The Hard To Find Consensus on Truths

The below post has nothing to do with Podcasting and was originally posted on Facebook. 

Given the reactions I am seeing in the media and on social media to issues around men sexual harassment of women. Why did half of this country look the other away and still elect Trump given his admitted abuse and harassment of women? Seems like a mixed message to me, especially given that he was running against a women for President.

Such a scary time for gender relations. You can just feel the pent up anger coming out all over the place in so many ways these days.

The electronic communications of the internet has unleashed the ability to share facts and falsehoods on an equal playing field. It seems like accusations are the same as truths these days, but accusations can be half truths as grey areas exist in all part of life. Yet the internet does such a great job of only exposing the extremes or black and white in all issues.

I fear we as a society are on a path to ongoing cultural civil wars that spans so many areas of conflict that the battles will harden sides and we many never be able to all live in any form of peace or harmony ever again.

I am worried about the path we are on as it seems rather impossible to bring people together. Please correct me if I am wrong or is this the path to improvement in human interaction?

Rob Greenlee

My goal above was to take a neutral tone in my thoughts and really look at the reality of what is happening in the USA today and provide some thought provoking questions that we all need to consider as we COULD be headed in a very bad direction in this country unless we start to focus on the real truth.

Here is the post on Facebook and you have the option to comment below as well.

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Why Podcasters and Listeners Should Care About Dynamic Ad Insertion?

Simply put “Dynamically Inserted Advertising” puts audio ads in podcast episode downloads and it stays there for a certain amount of time and then it stops being inserted when it’s reached a certain number of purchased impressions via downloads and plays.

“But one must be hyper-cautious of annoying audiences with bad ads and too many ads with this technology. The tech is not so much the issue, but how it is used.”

Ideally, all ads in podcasts should be read by the podcast host, an approach that can work with dynamic ad insertion.

One needs to be careful to make sure the listener experience isn’t degraded at all from this ad delivery method. One must be mindful of where the ad break is placed inside or at the beginning of the content. One also needs to be mindful that using music fades around dynamic ads must be thought through.

Some may run dynamic ad insertion with more traditional radio ad type spots with the big brand advertisers and those may not be as well received by listeners. But, if talent read ads are done correctly they would not disrupt the long-standing host read experience listeners to podcasts have become accustomed to. No listener would know we’re using ad insertion to deliver a host read or regular old 15 or 30 sec radio spot because it sounds the same as our other ads they are used to hearing.

“Given all the warnings, dynamic ad insertion is rapidly becoming the de facto way of doing business in the Podcasting space, but some media buyers are resisting the shift from baked in live host read ads.”

Reality is that there will be a flood of inventory in the space and the CPM rates will likely plummet unless we see more ad targeting in podcasting as a buffer to keep CPM’s up.

Dynamic Ad Insertion and Programmatic type ad marketplaces and buying bring risk of commodification of ad impressions in downloads.

Forward-looking podcasters will figure out what their premium content offering products will be to offset these drops in CPM or ad revenue. Podcasters need to diversify by combining audio with video and click-through ads is part of the solution, but some will be able to sell subscriptions, live performance tickets and other products that add value to their listeners.

This growing form of advertising in podcasts will impact listeners and content creators in a positive or negative way depending on how it is implemented.

Keep an ear out for it and time will tell if it turns out positive or negative.

Listen to “SLS105: Podcast Discovery and Ad Insertion” on Spreaker.

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Nine Evolutions of Podcasting In 2017

By Rob Greenlee

Predicting the coming year of podcasting is a little more challenging than usual because, in my mind, the 13-year-old medium has been maturing very fast. Unfortunately, growth and innovation will be slow in coming this next year.  It is true that podcasting’s best days are ahead and we do have many developing trends that will enable the medium to grow its creators and listeners.

For a little perspective, the podcasting medium was a revolution when it began between 2004 through 2007.  Since then, podcasting has been chugging along at a slow, unrevolutionary but steady growth trajectory for many years.  It is true that podcasting awareness and listening grew a little faster over the past 2 years with the heightened media coverage of the reality and fictional storytelling podcasts.

