Category Archives: podcasts

The Download On Podcasts

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There’s buzz and activity around podcasting these days. Podcasting isn’t new, but I think it’s become reinvigorated of late with a few players moving things forward. Organized access to content that makes it easier for listeners and producers to connect and easier for advertisers to purchase and track ads, is the force behind this new momentum.

A key company in the space is Podcast One, owned by Norm Pattiz. Founder of Westwood One, Pattiz has the know-how to build a content network, and he’s now applying that skill, and his relationships with celebs, to build a network of podcasts. Launchpad Digital Media is a sister company that sells ads for the network. According to a recent article in Bloomberg News, Podcast One hosts 200 shows in its network and averages 100 million downloads a month.

There are other players in the space as well — Earwolf is a comedy network that also offers producers the tools they need to connect with advertisers through sister company The Midroll. WNYC in New York offers a substantial suite of downloadable audio including Freakonomics hosted by author Stephen Dubner, Radiolab, and Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin. Stitcher’s been around for a few years, organizing access to content and offering a mobile app that has been downloaded 12 million times, and is integrated with several car manufacturers and both IOS and Android phones.

Meanwhile, the elephant in the room when it comes to podcast networks is iTunes, which offers a huge library of downloadable audio but no monetization opportunities for the producers. Which creates a nice opportunity for the other companies who are willing to figure out the measurement and monetization piece.

We’ll be discussing that aspect of podcasting, and a lot more at RAIN Summit NYC on February 5th in New York City on a panel called “The Download on Podcasts.”

The all new RAIN News site has launched, and I’m sure you will want to check it out and then use your social media tools to tell your friends about it. There’s a new url, a new site, and a lot more content there which will be updated throughout the day. 

The Talk of Beantown

This week the Boston Herald, one of two major newspapers in the city, announced that they will launch a new Internet radio station. Boston Herald radio will offer 12 hours of live local talk programming every day, featuring veteran local talk show hosts. In addition, all shows will be archived and available 24/7.

Boston has become a hotbed of live locally produced Internet radio.

Just about a year ago, we saw Boston.com, owned by the Boston Globe, launch RadioBDC, an alternative music format station, after Clear Channel flipped a format and fired the on-air staff ofWFNX. RadioBDC picked up the pieces and began streaming it online instead. The new Boston Herald Radio will enter to compete in an already healthy talk radio market where Entercom and CBSown strong talk stations with long heritages. Which you might see as stiff competition, or you might see it as an indication that Boston’s a market that likes to listen to talk programming.

So now Boston’s two major newspapers have both tuned in to the fact that Internet radio is where it’s at. “Internet radio is exploding and it makes sense that the Herald rounds out our multimedia platform with talk radio programming. It’s perfect synergy,” said Boston Herald President and Publisher Patrick Purcell.

I couldn’t agree more. Last spring, Boston witnessed a remarkable thing in the search for the Boston bomber. They shut the entire city down and launched a manhunt the likes of which has never happened before. Residents sat in their homes, searching for and sharing information online about the progress of the search, along with the rest of the country. They watched television and listened to radio as well, but they connected online. If you’re running a large newsroom at a major newspaper in the city, it makes perfect sense that you would want to use that newsroom to power a piece of that conversation as well, doesn’t it?

I can’t wait to see what happens next..

Here’s The Thing: Podcasting Lives at NPR

 

New York Public Radio is setting the standard for excellent online content creation these days with a slew of interesting, high quality new programs. Some, such as Radiolab, rank in the top ten most downloaded podcasts on iTunes, while others offer a remarkable host of guests and really great content that other broadcasters would do well to take a look at. 

While there’s often debate about the quality of broadcasters’ online content offerings, such is not the case at WNYC.org. Each week, Alec Baldwin hosts Here’s The Thing, a weekly talk show in which Baldwin interviews well known and interesting people such as Billy Joel, George Will, David Letterman, Peter Frampton, Herb Alpert, Kathleen Turner – the list is interesting and impressive, as is the show.

WNYC also produces and airs Radiolab – the podcast of that program ranks third in the iTunes list of most downloaded podcasts. The show is so popular they even charge $2.99 for their mobile app. All of the programming that WNYC creates also becomes part of the NPR portfolio of content, along with content created by other stations such as All Things Considered, This American Life and Morning Edition.

It’s not news that NPR does an excellent job offering excellent news and talk programming to its audience. It’s an impressive online offering that would challenge anyone’s idea that podcasting is dead. As NPR could tell you, it’s alive and well on their platform…

 

Stitcher’s Got This Election Sewed Up

Stitcher, a service that enables listeners to create personalized podcast playlists, has launched a new service designed to help listeners keep track of their politics. Stitcher Election Center lets listeners follow their favorite political candidates, commentators and topics from one central audio hub and get custom audio updates from favorite news sources like Slate, CBS Radio News, Marketplace, Bloomberg, PRI and MSNBC. In addition to offering updates on candidates from news sources, campaigns can also sign up to offer updates to listeners that follow them. Obama for America is already signed up, and the Romney campaign is coming soon.

