Podcasting

Do you remember the Dan& Scott Show? It started on Audionet way back in 1996 as the very first original comedy show streamed on the net. The guys were crazy, working out of their basement and basically willing to do anything to get people to listen.

They were one of thousands who decided to jump on the streaming bandwagon as it was starting to blossom in the mid 90s. Anyone and everyone could have their own live streaming radio show and it seemed like just about everyone did.

All it took to create your own live radio show was a PC, a microphone and either an encoder to send the show to a host site, or your own server connected to the net. It seemed like every day”the next”Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh (it was the 90s) was putting up a website and a live show. If you missed the show, the archives were there to listen to on demand.

Streaming was hot. Companies were formed to host live and on demand shows. Thousands of Dan and Scotts tried to build a business around their shows.

For the most part they, like virtually all original content on the net,failed.

You see, on the internet, there aren’t any hits. There aren’t any breakthrough shows. For every Live8, Victoria Secret, or other big net event, there are tens of thousands or more blips on the radar. It’s the ultimate long tail environment.

That’s not to say some didn’t survive. Those projects that are labors of love, rather than financially motivated can do well. If someone is into talking about health, pets, business, whatever and they do it because they love to do it,the reward is the show itself.

The point of all of this is not to talk about streaming. It’s to point out the obvious similarities between what happened with streaming in the 90s, and what is happening with Podcasting 10 years later.

Podcasting is hot. Podcasting is cheap and easy. Podcasting can be fun.

Creating your own podcast and trying to make a business out of it is a mistake.

Unless you are repurposing content from another medium, it will be rare to find anyone making money from originating podcasts.

Talk Radio Shows repurposed from radio to a podcast. No brainer. It’s cheap and easy. Repurposing industry specific information from tradeshows, speeches, product presentations for employee or customer education or as sales support. No brainer. These are just extensions of existing content into a new low cost medium.

For those who are tying to jump on the podcasting bandwagon and create a “hit” podcast that you plan on selling advertising in, its cheap and easy to do, but even with Google Adsense for RSS its going to be really tough to do it as a fulltime job and make minimum wage back.

Podcasting is right where streaming was about 10 years ago. Before you dive into podcasting as “the next big thing”, you would be wise to do some homework on how the streaming industry evolved.

Try to find any of the many that created original content forPSEUDO.com, TSN, EYADA.com, Broadcast.com and others thatI have long forgotten.

There is a good chance that their history is your future.

64 thoughts on “Podcasting

  1. I never understood why people want to create long Podcasts without some advertising model in them. We do our Podcast Hosting on CyberEars.com and find that even though they don\’t limit our bandwidth, they also don\’t get involved in our ability to make revenue, which is highly welcomed.

    Jess

    Comment by Jessica -

  2. \”…podcasting is like equating Geocities with …\”

    Just a notification of being cited as quotable metaphors/analogies in \”Archive of Metaphor and Analogy\”.
    Thank you.
    http://gistout.com

    Comment by carl -

  3. Here is a great and simple kit for podcasting: Podcasting USB Kit

    Comment by Gus -

  4. Podcasting is great, and specially to niche markets where people are really intrested. My new pet matchmaking website is one website where I want to get into pod casting.

    Comment by Aaron -

  5. I agree that one should not dive into podcasting with the sole intent of getting rich. Podcasting alone, much like any other single form of media, is not likely to cover enough bases in the new age.

    Comment by runescape money -

  6. I agree there is a long tail with Podcasting like everything else and most podcasters will never make any money and only a small percentage will cover costs. With even a smaller percentage making any money. But some will make money and some are and will be break out hits.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  7. You are missing a point here. Mind if I add it?

    Comment by Larua -

  8. Hi

    What do ipods itunes podcasting and paying 99 cents per song have in common? They are all a fad and will disappear quietly, like all pet rocks. Why someone would start a business on something that’s already drowning is beneath me. What I really don’t understand is how does this post fit into Mark Cubans business strategy? I’m assuming it isn’t just a public service announcement.

    Comment by buy paroxetine -

  9. The July 2005 market analysis report by iPODCASTle has extremely useful podcast market information.

    Comment by Napi -

  10. Prodcasts is great!
    We are from
    http://www.pagerank-prediction.com/ carefully explained about pagerank.

    Comment by Pagerank -

  11. I want to extend you a very heart felt thank you..

    Comment by Jennifer Lopez -

  12. I just have listen to podcasts, and it’s pretty cool!

    Comment by Olive -

  13. Happy New Year Everyone!

    Comment by Business for sale -

  14. I disagree with many issue, however there will be many new artists and many new “content ‘mavericks” because as they know it’s not about content but the community that user generated content creates.

