Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Online video, narrowcasting, podcasting

Television was a one-way medium - big broadcasters pushing content into our living rooms at a specific time and place. Not anymore. Online video has arrived.

Thanks to growing bandwidth, easy access to the means of production, and cheap storage, it's exploding all around us and becoming a very real, very different way to experience news and entertainment. Gone is top-down broadcasting.

Some people look at the sheer amount of material (Video on Demand = VOD) and see a mess. But we also see, amid the flood of content and competing delivery services, a new medium emerging, one with fewer gatekeepers, more producers, and - somewhere - something for everyone. And that's the point: The mess is the message.

The most interesting content on the Internet is not been repurposed content from somewhere else, it will be that content that didn't have an outlet before.

Mainstream programming converted to MP3 files and redistributed and called a podcast is interesting to a point, but it's not what listeners are really compelled by. They want unique independent niche programming that appeals and allows them to develop a relationship that isn't possible with mainstream programming.

Wave of energy

There are high hopes that out of this wave of energy around podcasting, with all of these people trying to become audio producers, that a bunch of them will emerge as truly talented new voices that will bridge into radio.

It doesn't have to be either/or [podcasting or broadcasting]. The hope is that podcasting does identify a whole new rising generation that is producing a different sound with different ears and that public radio will embrace them.

Along with the measurement dilemma, there's also bandwidth costs to consider. The more popular your podcast is, the more it costs to support downloads.

Advertising with podcasts

The potential for advertising in podcasts is considered to be "absolutely huge." But rather than repurpose radio ads, advertisers and ad agencies will have to get more creative, and collaborate more with the audience.

The listeners are interested in interesting advertising. They don't want the same thing they're getting in the mainstream. They want to participate in that process. That has to do with context, with host involvement, and it has to do with the advertisers, the agencies, the buyers and all being very creative about how we do this, and listening to the response.

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