Commentary

Do You Podcast?

Podcasting is starting to get lumped in with blogs as one of the most significant hot new trends online. For those of you who don't know, podcasts are content delivered via the Web to your iPod that allow you to listen at your leisure. If you read the press, you might come to the conclusion that Adam Curry invented podcasting, but then again you might also believe that Al Gore invented the Internet.

Podcasting is similar to personal video recorders if you think about it... it's another example of consumers owning the experience of consuming content at their leisure. In the same way that a consumer can watch "CSI" when they want to via TiVo, they can now listen to the Top 25 Countdown when they want to. Some of these are free while some of them charge for the content, but all of it serves to once again prove that the consumer is in control.

If you take note over the last few weeks of my columns and those of my colleagues, you will continue to see more and more proof that we are losing control. We are losing the battle for ownership of the media we create. The consumer is becoming a partner in its development by demanding what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. Sooner or later, it's inevitable that the consumer will completely own the relationship. The iPod ad, the Nike ad, the Volkswagen ad... these will be examples of the future. This year might be recognized as the year when the consumer overthrew the throne. A virtual coup, if you will.

Podcasting is just a baby step in this direction, but one that could easily be overlooked (I know that I have to date). Currently there are only 3,140,000 results for "podcasting" on Google, as compared to 37,500,000 for "tv listings" and 22,400,000 for "radio stations." That said, "satellite radio" has 28,500,000 listings. Satellite radio, after all, is another rapidly growing form of audio content delivery. Satellite radio is digital and its programming could easily be time shifted as well and offered to consumers on their schedules, possibly loaded onto an iPod and further driving the growth of podcasting.

Once again, I examine these different technologies not in a vacuum, but with the hopes of understanding where they overlap and how they affect one another. Understanding consumer behavior is the key to effective advertising (this can never be said enough).

What do you think?

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