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Pocasting, Downloadable Media Realize Ad Future

It's been two years since Apple added podcasts to its list of offerings through its iTunes Music Store, yet "podcasting" still receives quotations in media reports. That's because the practice, which refers to the distribution of audio, video or other files through an XML feed (thus making it easily transmittable to an iPod or other portable media device), hasn't caught on with mainstream Web users. It follows that most podcasters don't make much money from the Web syndication format, and since consumers have shown an unwillingness to pay, advertising has become the de facto moneymaking scheme.

Part of the problem, is that marketers have no way of tracking how many times their ads are heard and are unable to swap out old advertisements once campaigns have run their course. However, industry execs say they may have fixed the problem, as companies have begun distributing files that attach to the podcasts, giving advertisers a way to track and change old ads.

Meanwhile, some 15 companies, including Apple and NPR, recently announced the formation of the Association for Downloadable Media, which is designed to help executives improve methods for creating, distributing and tracking ads in podcasts. And the implication is big: Does the future of iTunes then belong to ads? You bet. Think free ad-supported movies and the option of free music with ads vs. pay-per-download.

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Read the whole story at The New York Times »

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