The continuing evolution of podcasting in 2017 will be good for the industry, but those breakthroughs in media coverage and technology innovation will be lacking this next year.  I would really like to be all glowing in my predictions for podcasting in 2017, but I believe we need to be realistic and understand that the significant market improvements around this medium have mostly happened already.  What we will see is incremental improvements in these core areas next year.

I am hoping to be surprised by the emergence of a new content genre or audio experience that will drive the next big wave of awareness for podcasting.  It is very likely that this content genre could be big budget storytelling podcasts coming out of Hollywood and large corporate investments in brand marketing motivated original content productions.

I also think that independent podcasters will continue to be the dominant force in podcasting with most listeners enjoying those smaller shows across many genres.  Many are predicting the decline of the independent smaller podcasters, but that is wishful thinking by those from larger shows wanting less competition in the podcasting market.

Below are my thoughts around the important podcasting evolutions in 2017.

Listen to “SLS94: Nine Evolutions of Podcasting In 2017” on Spreaker.

9. Hosting distribution platforms will develop better tools to help monetizing smaller and larger shows easier.

The need to assist monetization of shows with smaller download numbers will be given more attention in 2017. New easy to use tools will be available to all levels of podcasts and on demand audio shows.  These tools will offer many levels of monetization opportunities from advertising with host and talent reads.  The combination of programmatic ad buying tools with powerful campaign CMS tools will appear to enable trafficking advertiser messages across hundreds of shows in one campaign.  This should bring revenue to smaller shows that are producing great content and building loyal listener followings.

I do not think most premium paid podcast shows will produce very much revenue this coming year, as has been the case for every other year. A few very large shows will find some sales revenue from this, but very few shows that convert to premium audio will generate significant revenue like has been done for many years around audio books and music.  That will continue into 2017 because the tools for doing this really need some technological innovation and should be based on open RSS with password protected episodes and open feeds.

8. Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) continued march towards podcasting download metric standards.

The IAB Podcasting working group that represents most of the largest players in podcasting today will continue to take a leadership role around creating foundational advertising best practices and measurement standards.  This group has put out a guidelines document in 2016, but in 2017 we should see more technical standards recommendations.

https://www.iab.com/guidelines/podcast-ad-metrics-guidelines/

7. In-car dash consumption of podcasts will continue to replace radio listening in the car.

Some will tell you that In-Car entertainment systems are not important to the growth and development of on demand audio and podcasting because these systems are generally disliked by consumers and are just glorified Bluetooth audio player devices. At this stage, these in-dash systems are integrating complete and software updatable solutions and are being deployed in all new cars.  This wave of change is in full deployment that will take many years to be fully realized. The impact and significance of it will grow in importance and be felt more the new year as more of these cars will be sold every day.  Internet data connections in these cars will continue to get cheaper and software upgrades will continue to improve these experiences. This evolution will truly start to replace radio for many drivers with terrific on-demand audio podcasting content.

6. Personal voice agents (Alexa/Echo, Google Home, Siri and Cortana) devices will enable more in-home listening growth.

Smart voice agents will have a larger impact on podcasting in 2017 as these devices and services get integrated into all sorts of devices, including car in-dash, kitchen appliances, and living room and bathroom devices with internet connections. The biggest impact will come from the Amazon Echo with Alexa skills that enable server side voice services to include search and play of audio podcasts by voice request.

5. Dynamic ad insertion partnered with Programmatic Advertising Buying and Trafficking tools technology will improve.

Dynamic ad insertion technology enables audio advertising and other segmented audio to be dynamically inserted by servers into mp3 audio files in pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll in a specified location in the mp3 audio file, much like a book being slid onto a bookshelf of books.  In the coming new year, we will see more use of this technology to enable all levels of shows to better monetize.  This tool will be combined with online programmatic ad buying and campaign trafficking tools to more easily distribute commercial advertising messages.

4. Some host read advertising will morph into more host-like “Talent Reads”.

Podcast advertising was built on what is called “Host Endorsed Advertising Reads” and, in the new year, it will continue to grow in importance to the increasing advertising revenue in podcasting today.  The issue is related to talent and time needed to record these host-endorsed reads. Thus, we will see a shift towards having talented voice-over artists record more host reads. We will see two tiers of host reads: ones done by the actual show host and those done by talented ad readers that produce the advertising message in the same method as the show host would record them.

