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?

Weekend Roundup: What Happened To Monday?

Yes, missed blog and Podcasts this week. Too into the Operation iPad Project. Back to normal next week, but here are some links to keep you warm and informed:

  • Songs Of Love is a great organization that puts some new media creators in a position of great service. Read what Geoff Smith is doing with them.
  • Jim Louderback wrote a piece called I support Web TV and I vote that is a must read.
  • Podcast Secret’s Student and cool guy Fred Castaneda has an episode of (one of his) most excellent podcasts about the iPad as a business tool.

Have a great weekend. My youngest turns 7 this weekend.

Diggnation Holds Own With Conan’s “Replacement” – Why Isn’t The Bloggosphere Ablaze?

I’ve always been a bit of a late night tv kinda guy. From King Carson (Wikipedia him if you have no reference) and Letterman in his Teri Garr phase, I’ve love the more “raw” opportunities the tube provided when the censors went to bed. That might be why I like New Media so much come to think of it.

It’s public news that Leno is stepping down (never really “got” Leno / still prefer Letterman) and being replaced by Conan O’Brien. Conan O’Brien is being replaced by SNL alum Jimmy Fallon.

Keep reading, this does go somewhere (past the US Weekly angle) …

In what feels like a “let’s throw around some new media buzzwords and maybe we’ll get picked up on that Digg thing” move, Fallon has been (for lack of a better term) beta testing his show online with some new media angles. He’s been trying things – user submitted video, playing the Twitter game, etc. The link above will take you there.

And then, Friday, he showed up as the first “official” guest of Diggnation (video embedded below for those with readers that support. If not, click right through to www.diggnation.com).

I understand the digerati are all enjoying Obamamania right now but people, THIS IS HUGE and needs some reporting and press. A few talking points:

  • Jimmy said he’s a “huge fan” of Diggnation and “watches it all the time.” Sure he could be just sucking up but, friends, if the next late night guy feels like he needs to suck up to new media, consider them Apples.
  • Either way this is huge news.

  • Jimmy Said he “should have” Kevin and Alex on his show. My predictions for 2007 stated that “Not a single Blogger or Podcaster would get on Oprah for being a blogger or Podcaster” – but I honestly didn’t see this coming either.
  • This wasn’t a token gesture, this was a full-on engagement. Jimmy wanted to be part of this and while he looked a bit nervous being on set, I can tell you that Kevin and Alex handled it like the champs that they are.
  • CBS bought CNet for $1.8 billion and has yet to put one of their stars in a Cnet show (that I know of at least). Run the numbers and implications on that one.

And, p.s., deconstruct this thing a little more and you’ll realize too that Jimmy Fallon held his own with Alex and Kevin. After watching this episode you’ll realize that they are the same “level” stars/talent that NBC’s choice to replace Conan.

New media talent, … yeah, we got that.

Bloggers, Podcasters, etc. … can we give this some attention please – or are we just obsessed with Obama’s Blackberry?

My 2009 New Media Predictions

First, obviously, my scorecard on last year’s predictions.

  • One major podcast network goes down in flames. None went down in flames but only one of them uses the word Podcasting in their marketing material and we even have one that although still afloat, proudly proclaims a copyright date of 2006. I’ll say it now, the only “Network” that matters at all is Revision3, and part of the reason that they matter is because they know that Podcasting is only a smart part of their story.
  • The writer’s strike doesn’t help a single internet celeb go mainstream. Remember last year when the writer’s strike was going to be the nail in the coffin of “traditional media?” Yup, that was a silly notion. I’ll say it again – “traditional media” is doing a great job at being “traditional media” – we don’t want to play in their playground at all because it simply isn’t worth it.
  • Microsoft Zune podcasting numbers will get impressive quickly. Bingo, done, check, out of the park. I dare a single Podcaster in the Zune Podcast directory to tell me that the percentage of Zune listeners to players in the marketplace is lower than the percentage of iPod listeners to players in the marketplace. The Zune is extremely important in this space and is only going to become more so.
  • Managed RSS systems become popular and important. Popular, no. Important, yes. I’ve experienced some extremely profitable launches that have leveraged managed RSS that have given me tremendous content and case studies for Podcast Secrets 2009. The “real money” in Podcasting comes when different customers have different feeds.
  • The term “podcast” becomes synonymous with “channel” for the general public. About half right there. The need to understand the term is becoming less and less important and technologies will only push in this direction. I dare you to find the word “subscribe” anywhere in the Apple TV Podcast interface and I’d bet you more than 50% of new audience members in Podcasting this year couldn’t tell you that Podcasts come from an RSS feed if you pointed a gun to their head. That’s a very good thing (lack of plumbing knowledge, not guns to heads).