    Comment by Business for sale -

  15. I disagree with many issue, however there will be many new artists and many new “content ‘mavericks” because as they know it’s not about content but the community that user generated content creates.

    Comment by Business for sale -

  16. any of you East Coast podcasters want to join on as the official voice of my site? 100,000+ unique readers and growing.

    Comment by free webmaster tools -

  17. It seems the best tutorials and information about the technology are being shared by newbies and those who are doing this in their basements, dorm rooms or on their computer at home. There are now many podcast/videoblogging discussion groups, “physical” meetups and communities that help each other to develop podcasts and video blogs. There’s even a “standards” group for podcasting.

    Comment by Naz -

  18. think that the opportunity is better now then back in the late 90’s when streaming started. I think we will see huge pick-up of podcasting over the next 5 years and it will have 100’s of millions of listeners world wide. We will see a repeat of the boom and bust cycle with podcasting. This is a natural weeding out as the cream rises to the top.

    Comment by kell -

  19. It is new interesting topic; we would be honored if we could be added to this business blogger. We are from the World Business for sale is the leading independent businesses for sale listing service
    http://www.worldbusinessforsale.com/

    Comment by Admin -

  20. The July 2005 market analysis report by iPODCASTle has extremely useful podcast market information. It is currently a Free Download from http://www.ipodcastle.com. The report does not contain many predictions, but more strategic market analyses with detailed assumptions. The report shows billion dollar worth market broken down in segments: 1. Serving Podcast Audience, 2. Podcast Creators and 3. Advertisers. It includes business models etc. Read more at http://www.ipodcastle.com.

    Comment by Dan Cheung -

  21. any of you East Coast podcasters want to join on as the official voice of my site? 100,000+ monthly unique readers and growing.

    Comment by Jeff -

  22. any of you East Coast podcasters want to join on as the official voice of my site? 100,000+ unique readers and growing.

    Comment by Jeff -

  23. Mark, why does it always have to be about $$$? It’s fun, get over it.

    –poor guy

    Comment by Matt -

  24. Hi Mark,

    Excellent points. I noticed a lot of commenters saying things about podcasting being mobile… uhm, does anyone remember RADIO?

    From what I can see (and I am very new to the scene so please enlighten me), podcasting is just another delivery mechanism for a radio talk show with archives and really nothing more. If you can establish a business plan that will make money as a radio talk show, you stand a chance to make money in podcasting. If not, …

    Cheeios 4 now, Trix later,
    Paul

    Comment by Paul Dube -

  25. I don’t even have a digital camera or a cellphone, so this whole podcasting business is quite beyond me, though I do understand the idea and concept behind it.

    Stay in the dark ages so that you are not blinded by the light. You’d be surprised at what you’re able to see…

    Inkblot

    Comment by Inkblot -

  26. I second “broadband” and would also add the scheduling (mmm, over night downloads) and theportability/timeshifting. I listen to probably 75 to 100 podcasts a week, and none of them in front of my computer. Drop some mp3’s on my PSP or iPod and I’m gone. That’s a lot of content – not in front of a computer.

    Comment by markx -

  27. Mark, I don’t know if you are missing the point or trying to obfuscate it. There will be all types of content providers in this new medium. Podcasting w/ BitTorrent *is* a scalable distribution platform. Streaming proved to be the wrong model. The industry did not develop. This time we have both Microsoft and Apple getting behind the platform in a big way. It’s different now. The current distribution platforms *are* vulnerable.

    Comment by scott -

  28. one more thing on my podcast PodTech.net

    last month (my first month) my stats were:
    116k flash player listeners on site (unique)
    72k downloads (doesn’t include forwared around)
    posted: 41 shows (tapped 70 total)

    revenue: higher than may cost

    Comment by John Furrier -

  29. Mark: excellent shoot from the hip comment. Great comment circa 1997.

    I disagree there will be many new artists and many new “content ‘mavericks” because as they know it’s not about content but the community that user generated content creates. Hey my new show PodTech.net(1 month) is doing great and making money – it I could do anyone can. (iTunes has helped huge in distribution and the are many new platforms coming out in addition to iTunes)

    As you know competition to any existing media is new content and fragmentation…

    The long tail is about fragmentation and our world is going there…guess what Mark more people won’t be watching the mavericks on tv because they’ll maybe watching highlights only (maybe that)..why they’ll be too busy making content of their own, sharing it, and consuming other forms of niche media…

    My advice: “you can’t have a big head in the long tail” …embrace it or “the tail can wag the dog”

    Comment by John Furrier -

  30. you are truely preaching to the choir on that one mark

    Comment by blogpod -

  31. Mark,

    I think you are mostly correct in that MOST podcasters will not make any money from podcasting, but some will. The Most podcasts will also include content providers that are not looking for ad or subscriber revenue.

