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