The Rumors Of Podcasting’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated – But Her Maturity Is Sadly Ignored

Wizzard Media did 1.4 billion Podcast downloads in 2009 – up from 1.2 in 2008.

Video Podcast Network pioneers Revison3 did 1.5 billion minutes of video in 2009, up from less than 1 billion in 2008.

And the numbers keep going up.

Yes, there are some who prognosticate the death of Podcasting who say the numbers are going down or have reached their max. But, if you read the real numbers … the facts don’t lie.

But, we need to be honest here.

These new numbers aren’t from people getting that Podcasting religion. These are coming from iPads and televisions, apps and fan pages, streaming video embeds and on demand buttons. Many of our best audience members have never visited the iTunes Podcast Directory.

In short, people have no more of an idea that they’re getting Podcasting content than they are aware of the codec that delivered them. They got the content the wanted they way they wanted the content.

Oh, and it just worked …

It just worked.

I had lunch today with someone who used to spend 5 figures a month to deliver a small percentage of the media content he’s delivering today with S3. His bill last month was a “few hundred bucks.”

YouTube is now doing 2 billion view days as the standard.

I could go on and on – but I won’t.

If you view Podcasting as anything other than a single part of a multiple-part wonder, your future is bleak.

If you understand just how much we have matured and what you can do about it, you are going to do very well.

Thoughts?

Is Your Next Book An App?

I’ve been saying for a few years now that the real definition of Web 2.0 is “your content on your customer’s terms.” Everything really comes down to that as far as I’m concerned.

Techcrunch recently published a piece that says that authors need to publish their “next book” as an App (instead of an iBook). Great read – do it now.

While I like the concept, I’m not sure if that’s the direction. Perhaps the article should have asked if your next book should also be released as an App.

Yes, our content on your customer’s terms means a book isn’t enough.

But just an app isn’t enough either.

Your stuff needs to be available on a dead tree edition, an instant streaming edition, a phone edition, a pad edition, a plastic disk edition, an audio edition, a video edition, etc.

If you’ve watched the whole Vook thing, you might be thinking it’s the future. I’m calling it a gimmick. Show me any real content ONLY available on the VOOK format and I’ll change my mind.

So, content creators, I’m gonna suggest this simple fact: your future requires that you create your content on as many formats and platforms as possible.

Your thoughts?

New iPods Coming?

AppleInsider tells us that a new iPod lineup is coming very soon – 9/9/9 to be exact. Rumors they’re also “confirming” include some “social networking” features being built inside of iTunes 9.

Weren’t we “laughing” at Microsoft’s attempt to make the Zune social a few years back?

It all makes sense though – the camera and video features in the iPhone 3GS’s are screaming for an iPod Touch version (at the very least). I’m still amazed at ‘em and haven’t pulled out my Flip HD since I got the new phone.

And, let’s face it, music and Podcasting is very social – despite how cool it is to laugh at Microsoft.

But speaking of Zune, although Microsoft won’t confirm anything officially at this point, Amazon is pointing to a September 15 release date for the Zune HD product – one week after Apple’s announcements.

Is this a pre-emptive strike from 1 Infinite Loop?

Actually, don’t care, … the cooler and cooler they make our devices, the better and better we are as consumers.

Regardless, I truly doubt the new iPods will have an HDMI out option.

Thoughts?

Podcast As The Secret Weapon

And the final piece in the New Media Realities series is below. In this one I examine the Podcast As The Secret Weapon:

Let me give you the 50,000 foot overview: You can create content fast with the New Media Content Creation Model. Leverage Web 2.0 and you can achieve the ISYOT Effect. Let your content escape the computer and the Internet by leveraging the power of Podcasting.

Want more specifics? Join us for the Podcast Secrets 2009 Preview Call on Thursday night.

Would love your thoughts here – or at YouTube.com.

ISYOT Effect – Who Else Wants This?

I love the ISYOT effect.

Forget being at the top of the results, BE THE RESULTS.

Would love your comments below:

Macworld 2009 Keynote Notes

As always, I’m liveblogging the livebloggers. My favorites this year are Slashgear Live and the always well done Engadget Coverage. O.k., Gizmodo too. My thoughts below:

iLife09 – New features in iLife sound very cool (and I’ll be upgrading). iMovie looks like they’re bringing back some of the “older” features which is only good. It’s a powerful product and a good chunk of new media types don’t need the more expensive solutions (at least initially). The audio functionality and image stabilization will be welcome features indeed.

Twas frustrating to see no new Podcasting elements in Garageband 09 – not that I used previous versions to produce a single cast anyway.

iWork 09 makes me a little sad. Pages is what Microsoft FrontPage could have been. I guess that’s a past life though …

iWork.com will be interesting.

The new MBP is too big for me and travel but, wow, I love the 8 hour battery charge life.

iTunes Changes … 1) Pricing changes were inevitable. 2) More in the DRM free libraries were obvious as well. 3) Music store over 3G – very cool.