    I think that the opportunity is better now then back in the late 90’s when streaming started. I think we will see huge pick-up of podcasting over the next 5 years and it will have 100’s of millions of listeners world wide. We will see a repeat of the boom and bust cycle with podcasting. This is a natural weeding out as the cream rises to the top.

    Major broadcasters will dominate in the short run and then will slowly lose the strangle hold they currently have, as more and more granular topic podcasts come online. Podcast quality will keep getting better as the tools and recording equipment gets better.

    I think we will see some of the same things we saw in the 90’s with streaming, but it is different this time as we now really have broadband adoption and media players at numbers that makes thing really grow.

    Rob Greenlee
    WebTalk Radio
    http://www.webtalkradio.com
    http://www.itconversations.com/series/webtalk.html

    Comment by Rob Greenlee -

  32. Mark,

    I think you are mostly correct in that MOST podcasters will not make any money from podcasting, but some will. The Most podcasts will also include content providers that are not looking for ad or subscriber revenue.

    I think that the opportunity is better now then back in the late 90’s when streaming started. I think we will see huge pick-up of podcasting over the next 5 years and it will have 100’s of millions of listeners world wide. We will see a repeat of the boom and bust cycle with podcasting. This is a natural weeding out as the cream rises to the top.

    Major broadcasters will dominate in the short run and then will slowly lose the strangle hold they currently have, as more and more granular topic podcasts come online. Podcast quality will keep getting better as the tools and recording equipment gets better.

    I think we will see some of the same things we saw in the 90’s with streaming, but it is different this time as we now really have broadband adoption and media players at numbers that makes thing really grow.

    Rob Greenlee
    WebTalk Radio
    http://www.webtalkradio.com
    http://www.itconversations.com/series/webtalk.html

    Comment by Rob Greenlee -

  33. I think podcasting is perfect for bloggers who have already invested pretty heavily in their blogs. It is a cheap and easy way to leverage their existing content. Also, when Google is advanced enough to catalogue Audio, coming soon to a screen near you, there will be tons of search engine, mostly Google, marketing value there within the content.
    ———————————–
    New Millennium Email Software
    http://www.activsoftware.com

    Comment by Rob Thrasher -

  34. Mr. Cuban would know about the uphill battles faced by new media pioneers. He appears to be partially resposible for the royalty rate scheme that shot many small streaming audio companies in the foot a few years back in his broadcast.com days.

    For interesting perspective, see this link:
    http://www.kurthanson.com/archive/news/062402/

    Comment by Billy James -

  35. Hi Mark!

    Deja Vu Streaming/Webcasting

    The same energy and passion from the early webcasting advocates seem to be reborn in the podcast generation. It’s great to see their love and energy. They are pushing ahead the technology and that’s good for the future of digital media.

    It seems the best tutorials and information about the technology are being shared by newbies and those who are doing this in their basements, dorm rooms or on their computer at home. There are now many podcast/videoblogging discussion groups, “physical” meetups and communities that help each other to develop podcasts and video blogs. There’s even a “standards” group for podcasting.

    Do It Yourself Content

    It’s akin, as you know to the desktop publishing evolution (or blogging) – that allowed any consumer to publish their own content. It is far from great content all the time, but anyone can publish. The few “content” stars will shine. The rest will have a file or podcast or videoblog that they can share with a small group of friends and family.

    Unfortunately, like all content, there are few hits and a lot of misses. Speaking of hits and misses….your blog caused me to reflect on the past 10 years when I met you at audionet.com.

    Status of Search, Subscribe, Marketed or Accidentally Found Content

    It’s interesting that we still have not solved the “search” and “subscribe” information overload of content. However, we’re seeing a glimpse of “intelligent” subscription agents with some of the podcast syndication services (RSS and MRSS). Electronic Program Guides are still simplistic and that area will grow in the next 5 years thanks to the likes of the TiVos.

    Mark – I’m sure you have also noticed the new search engines coming up – just like we saw a plethora of webcasting/streaming companies appear in the dot com heyday.

    There were many search engines for streaming that didn’t make it – like channelseek.com – etc. There were also subscription webcasting services circa 2000+ that didn’t make it and I can’t even remember their names.

    We see the same surge of large companies buying/investing into the new generation of search engines, podcasting, p2p, blogging, companies. For example – you may have noted the recent purchase of streamsage by Comcast in the the last week or so. Of course – awhile back – AOL took up search engine singingfish.com.

    Investments in Podcasting?

    Investments in Digital Media or the “Hot Buzzword” of the Week.

    I trust the investment community isn’t jumping on the “hot” buzzword without doing intense due diligence. It hurt many of us when angels, VCs invested in companies that spent wildly and were never profitable.

