fragmentation and consumer control over media
consumption have reached the next level with the latest
media twist, podcasting. Now anybody can create his or
her own “radio show” and post it to the Web for
downloading onto an iPod (hence the name) or MP3 player
for listening at any time. The ramifications for
marketers and PR pros are just beginning to be realized.
of this new medium is promising. In October, a
New York Times story talked about a couple
podcasting a radio show from their home in Wisconsin.
The couple had a few hundred listeners at the time. Fast
forward to a more recent
article in USA Today and the couple is up to 9,000
technology is fairly straightforward – the podcaster
records a program of any length onto a digital file and
uploads the file to a server on the Web. The file is
then available for interested users to download through
an RSS feed (see
story). Listeners download the file to their
computers and can transfer it to an MP3 player or iPod.
They can even have their iPods updated with their latest
application has been attributed to Adam Curry (see
his site here), a former VJ for MTV. He created some
code called “iPodder” to download feeds to his iPod and
then opened the source code to the public for further
development. According to Curry, “Once people started to
figure out that it's fun to host and record your own
radio show, a community was born.”
businesses will find applications for marketing as
podcasting becomes more popular. People are increasingly
time-shifting their media consumption, and the key for
marketers will be to introduce their subject matter at
their audience’s convenience – they will need to be
where their customers are. Expect some resistance to
marketing messages in this new medium, just as blogs
were initially seen as sacrosanct – but major
corporations are now sponsoring blogs (i.e., Sony and
later, companies will be podcasting their own messages,
either attached to already-popular podcasts or as
stand-alone shows with enough oomph to get people to
listen. Can we be moving back to a high tech version of
the 1930s and ‘40s when companies sponsored popular
relations will take another twist, as consumer-generated
news media will proliferate in this new medium. Not only
will some homegrown news shows move to podcasting, but
major broadcast news stations may well begin podcasting.
This means that more research will be needed to identify
possible outlets for reaching out through podcasts.
and BBC are working on podcasts, and eventually the rest
of the radio world will wake up and smell the coffee.
Until then, the world of podcasting is wide open, and
the opportunities appear endless.
some links that will get you up to speed on podcasting:
http://www.ipodder.org - Adam Curry’s site with
history and good references and links.
USA Today Article on Podcasting
AP Article on Podcasting