Saturday, December 20, 2008

Watch 24 Hour Podcast

Earlier today (Sat, Dec 20th), I joined Todd Cochrane of the Geek News Central podcast who is the 24 hour host of the podcast. It takes dedication to operate a 24 hours of live streaming. I want to thank Todd for inviting me to join the event this year to talk about Zune and the state of podcasting.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Zune's Top 25 Most Subscribed Podcasts for Dec '08

Here is the Top 25 Most Subscribed to Podcasts in the past week (Dec 1-7, 2008):
The big new hits for the week are Best Ads on TV, CHTV: CollegeHumor Original Videos and President-Elect podcasts. See below.
The below deep-links go to the Zune 3.1 Marketplace media player software. You can download the Zune PC desktop player here to get these FREE podcasts.
1. Best of YouTube (video)
2. FOXCAST: Family Guy (audio)
3. Best Ads on TV (video) New
4. Discovery Channel (video)
5. CHTV: CollegeHumor Original Videos (video) New
6. President-Elect Obama's Weekly Radio Address (audio) New
7. Videos from President-Elect (video) New
8. G4 Attack of the Show (video)
9. The Green Room presented by Zune (video) New
10. Happy Tree Friends (video)
11. VH1 Best Week Ever (video)
12. Break.com (video) New
13. Discovery Dirty Jobs (video)
14. Comedy Central: Standup (video)
15. Sarah Silverman Program (video) New
16. G4 Human Wrecking Balls (video) New
17. Zune Insider (video & audio)
18. HBO's Stand Up Comedy (video)
19. Strong Bad Emails (video)
20. Onion Radio News (audio)
21. Fox News Gamers Weekly (video) New
22. The Soup Video Podcast (video)
23. X-Play's Daily Video Podcast (video)
24. Dane Cook Podcast (audio)
25. G4 TV Street Fury Video Podcast (video)
If you are a podcaster with a podcast in the Zune Marketplace Directory then you can also create what we call a Zune Deep-Link that you can use to link to your podcast page in the Zune Marketplace - Media Player software. To get this link go to this page: http://social.zune.net/links/ZuneLinks.aspx and do a search for your podcast to find the deep-link for use on your website. We will give you the complete code to place this link into your HTML code on your blog or webpage.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Zune Podcast Topic Interview with Rob Greenlee at New Media Expo

Shaun Daily interviewed me at the recent New Media Expo and we talked for 30 minutes about Zune podcast support, the state of podcasting, the future and some great content that is available. To listen to the full interview click this link that will take you to the BlogTalkRadio.com website.

Economic Downturn Impacting Podcasting

It appears that the building economic troubles are starting to impact the business and content side of podcasting. The most recent sign of this is the cutbacks to we have seen this past week by Revision3. Revision3 has been a great example of a successful independent new media content producer that has rivaled the success of major media podcasters. I have also started to see cracks in some of the success of major media podcasters as well. Many of these major media podcasters are in it for the long-term, but many are still still struggling to build solid revenue around their podcasting content. Many are bullish on the future of downloadable distribution, but are having a hard time selling the platform to advertisers for two primary reasons;

1) No actual playback data from the existing major podcast distribution platforms at Apple, Creative and Microsoft Zune.

2) Content redistribution concerns.

The major media companies are also becoming more concerned about the costs of making and distributing longer form video podcasts as the costs for bandwidth and staff labor are the major concerns. They all like podcasts because it enables the networks to reach their audience when it is easier for them, especially with cable tv shows that air during the day or work time hours.

I do think that comedy shows that air late in the evening like "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, The Tonight Show, The Late Show with Conan O'Brien Show and all the other late night talk shows should become advertiser supported podcasts so those shows would be seen more.

I am also seeing more serialized scripted dramas and comedies come to video podcasting lately. See series like the Casanovas, We need a Girlfriend and shows from the Independent Comedy Network.

Video podcasting is becoming like TIVO without the DVR and may be a sign of an important shift that is happening to broadcast TV. Video Podcasts are becoming the Future of TV.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Top 25 Podcasts in Zune Marketplace software

Everyone has switched into fall mode and that has translated into a huge jump in podcast interest in the Zune Podcast Marketplace software. This is an annual rite of passage, that summer is the time when podcast usage dips and then it comes stampeding back in the Fall and Winter. Well, this year is no exception and we have seen a 30% or more jump in new podcast subscriptions from August to September. This heightened activity around podcasts involves Zune users discovering great new podcasts in the areas of comedy, politics, money, news, tech and comedy. Current zune podcast users are also doing some significant house cleaning of podcast feeds that are just not of interest anymore. This means that Zune has seen huge increase in activity around podcast transactions over the past few weeks on the Zune Podcast platform.

Here is the Top 25 most subscribed to podcasts in the past week (Sept 21-28, 2008):

The below deep-links go to the Zune Podcast Marketplace - media player software. You can download the desktop player here to get these FREE podcast episodes from the below podcasts.