    One that comes to mind – was den.net – digital entertainment networks. It’s a most interesting case study and one can still find out about them by searching on their name.

    It’s Push Again?!?

    We’ve seen a lot of flavors of the week grace magazine covers and newspaper features. We had push – pull – podcast – webcast – netcast, ITV, narrowcast, microcast, mobile video, or whatever was the current “media’ term.

    Is Podcasting a Transitional Method?

    Podcasting may be a transitional technology (term or technique) until the cache/servers/live distribution networks can send live or on-demand instantly and economically and switch over from networks to networks instantly from mobile, wi-fi, wired and unwired. This is old news though – I remember speaking on this at the ITU conference in Geneva back in 1998, and your comments on the subject throughout the years.

    Many of us may have predicted this early on – but the challenge is to implement business plans at the right “time”. A few folks had “lucky” streaks, but the majority didn’t make it.

    In the last year – I’ve seen the “same” business plans as we saw in 1998/99/2000 positioned to the investment community as a brand new idea. Some believe their idea is brand new or they can patent the process.

    Will these companies make it? For some of these companies, “yes”. A select few with the right connections, contacts, etc. will find their way. Many and most won’t get off the ground. Many angels these days expect a 20 to 40% annual return. That’s not easy for many companies.

    (angelcapitalassociation.org member quote from a presentation on June 05 at a MIT related event.)

    And as we all know – only a few companies receive VC funding each year. You have better odds on the roulette table.

    (For a view on how new technology evolves – others may wish to read the book Victorian Internet.)

    It’s an evolution as we wait for the technology and distribution networks to catch up to consumer demands for their media choices.
    ——————————-

    Decade of Webcasting and Streaming…

    Audio and video on the net.

    Thanks to you Mark for all your help. It’s been about 10 years – when you dropped off a business card when I (and three other companies…Xing Technologies, RDG Group, and Butterfly.net and InterVox Communications) demonstrated audio live on the Internet back in 1996 or 1997 at the National Association of Broadcasters Conference. We fed radio station KPIG live. You had audionet and had “audio” clips/files or as they say today “podcasts”. I believe you may have been working in your second bedroom in your Dallas apartment with Todd.

    I also appreciate your support over the years -helping me with the first CBS webcasts of the All Star Games…and being a founding member of the webcasting discussion group with Howard Gordon – then CEO of Xing Technology. (He later sold his company to Real Networks.) He’s into robotic cameras now – and sophisticated webcameras and doing great – so I hear.)

    It’s hard to believe the “list” or group started in 1996 and still has hundreds of the same members – and includes most of the networks and content producers and software companies in digital media. We also have the small guys with start-ups or folks creating their own programs. You were one of them. That said – Go Podcasters, VideoBloggers, and community journalists!

    See you on the Net!
    Peg
    Peggy Miles

    Comment by Peggy Miles -

  36. By the way, the whole argument about making money through podcasts is gay. Expecting to make money directly from a podcast is like expecting to make money directly from a Mavericks billboard.

    You use podcasting to bring the folks, happily and appreciative, to the place where you take/make money from them.

    Nobody tells you how you’ll directly make money from a television commercial (when was the last time you pushed a $5 bill through a tv screen?). Likewise, nobody is going to show you how to push a $5 bill into a podcast.

    Yet.

    That’s why you hire guys like me.
    http://www.kevinglennon.com

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  37. You’re not right. Not even close.

    Podcasting and streaming media from the 90’s have nothing in common. What was the permeation of broadband in 95? 97? even 99? Broadband only beat the halfway point what, two years ago?

    Podcasting mobilizes streaming media. More importantly than that, it customizes it, in that podcasts are selected through RSS feeds, and played when the user *wants* them to be played.

    You underestimate podcasts. You’re right that they’re still rather weak, but the Internet was terribly weak in 95. One of these days, you’ll fly me down to Texas and pick my brain for a weekend, and walk away agreeing with me about something.

    By the way? How come I always click “yes” about remembering my personal information, and you never do?

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  38. Mark,I agree with you on this – for sure programs like “everyday brain dump from Bill Gates” will have enough willing-to-pay subscribers to be profitable, but for most “pc + mic @ basement” podcasters, overcoming that “willing to pay” barrier is not trivial.

    That said, I believe that for podcasting, the opportunity exists not in how it will enable the creation of a whole new realm/generation of programs, but its superior consumability (what users care) and its cost advantage that ultimately will make it come from underneath as a disruptive technology. However, the target that it undercuts is not really traditional radio, which will keep having its segment of loyal customers, but satellite radio. According to http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june05/radio_3-30.html satellite radio has grown into a multi-billion industry in recent years.

