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Podcasting for Publishers

How online publishers are using podcasts to expand their brand, increase customer loyalty and make more money online

Parks Associates predicts that by 2012, “broadband media” such as online streaming video, podcasts and ad-supported music and video download services will make up more than half ($6.6 billion) of the total ($12.6 billion) revenue the U.S. generates in advertising.

Successful podcast publishers distribute their podcasts at least once a week. If you’re the New York Times, it makes sense to distribute a daily podcast with today’s top headlines, however it’s certainly not necessary for the rest of us. While this article doesn’t focus on the content of a podcast, Furrier.org has a great article on content and production rules for podcasting.

Ways to incorporate podcasting into your business model:

If you are already offering online video, it’s practically a no-brainer to offer those videos as podcasts for your users. However, publishers that are not currently distributing their content on these new media platforms may find it more of a struggle to decide how to take advantage of this newer technology. If you are one of these publishers, try a few of these on for size:

  • Audio conference recordings (for sale)
  • Video tutorials (for sale or free)
  • Interviews (for free)
  • Best headlines from the day or week (for free)
  • Video travel guides (for sale or free)
  • Author and editor bios and introductions (for free)

Who listens to podcasts?

In 2006, males were 26% more likely than females to download a podcast, ages 18-24 and 35-44 downloaded the most, users with $50,000-75,000 and $100,000+ incomes were more likely to download a podcast, and users with a college/graduate degree were also most likely.

In 2007, males are only 1% more likely to download a podcast, users are more likely between the ages of 24 and 44, incomes are almost equal except for the 10% that have an income of less than $25,000, and a college degree still stands on top.

[Source: eMarketer.com: 2006 and 2007]

Newsletter and magazine publishers using podcasts:

  • Computerworld (weekly: interviews, biggest news stories and IT trends)
  • People (weekly: opinions and Q&A and latest buzz)
  • The New York Times (daily/weekly: book reviews, front page, all sections of the newspaper)
  • Johns Hopkins Health Alerts (weekly: a variation of latest health alerts)
  • Wine Spectator (weekly: video interviews and wine tasting)
  • Make (weekly: best weekend projects)
  • The Onion (semi-daily: video clips of latest “news”)
  • National Geographic (weekly: audio and video travel guides, music coverage and wildlife adventures)
  • BusinessWeek (daily: cover stories, market reports and other sections)
  • Photoshop User (weekly: video Photoshop tutorials, news, tips, and interviews)

What did some of the larger podcast broadcasters report for 2007?

While the below numbers are impressive, iTunes makes up for 70% of all podcast downloads (and they don’t release their numbers), but you can see below that it needs to be in the tens of billions.

  • Wizzard reported over 1 billion downloads
  • Revision3 reported over 100 million “clips” and 25 million “shows” downloaded
  • NextNewNetworks reported over 100 million downloads

How publishers are making money from podcasts:

  • Subscriptions
  • Audio and video advertisements
  • Advertising with Feedburner or AdSense in podcast transcript feeds
  • Free with a paid product
  • Sponsorship
  • Exchange for email
  • Using it as a new marketing platform

Podcasting Vendors:

If you’re looking to test the waters, here are a few Podcasting tutorials:

How to track your podcasts

Even if you aren’t using a vendor (which should have built in tracking), there are plenty of services you can use to track you traffic and downloads. Feedburner, for one, will tell you how many subscribers you have, what they’re downloading, and where they’re coming from. PodTractor offers paid tracking services, but they’re extremely in-depth.

Is podcasting for you?

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: podcasting isn’t for every online publisher. If you have struggled to figure out what your company should podcast about, there’s a possibility that it just isn’t for you.

Take some time out in March to assess the pros and cons of starting a podcast for your publication. It can be as easy as an iPod and an iTalk recorder for your first try. If all else fails, ask your users.

Posted in Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

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