1. FOXCAST: Family Guy (audio)
2. Best of YouTube (video)
3. HBO’s Stand Up Comedy (video)
4. Zune Insider (video & audio)
5. Strong Bad Emails (video)
6. Xbox 360 Only Game Trailers (video)
7. Discovery Channel (video)
8. Discovery Dirty Jobs (video)
9. Dane Cook Podcast (audio)
10. GameTrailers.com – Xbox 360 (video)
11. Happy Tree Friends (video)
12. NBC Nightly News (video)
13. Onion News Network (video)
14. G4 Attack of the Show (video)
15. Dilbert Animated Cartoons (video)
16. Comedy Central: Standup (video)
17. Real Time with Bill Maher (audio)
18. Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil (video)
19. G4 TV X-Play’s Gaming Update (video)
20. 60 Minutes Podcast – Full Episode (audio)
21. Xbox Live’s Major Nelson Radio (audio)
22. G4 TV Around the Net (video)
23. HBO’s The Life & Times of Tim (video)
24. CNBC’s Mad Money w/Jim Cramer (video)
25. G4 TV Street Fury Video Podcast (video)

If you are a podcaster with a podcast in the Zune Marketplace Directory then you can also create what we call a Zune Deep-Link that you can use to link to your podcast page in the Zune Marketplace - Media Player software.

To get your link then go to this page: http://social.zune.net/links/ZuneLinks.aspx and do a search for your podcast to find the deep-link for use on your website. We will give you the complete code to place this link into your HTML code on your blog or webpage.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Zune Delivering Real Competition in Portable Media Player Market

The new features in the Zune 3.0 release are adding to user options to discover music in new ways. Microsoft Zune research has shown that radio is still being used by the majority of potential users to discover new music. Most people like to have help in discovering new music. The buy from FM feature rated very high in the research and would drive device and service adoption.

The perception that radio is dead is misguided and has been for years now. Many bloggers and major media back in 2004 said, that radio was dead with the invention of Podcasting and that has NOT at all happened. The same is true for music discovery from broadcast radio.

Broadcast radio is still very important (huge audience) and will continue to be so for a very long-time. These new options don’t stop users from using the Zune players as just a digital music player, Zune just takes it to an new level. If the portable media player market is going to grow then there needs to be more ways new potential users can get into the digital music game.

Many may not realize it, but still as of today the majority of people in the USA do not currently own a digital portable media player and these new Zune features are a way of pulling this huge existing radio listening market into the digital music/portable media player market. The other reason to be positive about the Zune features in 3.0 is that it is always good to have competition in this kind of market.

I just don’t see why many bloggers and major media have to keep slamming Zune, even as it continues to innovate in this evolving space. It is still very early days for digital media and portable consumption of that media. Zune does not have to follow Apple to succeed, as I believe that Zune is quickly moving into the leadership position around innovation in social networking digital media discovery, wireless sharing, sync and radio to digital e-commerce.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Podcasts Growth Steady

It is true that the podcast audience is growing slower than most expected, but it is still growing at a regular yearly clip. Mark Ramsey of the Hear 2.0 blog states that podcast audience is being held back by a variety of things that include the difficulty of finding podcasts that you would find valuable and worthy of your time and effort. I do agree, that it is tough to find podcast content that is valuable. I deal with that issue everyday in my work on the Zune Podcast content offering. I often have mixed feelings about building large catalog of podcast feeds as opposed to building a smaller catalog of the very best podcasts. I am leaning towards building a very large catalog that just has great discovery processes that include human editorial. I can really help people get to the very best content that will keep them interested in continuing to download and consume the content.

My strategy has been to included everything that has a fully functional podcast feed and content offering. The other part of my strategy is to only feature the best podcasts in my front page promotional spots. This has resulted in those podcasts doing very well on Zune. The issue is that my taste in podcast content will not always match with everyone looking through my limited selection of features every week. I try to feature a nice cross-section of great podcast content and it is driving a lot of video podcast subscriptions on the Zune platform. Zune users really love podcasts as it is FREE content and is driving large numbers of daily wired and wireless connections to the Zune Marketplace software client that holds my podcast catalog of about 6,000 podcast feeds.

I also agree that most iPod or Zune device users just don't sync up as often as we need for this industry to grow faster. I do feel strongly that the download sync process needs to get easier and more convienient. I learned this in my 2 years working on Melodeo's Mobilcast podcast to mobile phones position. This taught me that these podcast subscriptions need to live up on the internet and download sync can then happen directly to portable devices in cars, buses, trains and on airplanes. When audio and video podcasts can be gotten easily on a mobile phone or other portable device anywhere then this platform gets legs fast. What is interesting is that this could enable getting any kind of media content on the go via RSS enclosures.

The last point is that because of this lack of regular download sync is that many of the hourly and daily podcasts are just not being consumed very much on iPods and Zunes, but will see more consumption on mobile connected media player phones.

Podcasting will grow to over 60+ million users by 2012 and will have a strong advertising business driving it by then at almost a half a billion dollars.