    What got satellite radio STARTED is exactly consumability (they still spotlight it in their commercials), the fact that you can receive programs no matter where you are. Now the competition is shifting more to the content after they have the money to produce/buy better programs (throw 500 million to howard stern, for example). I believe this is the real lucrative industry podcasting is going to be competitive. Podcasting matches satellite radio feature by feature, with a huge plus – time shifting (think TiVo to cable), and without the cost of setting up/renting the satellites and having to sell costomers hardware – digital audio players are already quite popular, if not universal.

    I suspect in the near future, what drives podcasting industry is going to be companies that “repurpose” (as you pointed out) existing programs, working with various studios or individuals to produce high quality programs, packaging and delivering them in an organized and easy to use way. Podcasting now still lacks some key features in term of consumability – “push button” synchronizing and channel surfing, better car integration are among the top ones. When those are in place it would really win customers over.

    If I were XM or Sirius, I would be really nurvous right now.

    Comment by Kevin Wang -

  39. The first thing that comes to mind whenever I read anything about a ‘new’ technology or use of technology is that the same thing has been said about everything when it was new. For good or bad, either it’s the next big thing or it’s just a passing fad. Gutenberg’s printing press probably had the same response from contemporaries.

    The technology is secondary to what it can do. The wheel is a great invention only because of what it can do. Podcasting is the same way. It’s the guy that figures out how to use the technology to do something better, faster or cheaper that will profit from it.

    Like so many other things though, the full utilization of podcasting likely won’t come about until broadband is common around the world, or at least across developed countries. It’s going to take economies of scale just like all of the other common wired and wireless broadcast mediums.

    I agree that it probably wouldn’t be prudent to build a business around podcasting at this point. I do think it’s something that should be at least considered as part of the overall content distribution mix.

    Comment by Bob Cortez -

  40. I respect Mark’s perspective a lot. He’s a smart guy, very successful, and a thinker. However, I think there are many significant factors that separate podcasting from streaming. There are several individual podcasts that already attract tens of thousands of listeneres. Then there are publishers like us (The Podcast Network) that currently have 50,000+ subscribers downloading 200,000+ shows every month. Show me the stats that the top streams had in the 90s to compare with these figures. And we’re just getting started.

    Comment by Cameron Reilly -

  41. Mark,

    I think what you miss is that podcasting thru time and location shifting is everything that streaming wanted to be. You are no longer forced to go to a location (URL and Computer) to listen to your content. You can have it delivered to you and listen when and where you like. This opens up the market considerably – by making it convenient for the listener. Streaming is still a pain.

    Yes I agree there is a long tail with Podcasting like everything else and most podcasters will never make any money and only a small percentage will cover costs. With even a smaller percentage making any money. But some will make money and some are and will be break out hits. Wichita Rutherford from http://www.5minuteswithwichita.com was signed to a contract on Sirius because of his podcast. Dawn and Drew, the Mommycast and others in the Podshow group will make money.

    I look forward to you putting up a podcast and then being able to interview you for my podcast.

    Rob @ podcast411

    http://www.podcast411.com

    Comment by Rob @ podcast411 -

  42. Mark,

    I think what you miss is that podcasting thru time and location shifting is everything that streaming wanted to be. You are no longer forced to go to a location (URL and Computer) to listen to your content. You can have it delivered to you and listen when and where you like. This opens up the market considerably – by making it convenient for the listener. Streaming is still a pain.

    Yes I agree there is a long tail with Podcasting like everything else and most podcasters will never make any money and only a small percentage will cover costs. With even a smaller percentage making any money. But some will make money and some are and will be break out hits. Wichita Rutherford from http://www.5minuteswithwichita.com was signed to a contract on Sirius because of his podcast. Dawn and Drew, the Mommycast and others in the Podshow group will make money.

    I look forward to you putting up a podcast and then being able to interview you for my podcast.

    Rob @ podcast411

    http://www.podcast411.com

    Comment by Rob @ podcast411 -

  43. Word.

    Comment by chris franklin -

  44. tend to agree w/ patrick’s comments (garageband) so won’t repeat what he’s already added to this thread – and kosso’s very simple addition of course is right on…

    your main cautionary point that individual podcasters shouldn’t quit their day jobs and assume the podcasting gold is going to roll in – is right on :-p

    but, it’s a different topology and use case today mark from when you were so passionately building broadcast.com (i was your first “real” corporate customer when i was @ dell – so i do recall your passion)…

    today, it’s all about scale and usability – when you can scale from 1 to 100k subscribers overnight – simply by posting a compelling podcast show, and subscribers can then take that podcast w/ them anywhere, link back to it, comment on it, snip it, mix it, get actively involved in the thread and conversation – none of that was easily doable w/ streaming (and lets face it streaming over dialup was painful)…

    it is a new world mark – tend to agree that it’d be great to hear your voice join podville – you definately have more signal than noise to add to the mix😉