3. Short-segment social media sharing and playback growth.

Podcasts today grow audiences by word of mouth. We will see more platforms support the social media sharing of short segments from audio programs on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

2. Live audio recording to podcasting grow.

One of the leading trends online has been and will continue to be enabling Live video and audio.  An example of this is the recent decision on the part of Facebook to enable Live audio streaming on its closed platform.  Some podcasting distribution platforms combine live audio streaming and recording to then be encoded into mp3 files.  Content creators and listeners like the interactivity of Live. Therefore, this will continue to grow in 2017.

1. Android takes a larger share of the podcasting listening market.

Mobile devices, including Smartphones running Android OS, will continue to progressively and more rapidly expand podcast listener audiences in 2017.

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Finding Podcastings’ Listening Simplicity

By Rob Greenlee
Every time I step into a car with an AM/FM radio, I am reminded about the concept of simplicity and ease of use as key reasons why radio grew to have such a large listening audience.

When I contrast the current in-car radio experience with present podcast usability, the AM/FM radio experience is still winning the simplicity test and audiences today.

We have seen usability and simplicity gains of on demand audio and podcasting technology over the past 10 years. This adoption has started to erode the listener base of in-car radio and is causing a gradual increase in on demand audio podcasts usage. The iPod synchronization model using a cable of the past has been replaced by always internet connected smartphones and mobile computing devices that has driven the improvements in simplicity and access to on demand podcast audio content to more and more people.

The power of radio is linked to creating a more lean back type of experience around getting the content, but the content we are getting via radio just may not always be what we really want at that moment. Over the past 30 years, we have expected audio content to be managed for us by human curation.

Human curation of audio and original content creation has always been strength of broadcast radio stations, but over time we have seen the gradual erosion of the content quality and originality at radio stations as the cost of curation and creation has gone up. This drove increased need to monetize radio stations businesses and thus causing radio listeners to dislike the amount of commercial advertising spots.

Smartphones and smart agent technologies like Siri, Cortana and Alexa/Echo are pushing into a new era of machine learning, voice interaction and artificial intelligence that will understand our interests and favorites to better deliver podcasts we want when we want them anywhere. This machine learning and artificial intelligence will drive understanding that is contextual to location and interests in the car center around things like music, local news, traffic, weather and local sports events. These mobile technologies will also know and correlated with other data from searches and other media consumption patterns.

This direction seems complex and potentially confusing to podcast listeners, but I think it will bring ease of use and more simplicity to listener consumption of podcast content as we look into the future.

The best example of this is the Amazon Alexa/Echo interactive voice platform and its move to becoming an internet of things platform with podcasts being available upon voice request and management from many types of devices in our homes, work and cars.

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Podcasting Metrics Debate moves to War of Words with Public Radio

Some podcasting platform players are getting all upset with many large Public Radio groups putting out Podcasting Measurement Specs that give the impression to some that they are declaring war on the long established podcasting space.

“I don’t entirely agree they are “Declaring War on Podcasting Space“.

We just need to agreed on podcasting metric standard fast via IAB Podcast Working Group or this type of stuff will keep happening out of frustration.

“No one can own this podcasting standard.”

They did put it out public and, whether right or wrong, it is a reality that many in the podcasting space do not see consistency in metrics in the podcasting space.

“This public radio doc is a symptom of the problem and not the problem.”

We all know what needs to happen (RadioInk) to avoid this and keep it out of the press. Declaring it a war just brings more negative attention to the problem that does exists that is being referred to as the “Wild West”.

Here are my thoughts on the above topic with the help of Elsie and Jessica of ShePodcasts.com

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Spreaker Live Show #39: Podcasting Down Under w/Joel Zammit, Host SansPantsRadio.com

Here is another episode of the Spreaker Live Show #39 for Dec 30th, 2015.  My guest this week is Joel Zammit, Business Manager and Host at SansPantsRadio.com in Australia.  Joel is co-host of the “”Plumbing The Death Star” podcast from SansPants and is also an Media Lecturer/Tutor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.