Stitcher’s niche is its focus on spoken word content and podcasts. They’re the only service concentrating on aggregating that content into an easy to use platform for listeners. With this new offering, they’re actually pulling in content directly from campaigns as well.

There’s a large quantity of unique content available in podcast form – from the vast array of NPR offerings, to Fox and CNN, to Rush Limbaugh and Adam Carolla.

A few weeks ago at RAIN Summit West, Stitcher Founder and CEO Noah Shanok joined a panel called Innovating the News/Talk Format Online to discuss ways that Talk is becoming more interactive and personalized. Stitcher’s definitely a key player in that effort..

Carolla’s World Record: Most Downloaded Podcast

Adam Carolla has broken the record for most downloaded podcast, according to Guinness World Records, receiving 59,574,843 unique downloads from March 2009 to March 16, 2011. The previous record was held by the Ricky Gervais Show.

Carolla launched a pr campaign to boost awareness that he was closing in on the record, urging listeners and followers to download his podcasts so he could beat Gervais. “Be a part of history, and help us bring the World Record for Most Downloaded Podcast over to America—where it belongs.”  The broken record was announced during Carolla’s live appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

 

The most recent Arbitron/Edison Infinite Dial Study reported that 31 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the past month. That translates to 12% of the 12+ population, a share which has not increased in the last year.

While it’s not growing at the rapid pace that streaming audio is, podcasting seems to be holding its own as an audio delivery platform that is uniquely suited to Carolla’s style – personality driven programming. Carolla’s story is a great one – from out of a job at CBSRadio in LA, to building his own show, to podcast of the year, to Guinness World Record for most downloaded podcast.

40% of Public Radio Listeners Are Streaming Weekly

Jacobs Media has updated their annual survey of lots of public radio listeners about their technology habits. Public Radio Tech Survey 2010 interviewed more than 21000 public radio listeners in the US. The results reveal a continuing trend toward the use of mobile devices. “There’s been a lot written and said about how new technology impacts ‘old media,’ notes Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs. “ Our findings clearly show how the smartphone continues to be the hot item, led by the Apple iPhone.”

Jacobs is only releasing highlights, so I have not had the chance to parse the info myself and think about it, but here are some highlights from them:

  • More than one-third of PRTS3 respondents now own a smartphone, up 29% from last year’s study. IPhone is the top choice.
  • One-fourth of public radio survey takers listen to Pandora monthly or more.
  • Nearly two-thirds of respondents now have a social media profile. Facebook and LinkedIn are the big gainers.
  • Four in ten survey participants listen to streaming audio at least weekly, up 17% from last year’s survey.
  • In the past year, six of every ten respondents say they have downloaded and listened to a podcast.
  • More than one in ten owns an eReader, such as a Kindle or Nook, while 6% have already purchased an iPad.
  • Overall, 6% say they have an HD Radio, up 22% from last year. On the other hand, satellite radio’s 13% is similar to last year’s levels.

Typically, Jacobs will release additional info from the survey over the next few weeks or months.

AOL Mines iTunes For Great Programming

It was bound to happen. Adam Carolla, whose standalone podcast project consistently ranks multiple shows in the iTunes top ten audio podcasts, will join a late night video block of programming on AOL that will, no doubt, extend his reach and build his brand while contributing to increased audience and revenue for them as well.

Last week AOL announced a new late night video block of programming featuring content from “The Adam Carolla Show,” ”Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show,” and Kevin Smith’s SModcast Network. Fans will be able to both hear and see the best moments from these popular podcasts and talk shows on a nightly basis exclusively on AOL.com.

This move will feature weekly highlights from ACE Broadcasting’s “The Adam Carolla Show,” where the celebrated author of the bestselling In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks interviews celebrities, athletes and other persons of note. That programming will be paired with highlights from Kevin Smith’s Smodcast Podcast network, and Kevin Pollack’s weekly video show Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show.

Carolla, Pollack and Smith will each maintain their own online presence and continue producing their programming. AOL will feature highlights, and no doubt extend their reach. When I checked, Carolla had 3 podcast shows in the top ten audio podcasts on iTunes, with another at number 11. His show has seen over 50 million downloads, making him the most popular audio podcast of all time. Pollack and Smith are video guys. Pollack produces a weekly video show that airs on sunday nights and is available on YouTube and iTunes. Smith’s Smodcast Podcast network is a veritable treasure trove of creative online content.