So, the predictions for 2009:

  • Now that iPod finally has a competitor in the Zune, you’ll see advances this year in new media aggregation that can only come from stiff competition. Despite our governments attempts recently to kill capitalism, you’ll see it play out in our marketplace anyway. The “winners” will have some much power and strength that the players will fight hard and long to get there. The audience will be the true winners. BTW, these aren’t the “only” players in this space. Boxee.tv continues to impress and if a Hulu.com box ever sees the light of day …
  • The meme that “nobody will pay for content” will quietly die. People have been paying for content for ages, people are paying for content right now, people will always pay for content. New Media makers will find that being paid for content is actually kinda cool and “get over it.”
  • “Cable cutting” will become cool. With the combination of economic concerns and new technologies, “cable cutting” will become very popular (amongst the geeks, but that’s where web surfing, emailing, and instant messaging came from too). This is the act of getting all of your media via the Internet, not your cable coax. It ain’t the best term as many get their Internet from the cable, but you know what I mean. The digital television transition is making a lot more over the air stuff accessible to people who once purchased cable just to get the “local” stations. BTW, a refurbed Mac Mini with an Elgato EyeTV card running Boxee is amazingly killer.
  • The general public will stop treating microblogging (Twitter) as a 24×7 chat room and find some very strong business uses for it. This will not only get people BACK TO WORK but it will enable these service to profit as companies will pay for business usage accordingly.
  • There will be no real competitor to the iPhone in 2009. Anyone/everyone tasked with building the “iPhone Killer” don’t understand what makes the iPhone the iPhone and it will take them at least a year to figure it out – and get it to market. Like the Zune prediction above, this will bring some great competition to our space, but it won’t happen in 2009. Many of us will be able to ride out our 2-year iPhone contracts without even wishing we could jump to something else.

And there you have them … leave your comments below:

Bad Economy Or Bad Decisions?

What a day, …

Dow is down (again).

Revision3 lets GaryV and Epic Fu go.

I start agreeing with Valleywag.

And then Kent Nichols starts responding to my Tweets.

I’ve had the makings of this post rumbling around in my head for awhile. It is time to post.

If somebody makes a bad business decision, it is their fault, not the economy’s.

If you read the Valleywag piece, they mention a company that “never should have launched at all.” You can argue with their suggestion but I dare anyone reading this to tell me that every company in the New Media space is being 100% smart with their money.

There is a lot of waste in an industry that can’t afford it anymore (let alone should have allowed it back then). It is time to change.

Earlier today, Kent Nichols suggested we “add Revision3 to the ‘Dead Pool.'” I had to argue with him (hence the Tweets mentioned above) – I don’t think it is that bad. But, as we all know, Kent is one smart cookie and, well, when he says something, we need to pay attention.

There are some things that need fixing.

I have to believe there is something in the middle here. I think we can actually respond smart and pull out of this.

I see companies with shows with a few thousand downloads per episode who earnestly hope that one day they’ll be able to pay the bills on this model.

That makes as much sense as lending money to people who don’t have the ability to pay it back – and then giving yourself an obscene bonus for meeting your quota.

And then asking the government to bail you out (at my expense).

So that you can keep you bonuses.

Cause you deserve them.

For bad business decisions.

I applaud Louderback (or anyone else like him) who decides to make the hard decisions. We need to read the spreadsheets, run the numbers, and make the right decisions.

Want to flush this economy down the drain?

Blame it on your bad decisions.

Or, … start taking account for your actions.

And make the hard decisions.

And come out o.k. on the other side.

You can do this.

What do you need stop stop spending money on right now? I know those new Macbooks are as sexy as all get out but, … twenty five hundred bucks growing your audience might be money better spent.