He has been operating SansPants Radio since 2011 and is part of Spreaker’s Adore.fm Podcast Network. SansPants produces 5 podcasts out of a studio in Austraila called “Plumbing the Death Star”, which is a flagship show from the group, others are “Shut up a Second”, “D&D is For Nerds”, “Movie Maintenance” and a new show called “It’s Just Good Business”.

Show Discussion Topics:
– Joel talks about his background, how SansPants start creating shows?
– Discussion about their Melbourne studios and the team of great co-hosts in shows
– We run through each show and give a run down on what is interesting about each show?
– iTunes selected “Plumbing The Death Star” and “D&D is For Nerds” as a Top podcast in 2015
– What is SansPants approach to podcasting on the content side, what are you trying to do?
– What is “Cool” now about podcasting as younger people are not typically interested in podcasting?

Show Links:
http://SansPantsRadio.com
http://Adore.fm
http://blog.spreaker.com
http://SpreakerLiveShow.com
https://Spreaker.com
Video Demo of “Spreaker Podcast Radio” App for Android

Send Questions and Comments to:
@Spreaker on Twitter using #SpreakerLive
Tech Support: support at spreaker.com
Rob Greenlee: Rob at Spreaker.com and http://twitter.com/robgreenlee

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2016 Podcasting and Radio Predictions

I see that 2016 will bring continued and steady growth in the on demand audio and podcast markets though with some consolidation of larger players.

I do see a danger of expectations outpacing the realities around the adoption of on demand audio and podcasting by radio groups and stations.

Radio and Podcasting/On Demand audio will converging more in 2016, but the pace of this convergence between radio and podcasting is a 5+ year evolving direction as radio continues its slow decline and on demand / podcasts grows in listeners and content producers.  So, don’t expect huge progress this coming year.

Content will continue to rule this era in the podcasting and on demand audio market.  I do fear the buzz in the media about podcasting is creating a level of unrealistic expectations for the podcasting market.  The very few are benefiting from this heightened attention to our disruptive medium called “Podcasting”.

We are still early in having one or many major distribution and listening platforms that really are offering the compete solution that will take this medium to the next level.  This will happen as more investment comes into the medium and innovative companies can innovate more.  We are seeing the beginnings of this with a few companies, but we are still a few years away and many millions of dollars short.

I still think that podcast listening and download measurement is still too fragmented in the market.  This is holding back the market as many companies are trying to own measurement as a competitive feature.  This must change and we all get on the same measurement standard for the advertising revenue scale into the billions.

Watch me talk about 2016 predictions below in this past Saturday’s New Media Show episode.

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Spreaker Live Show #35: Podcast as Radio, Mat Kaplan, Host Planetary Radio

I get behind the mic with Mat Kaplan, Planetary Radio Producer/Host is an official show from “The Planetary Society” led by CEO Bill Nye.  The show visits with a scientist, engineer, project manager, astronaut, advocate or writer who provides a unique and exciting perspective on the exploration of our solar system and beyond.

Topics on the Live Show:
– Hear a clip from show with Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye and StarTalk Radio’s Neil Degrasse Tyson
– He tells us about the Planetary Radio Show on broadcast and online radio
– When did he start podcasting the show?
– When did it start as a podcast and then become a radio show?
– How has the show production changed over the years?
– What is the purpose and mission of the Planetary Society?
– Recorded a screen capture video demo of new Spreaker Podcast Radio app for Android
– New updated Spreaker Studio app for Windows/Mac with microphone volume boost and audio limiting
– Show Promo clip from Alex Z aka theZim host of “Word On the Street” podcast

Spreaker Links:
http://www.planetary.org
http://WOTSPodcast.com
Spreaker Podcast Radio App Demo
http://Adore.fm
http://SpreakerLiveShow.com
https://Spreaker.com

Send Questions and Comments to:
@Spreaker on Twitter using #SpreakerLive
Tech Support: support (at) spreaker.com
Rob Greenlee: Rob at Spreaker.com

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Video Demo: Spreaker Podcast Radio App for Android

Here is a 12 minute YouTube video demo that I recorded of the new “Spreaker Podcast Radio” app for android that offers a lean-back radio like experiences with podcasts. Give it a watch and then give it a try if you are an android device user. It would be great to get your feedback on the app to rob (at) spreaker (dotcom).