Carolla’s been an advocate of podcasting, but he’s made no bones about the fact that the revenue wasn’t rushing through the door. I’m sure this deal offers him a better financial outlook. AOL meanwhile, sees the opportunity that popular content on iTunes can offer in terms of building a network. Their ability to offer a revenue solution to independent content creators is a win for them and the talent.

Podcasting Growth Slows to a Crawl

70 million Americans have listened to or watched a downloaded podcast, according to a recently updated report by Edison Research: The Current State of Podcasting. That’s 23% of the population, a number that’s increased just one percent from a year ago.

Awareness of podcasting is sitting steady at 45%, up just slightly from last year’s 43%. That’s not the kind of growth that inspires hope that the medium will spread like wildfire. Podcast listening and/or viewing just hasn’t gone mobile – 71% of people who listen to podcasts do so on their desktop and that number has actually increased from last year, according to the study. 

So while cell phone usage has soared, podcasting usage has gotten stuck on the desktop, which is one possible explanation for the stagnant growth of the audience. Smartphone streaming has made downloading audio files for listening on mobile phones unnecessary.

It looks like streaming is taking a bite out of podcasting at this point. Online radio’s audience is 70 million monthly (Arbitron/Edison’s Infinite Dial Study).

Podcast consumers tend to be early adopters and social networkers, according to the study. They tend to respond to sponsor ads – 71% said they had visited a website because of an ad they had seen or heard in a podcast.

With wifi and 3G, and soon 4G access more readily available to consumers who want to stream and listen on demand, it’s looking more and more like podcasting is an interim audio technology that has limited long term audience growth because it’s replaceable by audio streaming.

Podcasting’s Prince Charming

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Image by jeremyvaught via Flickr

Adam Carolla is rapidly becoming the forefather of podcasting. His show was named the Best Audio Podcast of 2009 by iTunes and saw some 50 million downloads in just over a year.

According to Arbitron/Edison’s Infinite Dial Study, 32 million Americans or 12% of the 12+ population have listened to a podcast in the past month, and while that number is up only slightly from the year before, industry folks like Wizzard are seeing steady growth and growing interest from advertisers.

Big personalities definitely help. Especially when they’re as appealing as Carolla is in this interview with WebProNews. He jokes about how he got into podcasting (His great great grandfather was a podcaster). He says he’s flattered to be a pioneer, but wonders how you can revolutionize something that’s been around for 11 minutes?

Carolla says it’s challenging, especially trying to get ad dollars (it’s like trying to get people to eat ostrich meat – it may taste great and be really good for you but new ideas are hard to sell.)

Carolla is charming and accessible and happy to be the poster child for the podcasting industry. I suspect he’ll be streaming programming on demand soon as well.

A Record Breaking Quarter for Podcasts

Grammar Girl Logo - Mignon Fogarty

Image via Wikipedia

Podcast network Wizzard Media reports that 3rd quarter was a record breaking one for them, with 445 million podcasts downloaded in the 3 months. Wizzard provides hosting, ad serving tools, measurement and monetization services to more than15,000 podcast shows. Most of that is episodic programming, so the actual number of available podcast shows for download is well over a million.

The record breaking traffic came in the summer months, when listening generally slows.  “We attribute this surge to the continued success of Apple’s products, the expansion of Wizzard’s App product and the growth of the audience that has access to podcasts via iTunes.” said Chris Spencer, Wizzard Media CEO.

In fact, 65% of the podcasts they host are downloaded via iTunes, while other Zune and Blackberry are the other major vehicles. In addition, Wizzard offers an embeddable player that makes it easy for listeners to download podcasts directly.

They’re in the business of helping people make a business out of podcasting – Wizzard sells podcast hosting and ad serving solutions to content providers and also offers them revenue sharing opportunities.

So what are people listening to? Top podcasts on the network include Adam Carolla, English as a Second Language Podcast, Learn French, Smodcast, Joe Rogan, Mark Maron and GrammergirlEducation, music and comedy genres dominate the top 20. Top shows are seeing millions of downloads a month.

Ad sales are mostly based on cpms and range, according to Rob Walch, VP Podcaster Relations from $2 for remnant to $45-$50 for certain programs (Wow!) Their advertiser list includes Ford, Coca-cola, Amazon owned Audible, Subway, Netflix, JC Penney and others. Wizzard uses Nielsen Net Ratings for 3rd party verification of ad impressions, an important piece for agency sales.

Podcasting is growing at Wizzard Media – they’ve watched downloaded podcasts move from 1.1 billion in 08 to 1.4 billion in 09 to 1.8 billion (approx) this year. What’s not to like about that?

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