Saturday, April 7, 2007

Podcasting:The Road Less Travelled

These days my ears chilled out with lots of podcasts and i loaded my recently bought iPod Shuffle with lots of Business podcasts.In case you are wondering what the hell podcast is,i suggest you to go through this Wikipedia article.Podcasts are not limited to iPod and you can carry them on any portable player.After listening to many podcasts(Of course for free), i left with only one question. How these guys are making money??My curiosity drove me further to explore this.

Podcasting in simple words "Your Voice->WWW->Portable Player->Masses"

Today,if you search in Google for podcasting it gives 38mn search results.Despite the promise and potential of the podcasting,It's not yet caught mainstream attention.I mean,the diversity of audience is not so great and it still have a long way to reach critical mass.Today,it's popular in education and academic world where you can listen to lectures on the go.Else where it is struggling to find feet.

Today, if i see there is lot of high quality podcasting content is available on net but the problem is there are no takers.Last year more than 140mn MP3 players shipped and in the same time 1bn Mobile phones also shipped.My view is,if podcasting wants to catch up with masses it should and can happen on Mobile phone only.Imagine you are a tourist and your Mobile phone guiding you through podcast???I believe the potential of podcasting can be exploited on Mobile phone only and that seems like a perfect match.In my
previous post also i mentioned this.

There are potential problems in transmitting podcasts on mobile as it's pretty expensive even if you set up Toll free.Secondly the voice quality may not be as great as portable player.Another problem is as i mentioned advertisers support for podcasting is not so great so far.In 2006 podcasting ad market accounted for $80mn only.When you compare it with today's online advertising revenues(it's around $14bn),it's negligible.But podcasting ad market is expected to grow up to $400mn by 2011.That's more than 100% CAGR and sounds exciting.

Today's podcasting market ecosystem formed by Publisher,Advertiser and Listener.Again in each category there is front end and back end.For example in Publisher category in the back end people who supply podcasting studio equipment and software and in the front end people who actually present the show.But in the current scenario the advertiser and listener both seems to be inactive and that presents a big opportunity for innovation.

Despite all problems i bet on Mobile phone 'coz it's ultimate consumer device where podcasting will be highly effective.So,what's the solution??But i feel,to see podcasting seriously on
Mobile we've to wait for 1 yr 'coz by that time market will see the growth of wi-fi enabled and S/W intensive phones,which will present a perfect market for free ad supported podcasting.iPhone is coming this June and that can kickoff podcasting culture on mobile phone.There are few companies like pod2mob which are trying to deliver podcast links to mobile phones but i think that is too expensive to click.Defining viable business model in this field still unfinished work.Recently You tube also started MMS casting.Future certainly looks bright and there is lot of room for innovation in podcasting which can change the way we live.

Few resources of podcasting(Google can do better job)

  • iTunes(lots of podcasts and iTunes client)
  • Odeo(lots of podcasts)
  • Audacity(A free Audio editor and recorder Software)

These are just few and i encourage my blog visitors to google, to explore podcasting world as podcasts are free and knowledgeable which can match different tastes.

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