International Podcasting Expo

Just a heads up that I’m participating in a virtual expo on podcasting. Click on the banner above to find out how you can attend as an exhibitor, attendee or even as a sponsor.

If you view the seminar schedule, you’ll see that I’m speaking on 2 topics:

Friday April 21st @ 11pm ET – What Makes (Or Breaks) A Podcast – Podcast Listeners Speak

Sunday April 23rd @ 4pm ET – 7 Ways to Turn Podcast Listeners Into Clients

If you really want to find out what makes podcast listeners tick, you have to attend the session I’m hosting on the 21st. Tickets to get into this virtual event are only $11. Click here to purchase your ticket.

Plus, there’s a whole bunch of cool prizes that will be given away during the expo. You can see the list here (look on the right hand side). I’m contributing copies of an ebook I’m co-authoring called Jump Start Your Podcast (released later this spring) and a CD called How to Turn Listeners Into Clients.

No podcast listeners? Think again!

About a week ago, critics of podcasting were cheering a report released by Forrester Research that only 3% of the 5,051 people surveyed said they’ve ever tried listening to a podcast.

“See,” critics sneered. “Podcasting is just a fad.”

Feedburner Podcasting Market Report Well, hold on bronco! Feedburner just released a report with actual numbers – not guestimates from surveys of a small sample of people – that show that those who subscribe to podcasts are now in the millions. Just under 1.6-million to be more exact.

How does Feedburner measure this? Well, they have snazzy statistics that help podcast producers know how many people subscribe to their podcast, which podcatcher subscribers are using and some other cool stuff.

The report went on to highlight these points:

  • There are just under 45,000 podcasts serving just under 1.6-million podcast subscribers.
  • Twenty percent of all new feeds created through Feedburner are podcast feeds.
  • Podcast feeds have grown 15% each month between June 2005 and April 2006.
  • Fifty-seven percent of podcast listeners use iTunes to access their podcasts.
  • The viral nature of podcast feeds means that they’re resyndicated, thus increasing its reach.
  • Based on current growth, there will be over 100,000 podcasts and 5-million podcast subscribers by the end of this year.
  • Podcasters will start making money and demanding the tools to help them measure their listenership.

Interesting. I still hold firm that podcasting is the wave of the future, especially in light of declining radio listenership.

Measuring the return on podcasting investment

I met with a prospect this morning, trying to convince him that he needed to add podcasting to his online marketing mix. While he was intrigued, he questioned the ROI. In particular, he wanted to know how one can measure the podcasting results.

Okay, I can understand why one would want to measure podcasts. But my goodness, why is it that people put so much pressure on internet marketing tools? No one would go to television network and say, “For my 30-second ad, how many actual viewers watched it? No, not just the CPM, I mean actual numbers?”

No marketing director can tell me that a person walked into their car dealership or that someone chose one shaving gel over another as a direct result of an ad they viewed on TV or heard on the radio.

I’m not talking about brand awareness. I’m talking about the direct correlation between someone seeing an ad on TV and then going to their grocery store to buy that item off the shelf. Those type of metrics don’t exist, not unless you run a specific contest or other campaign.

So, why is podcasting being treated differently?

Let me interrupt your FM feed

I’m not entirely sure about this approach to advertising, but it merits discussion. A company in the US is using an FM transmitter that plugs into your iPod to transmit its ads.

This kind of reminds me of something that happened to my sister over the weekend. She went to use the washroom at 3am and the scented puffer thing she bought that emits pretty smells once every hour went off as she opened the door. She told me that she nearly had a heart attack thinking that someone was hiding in wait.

I liken my sister’s experience to this ad transmitter service. Totally useless. Consumers don’t want more ads. They don’t want more clutter in their otherwise busy days. Although ad spending is going up, the attention span of consumer in regards to those ads are going down.

Can the FM transmitter approach. It will be ignored and seen as intrusive.

Who will win the online downloads war?

Here are 3 different approaches that broadcasters are using to make their TV shows available online.

Here’s how all 3 stack up:

  • Fox is using a complicated revenue-share to offer its content for downloads.
  • ABC is using an ad-supported model and will offer its content to be downloaded for free.
  • NBC will offer its content for a small fee.

I have mixed feelings about all 3 approaches, but the broadcaster who offers their content for a small fee and has no ads in it will win out in the long run.

Even my boomer dad gets it

Yesterday, I visited my dad to have an Easter Sunday dinner. He’s a Baby Boomer and at 59 years old, he said something to me that lets me know that he “gets it.” Although he has never been online, he certainly understands why certain industries, such as broadcasting, are doing so poorly while podcasting is taking off.

Over roasted chicken and rice & peas, my dad talked about the reasons why he would never pay for cable (although he’s had it for years – don’t ask).

He said:

“The cable companies show me the same thing over and over, so why the heck would I ever pay for it? Give the people what they want, or they’ll go somewhere else to find it.”

Little did he know that he’s talking about the exact phenomenon that’s sweeping the Internet right now – on demand content. It’s the reason why more and more broadcasters are offering their TV shows as a download through iTunes (albeit for a fee). It’s the reason why podcasting is taking off.

Cable companies and broadcasters need to wake up. In the words of my boomer dad, “Give the people what they want, when they want it.”