Podcasting Basics for Small Business Owners
acim is a means to publish audio and video content to the world via the Internet. It is spreading quickly because of the rapid adoption of MP3 players, and the desire of owners to have fresh content. Podcasting is not unlike time-shifted video software and devices like TiVo, which let you watch what you want when you want by recording and storing video, except that podcasting is used for audio and is currently free of charge.
Podcasting, created by former MTV VJ Adam Curry, is a term that was devised as a crisp way to describe the technology used to push audio content from websites down to consumers of that content, who typically listen to it on their iPod (hence the “pod”) or other audio player that supports mp3 at their convenience. Podcasting has been described as TiVo for Internet audio, because it lets users save content digitally, and replay it at their convenience. Podcasting can be used for publishing any type of audio, and some developers are exploring the idea of using the same techniques to publish video and other types of content. Podcasting became popular in 2004 and nowadays you can find it on a huge amount of websites.
Audio Content Delivered
In a nutshell, podcasting is simply online audio content that’s delivered via web feed. So far, most podcasts emulate the kind of audio programming we’ve grown accustomed to in the radio world: music shows, talk shows, commentary and analysis, etc. Podcasting is delivering audio content to iPods and other portable media players on demand, so that it can be listened to at the user’s convenience. Podcasting can be used for publishing any type of audio, and some developers are exploring the idea of using the same techniques to publish video and other types of content.
You are the Media
Not surprisingly, musicians and bloggers are prevalent among the early adopters, but mainstream media organizations, including ZDNet and National Public Radio (NPR), are beginning to venture into podcasting as well. Though podcasters’ web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
If the podcasting industry wants to make a dent into the media market that goes beyond reaching 1% of US households, things have to change fast (though it is a global medium for sure, Europe at least has adopted podcasting even less than the US). Podcast feeds (those that contain a media enclosure) represent just under 20% of all FeedBurner feeds and this percentage is consistent with the more than 1,000 new feeds created every day at FeedBurner.
Some podcasts have a very large audience, like NPR’s On The Media from WNYC, New York Public Radio, with more than 16,000 loyal subscribers (and as many as 40,000 who download media right from the Web site).