    Comment by mike dunn -

  45. The most likely commercialisation of podcasting will result when commercial am/fm broadcasters relay interesting and appropriate content from podcasts (both culturally and legally) across the traditional medium of radio. This way, successful podcasters will syndicate their content to a mass audience. The revenue source will be based on exisiting advertising revenue. The podcaster will be paid a syndication fee and the radio station will make money through advertising. The value proposition for the radio station is that they can source a cheap diverse range of content from podcasters and bypass existing radio “stars”. Imagine even news being delivered by this method. My 2 cents – julian031@hotmail.com

    Comment by Julian -

  46. I believe the point Mark is trying to make here is that while podcasting is a viable way of transmitting media, it is not s big of a deal as everybody is making. While it may be portable and a fun fad to engage in, there is just not enough good content out there. Once all of the dust and smoke has settled from this so called revolution, there will only be a small number of profitable podcasts.

    I do agree with Mark that if someone wants to talk about kittens or gardening because they like it, and not to make a quick buck, then there will be an audience. But there can only be so many podcasts that talk about the weekly news and be good at it.

    I think the Mark points travel past podcasts as well. Blogs are a great example of this. Once people settle in with what blogs they like to read for content (which will be ones that do it well), the excess ones will be swallowed up.

    And again, if someone enjoys blogging about gardening or cooking, they will stay around because they aren’t out for a quick buck.

    Doesn’t anyone remember the dot com craze? This is the same thing only on a smaller, but broader scale.

    Only time will tell.

    Comment by Stephen Searer -

  47. it sucks!

    shenquanqi1@yahoo.com

    Comment by needle -

  48. Mark, I really get a kick out of the web and the internet. Podcast are just another example of fun trends. I like stuff that is available to the masses. But, somehow these podcasts remind me of subspace transmissions.

    Go Bucks! (I think we might be alive once again. …now, if only Don Nelson was back.)

    Arthur Vance

    Comment by Arthur Vance -

  49. broadband. today.

    Comment by Kosso -

  50. I think podfeedman makes a salient point. Mobility of content (i.e., “beyond the PC”) makes podcasting a very different situation. I recall an article about Durex inserting ads into the Dawn/Drew podcast. I suspect that kind of advertising will expand for both audio AND video podcasting.

    If political junkie sites like Frontpagemag and Alternet can thrive with collections of text-only punditry, why not podcasting? Talk show fans would love to have the day’s “current events analysis” automatically aggregated onto their hard drives for their on-demand listening convenience.

    A week or so ago, I saw an author named Gerald Posner on CSPAN; I was intrigued. Suddenly, I found myself googling for every MP3 interview I could find featuring him. Ergo, I thought, “Damn, I wish there was some service out there that could RELIABLY do this for me.”

    Still, I agree that one should not dive into podcasting with the sole intent of getting rich. Podcasting alone, much like any other single form of media, is not likely to cover enough bases in the new age. Moreover, podcasting is a lot like the blogging craze.Outsiders aren’t likely to steer or determine its future until it matures.

    You know, people rarely talk about it publicly, probably because so few wish to admit it. But technology is continuously democratizing the media biz in an indelible way. Frankly, “anybody” – at least any creative person with the time and desire – can create content that a number of consumers will find compelling. Of course, these “revolutionary broadcasters” probably won’t get 5million listeners a day, (especially if consumers have a bah-zillion different choices), but this is clearly where we are headed.

    Consequently, those who have heretofore feasted on the content creation/distribution business models of the past are now faced with what appears to be the imminent demystification of their kingdom.

    And they’re pissed. =)

    Here’s a little prediction: Within 15-20 years, virtually all forms of standard audio entertainment will be either ad-supported or “straight-up” free. Now, maybe fans will be willing to pay for 5.1 surround sound collections of their favorite artists or HDTV-ready concert footage, or maybe this HD 3D “Deep Light” Video I’ve been hearing about will play a role at some point.

    But as far as today’s standards? Those same old stereo mixes? Those same old standard-definition quality videos? Forget about it. That stuff is all headed for the public domain, beit officially or unofficially.

    Comment by Charles -

  51. Mark, there’s a very important distinction that you touched on:

    Repurposed Content V. what I’ll call “Pure Podcasts”

    Content produced for terrestrial radio, and repurposed as a podcast is very different than content that is produced specifically for the podcast listening experience.

    An example of the first is the Jim Rome Show (jimrome.com), which does a nice job of packing a 3 hour show into two hours of commercial free, bumper-free content for a fee-based podcast.

    We at the Sports Podcast Network (mysportsradio.com) produce content prepared specifically for the podcast listening experience.