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New Media Show #109: Todd Cochrane and Rob Greenlee Chat Podcasting

Todd Cochrane (@GeekNews) and Rob Greenlee (@RobGreenlee) discuss the challenges of some of the new podcasting platforms when it comes to live integration for the show. The new Triton announcement by Blubrry. They also discuss a recent Westwood One “State of American Podcasting” webinar and some of the shared data points.

Catch a new Live episode this coming Saturday, November 28th at 9am PST at New Media Show Live.

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Spreaker Live Show #34: Podcasts vs Radio Content with Steven Goldstein

In episode 34, I get behind the mic together with Steven Goldstein as his guest, discussing the relationship between podcasts and radio content.  Steven is CEO of AmplifiMedia.com, is recognized as a thought leader in audio programming, marketing, and management. He has developed numerous successful radio brands and nurtured and advanced local and national talent at NBC Radio, CBS Radio, and Sega Communications.  

We discuss the following topics:

– Most audio today is still consumed in real-time on the radio, but how rapidly is that changing with on-demand content? 

– How is podcasting, or on-demand audio, altering the big business of broadcast radio? 

– How are podcasts different than radio? 

– How can audio content creators better understand the space and develop strategies to optimize it?

– How should a new or existing content creator and radio folks think about the podcasting medium? 

– Listen in to Adore.fm‘s Podcast Network Promo: Aaron Roden of the Air-Raid Podcast drops bombs of awesome music in your earholes.

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New Media Show #108 Todd & Rob talk on Blab

Todd Cochrane @geeknews and I @robgreenlee do the the NewMediaShow.com last Saturday, Nov 15th on Blab.im due to Todd’s travel. We talk about the podcasting space and have a number of podcasters join us. We discuss doing podcasts on Blab.im and we discuss various new products from Spreaker.com and RawVoice PowerPress Plugin.

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Are Podcasts and Music A Perfect Match?

By Rob Greenlee

The match between podcasts and music has been around since the early days of podcasting at small places like Apple iTunes and Microsoft Zune, the two major distribution platforms for podcasting in its embryonic stage of the mediums development. I worked on the Zune Music and Podcasts team from 2007 till 2014 and saw first-hand the synergies between the two mediums. Then when Apple launched the app store for the iPhone, the craze around apps drove music, video, radio and podcasts into separate apps on mobile. The other historical reference here is the many decades long experience that broadcast radio listeners have had around music, news and talk programming being right next to each other in millions of cars on the radio dial.

“This movement towards separating music from podcasts built for years as each medium felt like they needed to have a unique experience for each area without really thinking about the successful history of music and spoken word riding on the same platform or experience.”

I have been puzzled by the growing separation for years now and saw it happen at Microsoft when Zune was folded into Xbox brand and service. They separated music out from podcasts area because everyone else was doing it, not because it was really better for users to keep them combined like in iTunes and Zune. Over 3 years ago, I pitched the then GM for Xbox Music and told him that users wanted podcasts in the Xbox music app. I never even got a response or a reply.

Competitors in online music services like Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Slacker, Xbox Music, Deezer, Google Play Music and the new Apple Music streaming music service have and will spent many years battling with music labels and royalties rates making most of those companies teeter on the edge of insolvency.

The market for online radio streaming services like iHeartRadio, TuneIn, Live365 is crowded and some have been struggling with the same type financial issues as the streaming music services. TuneIn and Live365 are making it, but I am sure it is not easy in such a competitive market. The other major players in the market for online audio are offering 360 degree services for content providers at all levels from hosting, live streaming, recording, aggregator and podcasting to the growing on demand audio like AudioBoom, Spreaker and BlogTalkRadio.

Another level of services is just plain content aggregator’s like Stitcher, iTunes, Overcast, BeyondPod and the online radio streaming services Then another level of platform is the basic hosting platforms and streaming platforms like SoundCloud, Libsyn, Blubrry, BuzzSprout and PodBean.

