I know that alot of folks out there haven't heard about podcasting. Here is a good read about the future of podcasting. BTW, if you guys don't know yet, I put out a weekly San Diego Chargers podcast. You can listen to them here http://bolttalk.com/?page_id=50 or subscribe through itunes.
ARTICLE DATE: 09.06.05
By John C. Dvorak
There is no doubt in my mind that podcasting is not only here to stay but will also shortly threaten established media broadcast systems. It's not so much that they will all be destroyed by homebrew networks, but podcasts will be taking away just enough listeners to be a major concern.
Before I go on I should mention that initially I was skeptical about podcasting because it's in an arena filled with flotsam. It's not like TV, with 500 stations and nothing on; it's like radio, with 50,000 stations and nothing on. Or at least nothing you can find.
For the uninitiated, podcasting is essentially producing self-contained audio mini-programs that are distributed over the Internet. In their purest form, they are sent around as subscribed attachments to RSS feeds, and they get loaded onto an iPod (or MP3 device) for later listening.
Once the iPod and other portable media devices got such an incredible amount of memory, people were bound to find other uses for them besides downloading and playing music. Podcasting is it.
I got personally involved in this scene by becoming part of what can only be called a podcasting "crew" peopled by ex-TechTV staffers and headed by Mac nut Leo Laporte, a professional broadcaster techhead who got intrigued by the possibilities of podcasts. So he put Patrick Norton, Steve Gibson, Roger Chang, Kevin Rose, Robert Heron, and David Prager on the air together (or with whoever shows up during a recording). Each participant has a lot of specialized information and insight into the computer scene. I take part as the "industry insider" when I can. It's weird because, despite violating many principles of radio, the extreme mixture of voices works.
I finally decided that when you have a lot of voices talking, nobody really cares who is talking. It's just assumed that there is a critical mass of expertise and that the voice becomes less important. But I digress. It needs more study.
So the show became This Week in Tech, or TWIT, and the players are the Twits. Amusing. This show goes out on AOL, Feedburner, iTunes, and BitTorrent on Sunday night. You can subscribe at www.twit.tv. From what I can tell, the combined audience numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. Are people this hard up that they'll listen to a bunch of guys chatting up news and gossip about computers? Apparently.
But as I pointed out on a recent show, these numbers are nothing, because only the geeks are really into the whole idea of podcasting in the first place—early adopters. Most people are still on the model exploited by Books on Tape, if even that! But if you consider the idea that Books on Tape can be Books on the Internet, and that specialty broadcasting—aka narrowcasting—can be viable, then it's suddenly clear that the media scene has just changed again.—Continue Reading
Though the Internet has already impinged on magazines and newspapers—especially the classified ads—its impact on broadcasting has been minimal. While IPTV is an obvious inroad changing the landscape, it's still controlled mostly by big media (so far). Podcasting is a pure grass-roots phenomenon, developed as a lark by media maven and Dutch entrepreneur Adam Curry. It cropped up just as voice blogging was floundering, and leapfrogged into the consciousness mostly of Mac-based bloggers.
The next thing you know there are a hundred podcasters, mostly talking about the idea itself. Then a thousand. There is no way to guess the number now, but nobody would say 10,000 is out of the question. Now we see commercial entities getting into the act. Ebert and Roeper, for example, podcast their movie reviews. You can expect sports news to be big in this area, with whole shows devoted to fantasy football, for example.
Already dozens of Web sites have cropped up to catalog these shows. Most fail miserably, as the avalanche of content is extreme. In fact, the growth rate and what I would call the excitement index are more profound than with any phenomenon I've seen since the Web itself. This is not necessarily good, because it means boom and bust.
Here's what is going to happen. At some point, and it would be fine with me if it was the Twit podcast (probably the most listened-to podcast as of now), one of these things is going to get a million listeners. Nielsen will notice and real numbers will evolve for the whole scene. Then big media will be asking, "How did this happen? How did this sneak up on us?"
An executive at Disney will be in a meeting and ask the staff how many people knew this was going on, and three geeks in the back will raise their hands. Then slowly two-thirds of the room will raise their hands. None of these people will have known that everyone already knew. It's about then that podcasting will suddenly become the rage. It'll be a Time magazine cover. That will be by the middle of next year. Then the money will start flying around like crazy.
And there's your real boom-and-bust recipe. Should be fun to watch. Ah, I love cycles!