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, 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.
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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Grammergirl. Education, 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?
A new release of information on digital audio listening from RAJAR, the official source for radio audience measurement in the UK, shows that Brits are not as active as consumers in the US when it comes to listening to online radio and podcasts.
According to the new data, 31% of UK adults have ever listened to online radio, in sharp contrast to the 52% of the 12+ population here in the US that have listened. Granted, the US study (Arbitron’s Infinite Dial 2010) counts the 12-17 population and the RAJAR study does not, but that cell accounts for only 10% of the total weekly listening so does not make up the difference.
Listening to online radio in the UK can include live streaming as well as “Time Shifted” listening where listeners can use “Listen Again” services to record some radio programming and listen to it at a different time. This behavior is prohibited, or at least discouraged by copyright law in the US.
Brits also listen less to podcasts than Americans – according to the new MIDAS6, 23% of adults have ever listened to podcasts whereas The Infinite Dial Study of US listening behaviors says 23% have ever listened. Again, I don’t think the 12-17 age group that’s taken into consideration by the US study and not by the UK one is making the difference.
I’m wondering of course why this is, but I’m not offering any solid reasons at this point I’m just watching and thinking about it. I suspect that UK radio blogger James Cridland might have a few as well…
One of radio’s oldest formats has found a new home on Internet radio. Talk radio, long the stalwart of the AM broadcast band, is alive and thriving online.
Sure, the big name hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Schlessinger and Savage are all streaming their broadcast shows online. More interesting is the long list of talkers who are using Internet radio as their primary distribution channel. That list is growing, and so is the audience.
The number of conservative talk shows online is really growing, according to a recent article in the LA Times. BlogTalkRadio, a streaming platform that enables anyone with the desire to easily start their own show, has seen a 25% increase in the number of conservative talk shows this year, while progressive talk shows are up about 14%. All of that has resulted in bigger numbers of people listening as well.
Take the case of Marie Stroughter, founder of African-American Conservatives. The site is home to her radio show, which features “topical political commentary from a right-leaning, cultural perspective.” She’s interviewed the likes of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes, among others. She uses the BlogTalkRadio platform for her webcasts, and her show has become one of the more popular in that network.
Talkers Magazine, the self-proclaimed Bible of Talk Radio, agrees. This year they published their second annual list of the Frontier Fifty most outstanding webcasters, a list that features names both known and unknown. “This new platform is well on its way to becoming the establishment at an exponentially increasing rate of acceleration.” says Talkers Magazine founder Michael Harrison. “Keeping that in mind, we should savor this creative, opportunity-rich period of its infancy while we still have it –– a colorful chapter of new media history that this list endeavors to celebrate.”
By enabling such a wide array of voices and points of view, Internet radio is on its way to re-inventing one of radio’s oldest formats. It’s a good thing, and one that broadcasters can easily take a lesson from. Got an interesting local character in your community? Give them a voice for an hour a week or even a day and offer the stream on your website. Now that’s a thought worth talking about..