I know it ain’t easy for all of us to build a whole business around our content (like Kent has done) and would love to just produce and let someone else pay but, … maybe the industry ain’t ready for that yet.

Take control.

Make smart decisions.

Don’t blame anything on anybody but yourself.

And then do something about it.

I could care less who you vote for.

I care a lot about what you do the rest of November 4th.

Good decisions will make for a good economy.

Be part of it.

Produce content of value.

Diggnation Isn’t A Podcast (And That’s A Good Thing)

Witness the embedded (and seldom safe for work) video below:

This is a quick clip from the Diggnation “Podcast.”

But, dear friends, this ain’t a Podcast. It’s at Hulu.

Hulu – the same place that serves Saturday Night Live clips and full episodes of Fringe. The same Hulu I watch on my Xbox with everything else. Don’t have / don’t want / don’t need cable.

Something else kinda fun – take a look at Hulu and you’ll note that they’re sending “full episode” traffic of Diggnation right to Revision3. Keep watching that one. That’s a partnership worth watching.

Gary Vaynerchuck is over there as well (been there for awhile). I don’t know if this is a Revision3 thing or just Gary on his own … but that’s the point.

It’s all starting to blend/blur together.

We knew this was going to happen, and it is happening quickly.

There will be a time when Diggnation by RSS has less numbers than Diggnation by everything else.

The very cool thing is that when this delta happens, it won’t be an issue of RSS subscribes doing down, it will be an issues of Diggnation penetration going up.

Or Gary.

Or Ninja.

Or EpicFu.

Or any of the others.

You know I’ve been a fan of Revision3 since day one but this ability to be bigger than the Podcast is something we all need to learn from. We need to be bigger than the Podcast.

The Podcast is but a SINGLE channel for your content delivery. Only allowing the Podcast is as insane as Hollywood only allowing their content by broadcast/cable.

Let’s learn from their mistakes, shall we?

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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?

A Cautionary Tale From Revision3

Before you go any further, read this post from Jim Louderback from Revision3 on how he spent his weekend.

There is no “simple” way to spin this – “new media” was attacked by an “old media” guardian.

A very sloppy guardian none the less, but, as they say, consider the source.

There is a battle going on here.

The “old” wants the “new” out of their space.

Ever wondered why it’s so freaking hard to consume downloaded DRMd content on more than one device while a broadcast flagged episode of American Gladiators can still be watched on a black and white television from the 60s?

Ever wondered why you never hear of Comcast throttling bandwidth hogs like Hulu?

Ever wondered why not a single “new” media company that have signed (financial) contracts with “old” media show up at events like the New Media Expo?

I sure have.

Read Jim’s post again.

Maybe it ain’t that complicated.

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You Can’t Handle The Truth About Podcasting

First, please watch this embedded clip from YouTube to put you in the proper mindset.

You can’t handle the truth!

Son, we work on an Internet that has limits. And these limits can’t be changed with men with vc funding – no matter how much you’ve got.

Who’s gonna stream to millions at once? You? You, Hulu?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You praise streaming and you curse the Podcast. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not admitting what I know: that streaming, while sexy, simply can’t scale.

And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is the future of media online…

You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want portable time-shifted media. You need portable time-shifted media – without the restrictions that simply won’t scale.

We use words like streaming, drm, walls … we curse these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under tens of millions of dollars in funding without ever facing the truth, and then questions the manner in which I provide it!

I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you tell me how your plan on streaming to millions of users at the same time. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think our future is!

As much as I just enjoyed watching 30 Rock on Hulu a few minutes ago, …

Streaming won’t scale.

DRM won’t scale.

Devices that dial home with my watching habits won’t scale.

Oprah tried, and fell flat on her face, and then released everything she had via Podcast.

Did her impact change? Did she make any less money? Did they sell less copies of that “New Earth” book?

Do we have something to learn from Oprah?

Yes, we can track everything – but at some point it all falls apart. I point to the USSR and East Germany as recent examples.

Yes, we can stream video right now but it is simply nothing compared to a few million people watching American Idol on a Wednesday night. If you want the numbers television provides on our glorious Interweb then, dear friends, you’re going to have to find something that scales – something that “works.”

