and podcast consumers. I think the technology of easier discovery, management and anywhere delivery will make for a dramatic leap forward in 2008.

What can we all do today to start making a difference in this area and here is my to do/wish list:

1) Make podcast RSS feed links available in addition to our iTunes links on our websites
2) Promote alternative distribution platforms to other devices as much as possible in your shows and on your site
3) Submit your podcast RSS feeds to all available aggregators, mobile platforms, podcast networks to build a true online syndicated distribution strategy
4) Make sure your site visitors can listen or watch your content easily on your website
5) Reach out and talk to mainstream media and online media folks to tell them how the meaning of Podcasting is changing to go beyond the iPod
6) On all of our blogs, feeds, graphics and websites use the terms "Portable On-Demand" in as many places as possible

Friday, August 24, 2007

Portable On-Demand Cast = Podcast

This will not be another gripe post about how bad the term podcast is to the long term growth of portable media. You will never again hear me bash it. It is here to stay and we need to make the best of the situation. I am hearing more and more private discussion about changing the meaning of the term “Podcast” away from a strong connection with the iPod and making the name mean "Portable On-Demand Cast". I think this makes a lot of sense because the name podcast is here to stay and it is more often then not understood to mean a piece of content and less to mean a type of distribution. This transition to the Portable On-Demand meaning will take time as most have been conditioned to connect the iPod with Podcasting in thinking about the medium.

I think with the coming support for podcasting on the Zune, we have an opportunity to muddy the meaning to mean something a little more open and less Apple centric.

The challenge to everyone in the podcast industry is to start talking about this rebranding concept. I think it is important to the future of a strong and diverse distribution ecosystem that users will understand better.

Podcasting today has a user understanding and communications challenge that can be addresses by all parties involved at all levels in the industry. I also think that it is important to move beyond the singular focus that many podcasters large and small have on iTunes and the iPod. We are seeing many new distribution platforms on mobile, coming Zune support of podcasting and other types of mobile and living room devices that will bring greater success to content creators.

Podcasters need to be sure they offer their podcast RSS feeds right on their websites and stop only linking over to iTunes.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Only Part of Podcasting that is Dead is the Hype

Please folks don't get caught by these catchy headlines of these blog posts "Internet Radio is Dead" and "Podcasting is Dead". See a portion of the Internet Radio is Dead post below:

Podcasting is dead. Even interactive podcasting with callers. Case closed. End of discussion. For that matter, compared to video, blogging is dead.

I know some podcasters get good numbers. I think I know why that is. It has nothing to do with talent. People listen for one of two reasons. Either the podcasts are so old they started back when attracting an audience was easy, OR the people making the podcasts are already established bloggers or celebrities, so they can drive traffic to their recordings.

One of the very biggest podcasts belongs to a prominent conservative blogger, whom I will not mention, because he seems like a decent guy. It's like listening to paint dry. All he does is read aloud. The copy is bad. The stories are boring. The delivery is wooden. He has no personality. But he gets an audience, because he's already well-known. I think this is a great example of the second type of podcast I mentioned above.

I would guess that with RSS included, maybe 2000 people read my blog. I can therefore send maybe a hundred people to hear a podcast, tops. If I had 50,000 people, I could send maybe 2-3000. That seems to be how it works.

Let's get real here as hype, knee jerk and unrealistic reactions like this is what got us all to this point to begin with. Portable downloadable media and blogging usage was always going to be marginal for many years, as it takes time to grow a new medium. It was never going to replace existing radio and TV like many thought it would in the early days of the podcasting boom. I do believe that RSS based syndication and distribution of digital media will continue to grow as more and more people will prefer to get content sent to them that they have subscribed to receive, store and playback on the listener and viewers timetable. The concept is already here for many already with TIVO, DVR's and iTunes. It is all about getting content the audience wants for consuming at a later time is what this is all about. Audio podcasting will grow as it is enabled to all of our cars and on our mobile devices.

Podcasting and Blogging are not Dead, but is still in a very early stage of development. I believe that those involved in these new content distribution and consumption methods are blazing the trail for a dramatic shift that is coming to all of us. The day is coming that we will be in total control of our media and content creators will be all of us and a few of us. We will all or mostly all of us will join in on the revolution of digital media and those that engage will help succeed in this new world and those that don't will slowly loose opportunities. I do believe that you need to be smart about what you do with the time you have on this earth, but expressing your personality, creativity and smarts online will always payoff if one is credible about it. Please step back and take a deep breath and don't fall for the hype or unhype about portable downloadable on-demand media. It is real and YouTube actually confirms it for us all and is not an example that podcasting is dead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

True Broadband Mobility: N95 with US 3G and N800

I am very pleased to hear that Nokia has decided to offer US 3G (HSDPA) support in a coming new version of the Nokia N95 in September. This is big news for those of us that have ATT's unlimited internet MediaMax data plans here in the USA on our mobile phones. MediaMax costs $19.99 per month and the Nokia N800 Internet Tablet is $349. It is a perfect mobility solution.
This unlocked N95 phone will give you access to 3G speeds on the N800 that would normally cost $59 per month on laptops or other PDA phone devices. This ability has been on my mind ever since I returned Cingular's 3G laptop card a few months ago, it felt crazy to pay $19.99 per month for EDGE internet access and another $59.99 for laptop 3G access. Paying $80.00 per month for mobile internet access seemed like to much to pay.
Now it is finally a real value to get mobile unlimited internet access and get 3G speed for $19.99 per month until ATT closes the loop hole down.
The only real short comings of this solution is that you cannot edit Microsoft Office documents on the N800 and the N800 could have a faster processor.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Blog Name and URL Coming

I am planning to make some changes to this blog over the next few days. The name of it will be changing slightly to Mobilecaster News at I am adding the "e" back to the mobile word that will correct the mispelling from my previous name and URL.

This blog/podcast was also nominated for a Podcast Award and the winners will be given awards at the Portable Media and Podcast Expo. I will be requesting that the name of this blog be changed on the Podcast Awards website.
The blog and podcast RSS feed URL will stay the same.