Thursday, May 26, 2005
Growing the Podcasting Market
ABC starts podcasting. It's a good opening move, it leverages ABC's core competences to enter a new market.
OK; the simple answer is that you can't sustain a business the size of ABC's by moves like these.
The more complicated problem is that no one's podcasting (yet). And all the podcast gurus seem to be waiting for Odeo to slash the costs of making a podcast - but I'm not so sure about this. There are already more than a few audio/video blogging services out there.
So the question becomes - assuming that it's not the transaction costs that stop them, why aren't people podcasting? I think it's because podcasts don't realize the same kind of huge complementarity that blogs do, through comments, link aggregators, etc.
You can have a conversation on a blog, which makes value snowball - increasing returns. So blogging has a pretty powerful value prop, which is why we see so many people blog.
I think that unless we start seeing conversations and complementarity in podcasts, I suspect the market won't tip like blogs did, and the amount of value created will stay small.
So the point is that if ABC's really interested in capturing value from podcasting, it has to help create it first, by kickstarting the larger podcastosphere by leveraging complementarity.
If they do this, podcasting (and micromedia in general) become a source of increasing returns, and value snowballs.
If, on the other hand, Media 1.0 strategists simply see podcasting as just another 'distribution channel' for content they're already good at producing, I think their future is kind of bleak. In fact, I think a lot of podcasting gurus are falling into the same trap, and this is why the podcasting market seems to have hit a wall.
The larger point is that Media 1.0 guys are good at producing content to podcast because that's one of their core competences - production of content to be pushed to consumers.
But Media 2.0, I think, requires new competences - focused around conversation, or production where information can be shared (and ultimately, peer production begins to coalesce). This is the problem with NYT Select - it invests in building the kind of one-way competences which are only valuable in a Media 1.0 world.
Once the cellphone has 1G+ of memory in it, the Ipod will quickly become a useles item.
This is when podcasting will take effect. If I can download a song to my cell phone and listen to it, I can also download the news and listen to it. I could select from various news sources from my display screen on my current phone.
At the end of the podcast, a number can be given to engage in an actual converstation. (for starters it would probably need to be voice-mail boxes). The technology is out there to allow the various voice-mail boxes to be titled by the creator, and you could simply scroll through the titles on your visual display potion of your phone.
The technology exists, but traditional media doesn't see the profit in exploiting it, and without the .com billionaires around, there is only limited access to capital for these types of ventures.
Ok,it's September now and the ABC's
podcasting is here to stay. It's
just incredible! Podcasting is a killer service. It's convenience and functionality are startling .. when compared with other web programs.Just copy the link and it auromatically updates. I can be driving my car (in Thailand where I live) and have a choice
of all Radio National's latest
programs at my finger fingertips
.....wow! Also, I believe it adds
value to the Ipod..it makes it an
entertainment and information device.