The answer now is that online streaming music services are finally coming around to adding on demand spoken word audio and podcasts to their services? This is now a significant trend line with Google Play and Spotify adding Podcasts.

The question is how will podcasts be integrated into streaming music services and I think the answer is simple. Music and podcasts are like tracks or episodes the only big difference is duration and frequency of plays. Some podcasts are the same duration as music, but most are much longer. You will just create your own personalized playlists or more lean-back radio-like experience in app like Spreaker Podcast Radio. These services offer music and podcast episodes from the artists/podcaster of listeners choosing.

“Personalization is the key to making this all work as we are living in an on demand and take charge of your media culture now. Listeners need to be given more control, but yet enable the platform to help present programs that based on your interests, social graph and history to deliver those options.”

We are living in an exciting and scary time as our devices are going to be taking over more control of our day to day lives and podcasting will be impacted by it in very natural interfaces with yours and recommended content via voice and gesture. The future is interesting and will be full of surprises in our car, homes and devices.

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Podcasting business models that work and do not

By Rob Greenlee

The podcasting aggregator model has been flawed since the earliest days of podcasting and cannot be easily monetized; it means that podcast only distribution aggregator platforms or so called “Podcatchers” have had a difficult time generating revenue and profit to support ongoing development investment. Today, most if not all the revenue in the podcasting space today comes from media file hosting and host read advertising in podcast content that is paid directly to the content creators and advertising sales groups.

“Podcast only distribution aggregrator platforms or so called “Podcatchers” have had a difficult time generating revenue and profit to support ongoing development investment.”

Redistribution and aggregator only platforms like Stitcher try to generate revenue from running banner ad type advertising and audio spot advertising around shows they do not generally have the rights to do without sharing some of that revenue with the podcast content creators. The problem is that the content creator is not getting a cut of that revenue in most cases. Because of this many of those content creators are starting to objecting to it and pulling content down off of places like Stitcher. Stitcher has had very flawed business model and had to sell to a large streaming music service based in Europe called Deezer for much less than the amount of cash invested in it by venture capitalists.

“This redistribution model is coming to Google Play, Spotify in the present and future, but many content providers have pushed back on that practice.”

The other issue with Stitcher has been the cache and redistribution of audio files that caused many issues in the past. This downloading of podcast audio files, re-encoding and hosting of the media was done to optimize the playback experience on mobile devices. This redistribution model is coming to Google Play, Spotify in the present and future, but many content providers have pushed back on that practice as it degraded the audio quality and caused fragmented or incomplete audience metrics.

I think that podcast business models with multiple revenue sources are the key to long term success. This might be obvious to many, but as we look into the future this is going to become very important for new entrepreneur’s to understand about the podcasting industry. I believe that gone are the days of opening a very narrowly focused podcasting business and expect it to thrive and survive. The exception to some of this are the hosting only platform businesses like Libsyn, Blubrry, Spreaker and Podbean and advertising sales agencies like PodTrac, Midroll Media and PodcastOne. The companies that focus on media file hosting with metrics services have had a strong history of thriving and the advertising sales focused companies have more recently seen increasing viability and success as the medium grows.

We are seeing content focused companies like Slate, PodcastOne, Earwolf, ESPN, TWiT.TV and many others experiencing increasing revenue growth. The future of content focused media companies is strong. The business models for these companies are starting to be built on multiple revenue streams. These streams are rooted in advertising; live events and television show development.

The other important area of growth is with full spectrum on demand audio and podcasting platforms like Spreaker.com, AudioBoom and Blog Talk Radio. Many will disagree with Blog Talk Radio being an example of the future of profitable podcasting platforms, but think that ease of listening; advertising sales in combination with revenue generating audio creation tools is a future business model that works.

I have been hearing for years that many platforms have been working on adding easier content creation to the cloud using apps functionality, but many of those have never seen a release. I think that was a mistake and leaves open the door to the development of a leading platform supporting all aspects of listening, live streaming, media file hosting. RSS feed creation, advertising sales, audience engagement tools and detailed distribution metrics.