Now if they’d just lift the 10 meg limit on Podcasts over 3G.

Tony Bennet ends with “The Best Is Yet To Come.”

Somehow, I believe him.

I guess I’m off to the show floor now.

Will Somebody Please Explain The Model Here?

Sunday night was the new 24 telemovie. I pondered recording it but I knew it would probably be on Hulu (via Boxee thank you very much) in under 24 hours (pun intended).

And it was.

And I enjoyed it while doing a little work Monday night. Nothing like streaming television, on your terms, with just a commercial per break.

This new media thing is starting to “take off.”

iTunes is offering the download of the 24 telemovie for $14.99 ($19.99 if you want HD).

Mind you, this is the same iTunes that sells 24 Episodes at $1.99 each. This was two episodes of 24. This normally retails for $3.98.

The DVD is $15.99 at Amazon and Best Buy.

The Amazon Video On Demand Service is selling it for $9.99.

When I watched it (again, less than 24 hours after it aired), I noted that not only were there PSAs in a few of the commercial slots (btw, Hulu doesn’t get paid for PSAs, that’s what PSAs are), but a few of the commercial slots were, well commercial less. It was liking watching the DVD.

And by the way, the commercials they did show were for an online project that started last September. I’ll bet you this is remnant advertising purchased extremely cheap.

In short, The $15 DVD is being streamed for free. Yes, I know the DVD contains a bunch of extra stuff (hey who doesn’t want cut video of Jack Bauer running around in the forest?). Yes, I realize there are DVD sales as a piece of the revenue pie but so is that whole advertising model that Hulu can’t seem to make work.

If you’re reading this in America (or have some clever proxies in place), you can enjoy the show embedded below (how many paying commercials to you count in this $15 DVD):

Hulu can’t be making anyone money.

I appreciate their desire to have a single commercial per break and I’ll enjoy the ride as long as it goes here but … streaming ain’t cheap (they’re evening doing it in HD now) and they’ve got nothing to show me that they have a long term plan – or that advertisers are actually buying into this. See, when advertisers “buy into” a concept, you see their add “buys” – that’s where the term comes from. You’ll see an occasional product on Hulu and there are some $$ coming in but getting me what I want on my terms is costing them less than they’re making in the deal.

There seems to be a really silly obsession with streaming at all costs. It’s expensive, bandwidth intensive, and darn it, isn’t making the sales they keep promising it will.

Downloads, not streaming, is the future of media delivery. It’s cheaper – much cheaper – and always ends with a better experience (for the customer at least).

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

But then again, they’re giving CEOs bailouts for making much dumber moves.

If we want to get anywhere in this industry, we need to do what makes sense, not what’s sexy.

Or are we all just waiting for the bailout?

Microsoft Actually Did Something Downright Revolutionary With The Zune Today

Boy that should get some attention …

I typically place the day to day stuff about the Zune over at ZuneLuv.com but today’s news deserves comment here as well (don’t worry, we wrote about this over there too).

As reported at Cnet and explained at the Zune Insider, Microsoft added something very cool to the Zune Pass program. The short explanation is this:

The Zune Pass music subscription program doesn’t leave you empty after each month of use. Now each month in the program includes 10 tracks that you get to own at the end of each month. Cancel, and the tracks are still yours. You can even burn them to CD if you want.

This changes everything, and then some.

First of all, the Zune Pass subscription program now can stay true to it’s claim of being a “music discovery” engine. Someone could spend a year in the engine, spend the money one might associate with 12 CDs and walk out with the ‘experience’ of having tried thousands of tracks – and still having 12 CDs worth of music in the end for their efforts.

It is truly the best of both worlds.

Secondly, the Zune (and Zune Pass) suddenly became a really good deal for music lovers. Instead of being the industry’s “solution to that pesky portable media player problem,” the Zune can now become part of the solution – in a way that’s “good” for both the industry and the end-user.

I’ve been a Zune Pass subscriber since the Zune came out. Microsoft has never paid a dime of my subscription fees yet I’ve loved the chance at listening to what I want, when I want it. Personally, the $15 a month seemed like a good deal. The ability to end each month with 10 tracks that are mine is but icing on the cake for me, but will cause a lot of people to finally give that cake a second look (and bite).

I’ve said in the past that Apple would have to respond to the music subscription options offered by Zune. Now they have no choice at all – and will be playing also-ran to Microsoft’s revolutionary first move in this space.

Smart move Redmond.

It’s been a long time since I’ve said that.

It feels good, don’t it?

My Roku Box Obsession

In recent news, Roku really wants to run other people’s content (OPC) through their $99 box.

Mark my words, when we have a $99 box that plays Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and a few others (Revision3, get on the box), people will start canceling their cable in droves and this crazy Internet Video thing will start ‘taking off.’

Does anyone reading this have any experience in the Roku API, etc.? How hard is it to get you content on this $99 box?