    For example, most of our hosts deliver multiple distinct, niche podcasts weekly to give listeners ultimate flexibility in their listening choices. Our sports content is packaged in bite-sized 12 to 30 minute shows, allowing the listener to consume full shows in one sitting (a walk, a commute, etc…).

    This different “listener profile” opens up opportunities for new content production companies to leverage the fact that they are not tied to the infrastructure of traditional radio. While there are significant revenue opportunities for entrepreneurs and specialists with businesses focused on podcasting tools, distribution and aggregation, I agree that the revenues for “Mom and Pop” productions will be minimal.

    I’m looking forward to the Mark Cuban podcast!🙂

    P.S. Interesting how the “Costas Now” roundtable focused on the question: “is talk radio ruining sports?” Here’s one for the next roundtable: “is podcasting ruining talk radio?” 😉

    Comment by Sam Coutin -

  52. Even though you may not guess it from the comments so far, Mark’s cautionary tale was meant for a specific audience: the individual podcaster. It’s good wisdom from the blogsphere to the emerging podsphere (podcastersphere?, podwaves?, pod-people-invasion?), about the current state of affairs in long-tail digital media. And as such, he was careful to exclude extensions of other media into podcasting (radio shows, conferences, etc.) and the business of providing podcasting infrastructure. Restated in my words, he said, “podcast for the love of podcasting, not because you are hoping to make a buck off it.”

    Still, equating streaming radio with podcasting is like equating Geocities with Blogger. On the surface they accomplish the same result. Deeper down the creation and consumption experiences differ in significant ways, many of which have already been noted in other comments. It was pretty clear from the start that streaming radio had limited capacity for change, because while it freed creators, it shackled consumers (to their computers) and adoption depended major technological developments taking place. Ultimately we’re just not in the habit of embracing inconvenient media platforms, even when the content may be better (sorry Dan & Scott).

    While it would be difficult to make a living off podcasting right now, it is too early to say that it could never be done. While streaming radio was hamstrung by limited technical adoption, podcasting has grown out of a consumption culture shift embodied in the iPod. Blogs, podcasts and RSS have changed how we *think* about digital media. In this sense, podcasting is more like cable TV. Sure, cable in the 80s offered more channels and greater freedom for creators – but c’mon, Springsteen told it straight, “57 channels (and nothing’s on).” Cable was adopted because it made watching the nightly news more convenient. Award-winning content like the Sopranos came much later.

    All that said, the high quality of Kingsley’s Corner (“http://www.bobkingsley.co.uk/”) and the thousands of people listening to Coverville (“http://www.coverville.com/”) are nothing to snuff at. We should all hope a sustainable model emerges to support them.

    [full disclaimer: my company (“http://www.garageband.com”) was the leading source of music for podcasts, so we started offering podcast creation technology and are now the largest host of podcasts (40K). I may be a little euphoric from riding the wave.]

    [full disclaimer 2: I never listened to the Dan & Scott show]

    Comment by Patrick Koppula -

  53. “Pod”Casting is cool — but it is NOT the end-all/be-all of Internet broadcasting, particularly if it’s technical in nature. There are better formats out there. “Pod”Casting is basically Internet radio. “Blog”Casting is full audio and video. Check out the Blogcast Respository when you get a chance: http://www.blogcastrepository.com/.

    This is the future. How many people want to STOP with radio feeds when television is available?

    Comment by Rod Trent -

  54. Dude, I know you’re not too busy or anything, but you should be posting 10 entries a day on all things business, entrepreneurial and internet.

    I figure in about 3 months I’ll have everything I need (I have the drive) to make my first $B. Great post today, thanks for your voice.

    Comment by Michael Longfellow -

  55. What do ipods itunes podcasting and paying 99 cents per song have in common? They are all a fad and will disappear quietly, like all pet rocks. Why someone would start a business on something that’s already drowning is beneath me. What I really don’t understand is how does this post fit into Mark Cubans business strategy? I’m assuming it isn’t just a public service announcement.

    Comment by DirtyMuffin -

  56. podcasting is more of a means to further your viewership and extend your brand…at least that is how I see it. I run a site that conducts audio based interviews with bands and have naturally extended the interviews into podcasts to further help expose whatever band/artist I am talking with. I do not really see it as a way to generate revenue though, more of a way to extend my brand and further the name so someone would be more compelled to be a repeat viewer/user of the site. I dont see it as a revolutionary medium and really agree with the similarities between it and the streaming boom. I think Steve Jobs would agree as I have yet to find a podcast for sale, most are just free with subscrition.

