Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Pod of Contention

As an add-on to the previous post, I thought I should raise what has become a bone of contention among early podcasters regarding the “ideal” podcast. I truly believe that the next stage in the evolution of “multi-mediacasts” (audiocasts a.k.a podcasts and videocasts) is here. I also would like to stir a discussion on what we as marketers believe are important barriers to adoption of podcasts from a corporate perspective and how we could overcome it.

Let’s start with the length of podcasts – one of the seemingly obvious barriers to podcast adoption. It all started with a simple frustration aired by Phil Sim, Managing Director of MediaConnect Worldwide and MediaConnect Australia. (Check out Phil’s blog here).

There’s a lot of things I can do in an hour. Maybe, I’ve just got a short attention span but listening to an unedited dialogue for sixty minutes is not one of those I’m going to make a habit. When podcasters start respecting my time and edit out the crap to fit it into my 15 to 20 min lunch break, well then I just may start having more respect for their podcasts.

Leo LaPorte, the host of TWiT gave the closing keynote at Podcast Academy, and referred to some recent surveys that supported the long-is-better theory:

TWiT is 120 minutes. Over 20,000 listeners in a poll said they wanted the longer format. TWiT’s audience wants it to be more technical, not less technical. Treat your audience right—they’re intelligence. Super-serve the niche. That’s critical in narrowcast media.

Let me preface the rest of the post by saying that I believe the LONG podcast format will rule when iTv takes over. However, under present listening/streaming conditions, listening to a 2 hour long podcast for the common user may not work out. I’d agree with Leo that for technophile early-adopters, 2 hours may not seem long, but if podcasting is to grow into mainstream media, the content consumption channel has to evolve. Until then, the only way to stir adoption is through one of two methods:

a. Create brief snippets of podcasts (max: 10 – 15 minutes in length) for ease-of-hear

b. Provide a way for users to search for info within multi-media content

I’m glad to announce, Option b is here. There are increasingly new ways to help search and find specific info within multi-media content. I’d presume that this would be the “Holy Grail” for Google — given their preeminence in the search industry. But, looks like there are a few other companies that are establishing themselves as pioneers in this space…

Possible Solutions:
Now there are possible solutions to the above-mentioned LONG podcast scenario and rather than re-phrase what I read on TechCrunch, let me instead offer links to web 2.0 multimedia search-and-tag offerings that range from “The Google of Podcasting” to “the del.icio.us for Video content”?

1. Video-Tagging: Provides an overview of all the cool new services that enable easier search of multimedia content.

2. Podcast tracking: Want to track-and-monitor the stats for your new podcast service. Check out Ripple from RadioTail. Here’s a techcrunch writeup on the service.

3. Podcasting’s Google: Want to search within audio files? Pluggd is an interesting new service that allows you to search for specific keywords within multimedia files thereby allowing you to skip portions that don’t interest you.

4. Podzinger: The precursor to Pluggd, this service offers an alternative to audio-video search and seems to have evolved into a much more user-friendly & effective search tool.

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