Rob Greenlee

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Wireless Sharing of Video Podcasts in Zune 2.5 Update

Here is a little known COOL new feature to the Zune Podcast support in the recent 2.5 firmware update. This feature is REVOLUTIONARY and I am surprised that it has not been blogged about before now, but you can now send video podcast episodes to other Zune devices using its built-in WiFi radio. This means that if you have found a cool episode from the Best of YouTube podcast that you can send it to a fellow Zune user and then that user can watch that episode on their device and subscribe to it all in the Zune device software. While the video podcast episode is playing - just click and hold the middle of the Zune touch pad until the subscribe screen pops up. Then click on "subscribe" and when you next sync your Zune it will add a new subscription to your "Collection" area. I think that is way cool and nothing you can do in an iPod.

Rob Greenlee

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Podcasting Needs To Become "Personalized Video & Radio"

What is "Personalized Radio or Video" you might be asking right now. Well, it is very simple and it is the concept of a prioritized or smart software agent created playlists. It is still too hard to manage and discover audio and video content that "You" are or will be most interested in. If we look at the success of TV and Radio it has been based on fairly limited choice and mostly high quality content choices. This limited selection has had the economics behind it to justify spending large amounts of money to market it as well.

Today, the reality is we have have almost unlimited choice of audio and video content from millions of sources. Everyone is becoming a "caster" of some form, whether it is audio bloggers to major media cable channels to you newspaper. Everyone and I mean everyone is starting to create audio and video content these days... just visit YouTube.com to see what I mean. This is starting to become a significant change for the larger and minor media companies as well and they are shifting fast to adapt, but many it will be too late. I think smaller broadcast radio stations will be hit first. I think the days of buying an hour of broadcast radio time for a lifestyle type radio show and reaching an audience is about over. Even taking that show to the Internet now is difficult. We are seeing so much noise online now and all our time to consume media content is getting spread too thin.

To the rescue is Personalized media and how that might work is to tell a software agent hooked up to your TV, on a website or your computer that will be an automated filter on content and make recommendations and suggestions (not search) to you on what you will most likely "Like" based on your past usage patterns. Sure this has some privacy issues, but it maybe the only realistic way we will be able to deal with the flood of media options we have today and in the future. We need our software to be smarter and make choices for us to save us time as I don't have time to sample millions of media choices.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Zune Springs Ahead To 2.5 Update

I have been working late tonight at Zune working on getting the new spring update to Zune users. The update included the release of NBC and MTV TV show content in the Zune Marketplace. I am a little loopy now as it has been many late nights here over the past month getting ready for this release. I have been doing the content programming of these new TV shows and podcasts.

I have also been working with NBC and MTV to get the marketing pieces and content offerings together for this launch. I think this is a big step for the Zune as it moves us into competing with iTunes directly with top quality video content.

A couple of highlights for the new release:
- Zune Cards now go to the device: listen to your friends music recommendations on-the-go.
- The social is now in the client.
- Mini-feeds keeping you up-to-date on all your friends music at Zune.net.
- Enhanced friends search.
- Reputation badges for passionate promoters of entertainment they love.
- New metadata editing tools
- Gapless playback (great for live concerts!!)
- The inclusion of NBC in our launch video partner list: get The Office, Heroes and 30 Rock here!
- An incredible line up of shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Adult Swim and Vh1
- Over 800 shows at launch in the Zune Video Store
- Integration with Windows Live Messenger

Read a Wall Street Journal article - Zune Eases Sharing To Close iPod Gap
Read Seattle PI by Todd Bishop - Microsoft adds NBC, other TV shows to Zune
Read Google News breakdown on this announcement

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Is Podcasting on the "Net Sidelines"?

Slashdot has a post drawing the conclusion that podcasting is now on the "Net Sidelines". I must say that from everything I am seeing here on the Zune team; working on podcast content and its distribution; it is alive and doing very well.

Sure podcasting may have declined in the hype of it and the techno-elite have moved on to Twittering areas now, but podcasts or downloadable portable media is still growing and doing very well. I do believe though that the technology of podcasting will eventually disappear from user view as better user interfaces make it easier to find and connect with this media on many always connected data platforms.

I am also hoping that this xml based revolution will transform and bring efficiency to the music, television and film industries around digital download distribution.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Unpodcasting of Video Podcasts

I have been seeing an interesting trend with video podcasting networks considering making their video episodes available to regular video download-to-own distribution sites that don't use RSS as the basis for the distribution to these sites. I am not going to be specific, but it is an interesting trend away from RSS distribution of these shows. This makes me wonder if RSS is just not going to cut it in the long-run for digital media distribution. I am seeing so much confusion and lack industry wide consistancy of RSS implementation, thus causing all sorts of ingestion issues. Everyone has its own RSS tags that create duplicate entries and proprietary tag needs in feeds.

Is this the first sign that podcasting is starting to dissappear into just "Video" and "Audio" again?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Zune and Me at 2008 CES

I just got back from spending all last week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show. I worked the show floor in the Microsoft Zune area of the larger Microsoft booth in the South Central Hall. I talked to hundreds of people who passed throught the Zune area. The show was great for the Zune, as many people really liked the design of the new device players and Zune Marketplace software.



I also talked to many content companies and podcasters at CES. They all are really excited about having an alternative podcast distribution platform.

See below as I have uploaded lots of photos and videos from my trip to CES in Las Vegas.