Podcasting can scale.

Without the need to call back home, without the need to worry about where every 1 and 0 is located, without the need to own it all, this can work. Podcasting can scale.

Streaming can’t.

DRM can’t.

You can’t handle the truth about Podcasting.

Thoughts?

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7 Things We Can (And Should) Learn From “The Totally Rad Show.”

The Totally Rad Show became my favorite Revision 3 property this weekend. I’ve always enjoyed it but a few things happened in show 52 that made me realize how great, do I dare say “how rad” this show actually is. We’ve all got some things to learn from Alex Albrecht, Jeff Cannata and Dan Trachtenberg. I’ll chat a few of them here.

The show/Podcast (nicknamed “TRS”) is a weekly play where 3 friends chat about “all things rad” that happened that week. They usually cover film and television and often hit comics and video games. Alex, Jeff and Dan are engaging and funny and can keep you attention for the time needed to give their topics the attention they want to give them. Each show starts with a spoof/tribute to a favorite film (it was their tribute to The Muppet Movie of all things that brought me over the top) but he majority of everything else is done in front of greenscreen.

Here are 7 things I learned from the TRS guys in the last 52 episodes.

If done right, you can be a show, not a series of 1-off videos. Episode 52 was in celebration of their first 52 episodes (they do these things weekly). The content was all about what they had done in the last 51 shows – there was very little “new” content other than a walk down memory lane with people who had gone on this trip with them. If TRS had been developed to just shove reviews down as many channels as possible (go ahead, name me one movie review property with their own clips show), you would never have something as fun as this. And, yes, it made me wonder what the next 52 episodes will bring. This should have advertisers salivating.

The right combo of technologies trumps an “old media” million dollar budget every time. I could deconstruct how this show is put together but I won’t. In short, they spent money where they needed to but this is certainly a “low budget” venture that still has a great look and feel to it. Despite the single camera, you never once find yourself hoping for a new shot. This technique has been mastered by properties such as Ninja and Geekbrief but are considerably more impressive when you consider the fact that TRS is usually 60 minutes or so in length each week.

If you want to keep an audience, respect your audience. The spoof/tribute this week was as much a spoof/tribute to the first year history of TRS as it was to The Muppet Movie with the immortal line “Life is a movie, make your own ending” as a reminder of both what the show is about and what the show hopes you might do with your life after the hour is over.

Serve your niche, not everybody’s niche. This flows right from the point above. There is a HUGE segment of the planet, sorry, who won’t get the references in the TRS opening for #52. That doesn’t matter to TRS. And that, dear friends, is why the show is so, wait for it, “totally rad.” I know this is a show for me, not a show they through some “element” in hoping to “catch” some percentage of my demographic.

Passion is as important as production. If these guys didn’t care as much about the topics as they did, they would have lost me with Episode #1. New media is a lot more than getting a pretty face to read your copy.

If you aren’t having fun, start something you can have fun with. This is part of the previous comment but I want to stress, strongly, that as important as passion is, it isn’t always enough. I think we too often forget that in this space with all the “Podcast your passion and the profits will follow” nonsense out there. If the process of Podcasting your passion ain’t fun, you’ll never get past episode #6. These guys have way too much fun.

You audience can be a tremendous part of your content. The TRS team has tightly integrated their audience into their production and content. From user-generated backdrops (will UGB become an industry term?) for their greenscreen work to dedicated a whole segment to answering viewer email, the audience feels like they are part of what is being created – considerably more than PBS ever gets from asking you to send in checks. Your niche will help support anything they help create. They not only helped create TRS, they help continue to make it better.

And a bonus … “Old media” and “new media” can work side by side. I don’t know if TRS will ever end up on a “major” network (and I don’t know if it should – but that’s another posting all together) but I do know that you’ll never see the guys reviewing “new media” content with the same fervor they gave “No Country For Old Men.” This is o.k. and possibly even a great strategy – but that, too is another blog posting.

In all seriousness, give TRS a try. Their style and content might not be to your liking but their mastery of what their trying to accomplish (and their passion for it) is something, as I mentioned in the title for this, that we could all learn a lot from.

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