Monday, February 19, 2007

Skeptical of Podcast Success

BusinessWeek reported that a recent study by research firm eMarketer claimed that advertisers spent $80 million on podcasting last year and that figure will rise to more than $400 million by 2011.

Podcasts are annoying for two reasons. You have to "download" it or sit through the "buffering," while at your computer. With this generation having the short attention span that we do and being a very visual audience, we don't want to sit through 2-3 minutes of downloading to watch something unless we are going to be seriously entertained. But if you have the iPod, that's great but it's the cool thing to have that people will get over. It's not a necessity like a cell phone and people will get sick of features on cell phones too. I have an iPod but I haven't wanted to download new songs or update my podcast in months. Call me lazy but that's an extra few minutes I don't want to spend wasting when I can just flip on the tube. I'm far more fascinated in the capability to rewind live TV.

Advertisters have the same skepticism of measuring the audience of podcasts. Companies including Kiptronic, Podtrac, Podzinger and Revision3 are trying to change that view. They argue that mediums like Clear Channel are adding podcasts to its Web site. However, they failed to acknowledge that more popular mediums like Clear Channel have established audiences such as nationwide and regional radio listeners where podcasts aren't the primary source of revenue but a tool to retain the audience for a few minutes longer.

BusinessWeek writer, Catherine Holahan is also a skeptic and ends her story stating that "the more targeted the audience, the more likely advertisers can reach a consumer willing to buy their product. And in theory, that increased targeting will at some point lead to higher-priced advertising." $400 million seems out of reach for the time being.

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