On the Apple Event Today And The Microsoft (Zune) Content Released Over The Weekend

So, the masses will be commenting (and how could I not join them?) on the Apple event throughout the day. Some of your best reports of the pure data comes, as always, from Engadget and Crunchgear. I, sadly, missed the live commentary from Cali at Geekbrief this year. Long story.

And of course, you can track the full details at Techmeme.

The buzz will, of course, push any of the Zune announcements out of the ‘Meme and further down the feed readers of many. I want to suggest that Microsoft’s third round is at least as exciting, if not more so, than anything announced by his Steveness today.

Disclosure: I spent yesterday at Microsoft (on their dime) getting briefed by the Zune team on all of the features coming out with the new Zune 3.0 software. The scheduled release is next Tuesday – but you know how these things can go. While at the Redmond Campus I took notes on my MacBook Pro and did a lot of work on my iPhone (much to the ribbing of a few in the room) during downtime. I consider myself an Apple Fanboy but absolutely prefer the best technology for the job. FWIW.

In a fun bit of synergy, the announcements from Microsoft and Apple actually have a lot in common: A) they’ve both updated their software (desktop and device) with an obvious focus on music and music discovery B) they both have some new hardware and C) they both made no announcements about Podcasting and New Media (minus the HD television show option which I consider moot as Xbox has been doing it for over a year now).

For the first time in awhile, this similarity in announcements allows for a real clean comparison between the two companies.

Lets talk about all three of these issues:

Music discovery in the software: As I flew home from Seattle today, I listened to “That Lucky Old Sun” from Brian Wilson on a first generation 8 gig Zune. Turns out I really liked it. I wouldn’t have purchased the thing normally but the Zune Pass option offered (at $14.99 a month) to Zune members allowed me to check it out, rent it, whatever you want to call it.

This isn’t a examination of the music rental or subscription model, it’s an examination of music discovery models. Yes, the new Apple iTunes will tell me what songs in my collection might sound better together (and I think) offer me a chance to buy some songs that might work as well but … I know my music collection – telling me what works together (in my collection) doesn’t matter to me at all. And in terms of, sure I can buy new stuff, a one hour playlist could be $20 that I’m not willing to spend at this point.

I guess I’m just not excited by a “Genius” that tells me what’s in my collection (I already know) and the idea of trying anything out at .99 cents a pop doesn’t do it for me either. I’ve been a huge fan of music subscriptions (even back to times when Zune.com was a Spanish Website and Yahoo Music was yet considered a failure) because of this very issue. Of course, having to poke your way around Napster, Rhapsody, Zune or any of the other sites was never much fun (or that fruitful) – but the music discovery options on the Zune hardware and software make this very doable – and do I dare say exciting?

For pure music discovery or genius, I declare Zune the clear winner.

FWIW: My prediction is that you’ll be seeing a music subscription option from Apple very soon – the Genius option really doesn’t make much sense without it.

New hardware: Sorry, but the new Nanos look like someone in first year CAD class was assigned the task of “Appleing Up” the Zune 4 or 8 models. There’s really nothing exciting at all about the look – and let’s face it “Fatty Nano” was a bust. What about features?

The accelerometer in the Nano is very cool – but I don’t think the implementation is anything exciting at this point. One does have to wonder how the ‘shake to shuffle’ thing will affect joggers, but that is another story all together. That might excite me at some point – just not now.

In terms of Zune’s new hardware, there is nothing new at all (that I can tell) – just capacity upgrades. I do have a Black Zune 16 that I’ll do an unboxing of soon (we’ll put that up at ZuneLuv.com) but I don’t expect to see anything too exciting.

Is there a winner? I’ll give that one to Apple but only because I had to give it to someone.

New New Media / Podcasting announcements: This, obviously, is my passion, and this topic, obviously, was completely ignored by both parties. We can call it what we want and blame it on whatever we want but nobody said or did nothing.

For that category, I declare both companies losers in this one.

The world is changing. Even within the music space, the monoculture of “look, a new album by the Beach Boys guy” has it’s place but is quickly being replaced by the excitement that comes from getting a remix over the RSS feed from the latest Geoff Smith album. I understand the need to grab the low hanging fruit of Jack Johnson but the future of music and media (of which both companies are trying to dominate) is the non-traditional music and media.

And the one who dominates that …

Remember how Steve pointed out with a smirk that Zune is #4 in the player space and #2 is “other” … that other is a huge number and doesn’t just apply to device makers – it applies to content sources as well. The numbers are there and growing every day.

Apple has done a good job of corporate embracing and Microsoft’s support of the Podcast format (despite it’s sounding like an Apple trademark) is a great step in the right direction but both companies would do very well with a “one more thing” dedicated to their future.

And between now and then, make sure that the Zune Engine and Apple Genius Cloud recommend “That Lucky Old Sun” – it’s one of the better things “big music” has come out with in awhile.

Of course, that’s after they recommend Mr. Smith.