    Comment by scott -

  57. I thin the big problem with the old pre 2000 broadcasting ideas was a lack of bandwidth to the home, and a lack of people who were ready to download said content. We’re in a far different world now, and that’s part of the beauty of podcasting: people have more bandwidth to the home, and there’s far more users ready and willing to take these broadcasts. Now the problem is creating unique compelling content. There’s lots of people who want a piece of the action now, so standing out in the crowd is difficult. Creating a viable business model in an environment where other content producers can create and release something better for free makes it difficult to distinguish onesself from the competition. The challenge is to get there first and build up the loyalty. Dawn and Drew are a perfect example of this, as is the Gilmore Gang and other first-round podcasts. The newcomers will find it harder to distinguish themselves in the sea of content, but those who have a great product may very well make a go of it commercially. Damning them to the purgatory of earlier attempts is premature, as those earlier attempts were doomed by a public who wouldn’t or couldn’t check out what they were doing. Maybe we will see some of these earlier attempts rise from their graves?

    Comment by CraigM -

  58. It is important also to realize that some Podcasts – like IT Conversations (which is a mix of conferences, radio shows, and new content – are at a level of attention well past what most streaming online radio shows ever reached – IT Conversations gets as many as 20,000+ people to download each show they release (and that was pre-iTunes, I suspect they may reach 50,000+ on popular shows pretty soon) with over 100,000+ monthly unique listeners.

    Those numbers are compelling.

    They also are changing the conference business in some radical new ways.

    My conference – MeshForum (http://www.meshforum.org) reached 50+ people in person in our first year. A respectable turnout for a first year conference on a complex topics (Networks – social, technical and physical).

    Via IT Conversations, where our first session has just gone live this afternoon (see http://www.itconversations.com/series/meshforum2005.html) we will reach probably 20,000+ different people with at least one session from MeshForum 2005.

    That is a 400x increase in our reach.

    A year from now when we hold MeshForum 2006 that increased reach can only help us – by helping get great speakers and participants but also by yet again increasing our reach to I would guess 50,000+ people for MeshForum 2006.

    As a conference organizer this changes how I structure the conference – I have a new and very important audience to consider.

    As a podcast listener the content I get from podcasts is content that for the most part does not exist anywhere else. It resembles the best of independent radio (or in some cases the best of public radio) but it is much more focused, liberated of the constraints of the FCC, and in nearly all cases (and all of the cases that I listen to) driven by personal passion.

    Shannon

    Comment by Shannon Clark -

  59. You’re right.

    But … You *could* put together a whole bunch of podcasts, and a whole podcasting system, and sell it to somebody real big for a lot of stock and/or money… *There’s* a Broadcast.com history that might be worth repeating, no?

    Heh.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Bonus link: http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/8434 . Read down, including the * item at the bottom.

    Lots of quotage in there from your interview at Web 2.0, which rocked: http://www.itconversations.com/shows/detail307.html Highly recommended to other readers who have scrolled down this far.

    Comment by Doc Searls -

  60. Good points Mark. History does repeat itself, and this might be the perfect example of the long tail.
    However, what a perfect opportunity to target those niche markets for advertisers. What would you pay to reach the 500 most passionate people about a particular subject?
    That idea, along with the fact that you can take in a podcast when you want and where you want it will keep this movement alive.

    Comment by SeanBrendan -

  61. Mark – There’s a potential market of info-junkies that will pay for good content. If a solid business thinker/writer (i.e. Tom Peters) starts
    recording podcasts and sells them through iTunes
    it would generate revenue from an army of commuters seeking information they can use.

    If you buy that premise then why can’t someone create compelling content and give away some shows to generate a buzz and then move into a sales-based model as well? Isn’t the content king?

    Would people pay to hear you give news and views much like your blog? I’m sure they would and Apple is poised to create just such a market and drive more iPod users that just don’t care for it’s use as a music jukebox…
    so they read the paper every day on the train or buy audio books for the commute.

    Streaming tied the user to his PC… PODcasting
    re-purposes “hostage time” for better use. There’s a world of difference between the two and a real opportunity for content creators to build businesses around specialized topics and markets.

    Comment by mcd -

  62. Interesting perspective from someone who speaks from experience. However, I think the portability of podcasts, gives them an edge over streaming audio…..

    Podfeedman
    http://www.podfeed.net

    Comment by podfeedman -

  63. Mark, why didn’t you podcast this post?

    I think that your comparison to streaming and podcasting is valid, but podcasting is not just about cheap reproduction of radio technique. It also allows leveraging of file sharing technology, time shifting and the portable and embedded media player boom. In a way podcasting is liberating radio content much like the cell phone liberated the telephone.

    Comment by Jon -

  64. I have just got into listening to podcasts and I think it is pretty cool. I like being able to hear something different.

    Comment by GooMan -

Comments are closed.