Many have thought that SoundCloud could be that leading platform for podcasters, but I am wondering about their commitment to content creation and open syndication. Spreaker.com might just be that future platform with all the potential to be the YouTube of the podcasting space that has multiple revenue streams that span media hosting, app development, advertising sales and other creative services. Spreaker will also share ad revenue. They recently released a new app for iOS that is targeted at content creators to do live shows and record on demand shows. I believe that to succeed a company must live in all parts of the industry and find many services to offer its listeners and content creators who often times are the same users.

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Any Truth to Podcasting Renaissance?

By Rob Greenlee

It seems like podcasting or on-demand audio is in the middle of a burst of media and entrepreneurial interest.  This increased interest in podcasting is occurring because of a convergence of events that have been building for a few years now.

Many newer people to the podcasting community, listeners and media all sense sudden fast track growth and profitability.  This recent perception has been fueled by many major articles on large media sites like Washington Post and Fast Company.  These articles often reference the “Serial” podcast and exuded the renewed birth of podcasting and its profitability stemming from the growth and success of podcast networks.  Big podcast shows are getting plenty of advertisers and making lots of money, but smaller shows are still struggling to make solid revenue. Revenue to smaller podcast shows is coming as the overall audience for podcasts or on demand audio grows.

“I hate to pop the bubble here, but podcasting has been on a steady rise in usage, content, content quality and ease of distribution for many years now.  Successful and profitable podcast programs and networks have been around for many years.” 

What we have been seeing is just a steady increase in all areas around podcasting and on-demand audio as the 10 year old medium matures.  We did not get here overnight and the media interest and content we are seeing talked about now has been around for many years.  The Adam Carolla Podcast started in 2009 and many of the popular public radio programs started 4 or 5 years ago now as well.

It is easy to be a little cynical about the hype and media coverage of today as we have seen it all before, many times.  Even going back to 2004 and 2005, when “Wired” magazine ran a front page cover story proclaiming how podcasting was going to “Kill Radio” and showed a bullet crashing through a table top radio receiver.  Like I have said, we have been here and seen this all before.  The difference is that back then podcasting was a bunch of smoke and mirrors.  It was an upstart medium that no one really understood. Much of that has changed now and we are finally starting to see the broadcast radio industry start to recognize that on-demand audio may actually be the threat that they did not concern themselves with back in 2005.

The suggested renaissance of podcasting is being driven by an explosion of new quality podcast content from every potential source you can imagine.  Comedy podcasts are booming as well as every other genre of content, from religious podcasts to shows from reality stars like Snooki and Brandi Glanville.  Former Pro Wrestlers are also building a strong new genre in the sports category.  YouTube stars are starting to build successful audio podcasts with the launch of the Tyler Oakly’s “Psycho Babble” podcast.

We have also been seeing a steady shift of nationally syndicated talk radio talkers moving to becoming more cross-media brands with TV shows and podcasts. This recognition of the big broadcast radio networks and stations is a huge trend coming for 2015 and beyond.

Podcasting conference events like The New Media Expo (NMX) in Las Vegas next April 13-15, which is going to be co-presented with the huge National Association of Broadcasters annual conference, Podcast Movement in Texas and the recent Los Angeles Podcast Festival that focused on live comedy podcast shows.  LA PodFest was a show fan event with educational podcasting sessions.

“Podcasting or on-demand audio is growing fast since the hype of YouTube video and Social Media has subsided somewhat and smartphones have exploded in adoption.  This is the opening for a renaissance of spoken-word audio as the medium shifts to become an on-demand medium like video and music has become.  It has just taken spoken-word audio and podcasting a little bit longer to develop than broadcast radio.”

The future is bright again for audio with the coming smart car dashboards and head units.  Apple is rolling out “CarPlay” and Google’s Android operating system is getting installed more and more into cars of the future.  This means that the growth of spoken-word audio apps on your phone and installed into your car smart dashboards will bring a new audio experience to our cars via our smartphones or directly to the car dash via very fast data plans.

Look for podcasting and on-demand spoken-word audio to continue its march up the mountain called “Renaissance”.

Originally distributed in Podertainment Magazine.

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