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More thoughts on the future of Podcast managed services

Following on from may last post, I strongly believe that the proportion of podcasters using managed services will be far greater than the proportion of bloggers using blogging managed services. This is for many reasons (in addition to the existing reasons for choosing one for blogging, such as lower technical barrier to entry, which still stand for podcasting):

  • Cost of serving large audio files
  • Additional serving complexities
  • Anticipated ‘banning’ of podcasting/mp3 serving on ISP webspace accounts and small time hosting providers (due to cost and/or up sell opportunities)
  • The ability to belong to a ‘podcast label’ who can resyndicate your content on other mediums – such as satellite radio
  • Production software included with the managed service account

It’s the last reason, the software, that I want to explore some more. I think this area is particularly exciting – both from a technical and a commercial perspective.

For a start, existing recording software tends to be either badly marketed open source software or expensive commercial applications. Apple Garageband, which comes preinstalled on most Apple OS X systems is an interesting exception because of it’s ubiquity, but recording single channel podcasts is not what it was originally written to do. And, of course, Apple OS X is still a minority operating system.

The thought of using a managed Podcasting service, which includes software, would no doubt be appealing to many users. However, this creates an opportunity for these service providers to at least try, if not force, their users to use their own podcasting audio production tools.

By creating their own podcasting applications, which handle everything from recording through to the final upload, podcast managed services will be able to:

  • Justify higher rate cards for their service
  • Enforce mandatory advert insertion
  • Quality control in the client (such as minimum/maximum length, bit-rate, etc)
  • Source management of what gets mixed into a show (such as pod-safe music, hassle-free integration with partner properties such as VoIP clients etc)

Think of all the meta information the managed services will be able to gain by forcing their users to use their proprietary recording and production software. The possibility of being able to check how many adverts have been mixed into a given podcast is surely vital for any stable revenue model. Particuarlly as it scales beyond the numbers where you can manually individually check for advertising compliance.

Published in Thoughts and Rants


  1. Robert Freeman Robert Freeman

    There’s a lot of sense here – though a managed service would be of more use to regular and habitual podcasters wouldn’t it?

    I have my doubts as to how many people would really be committed to doing something regularly, and if committed, whether they would regularly be able to make it listenable.

    In my experience, most people lose interest, or stop (for whatever reason) after a while.

    I think one of the greatest things about podcasting is going to be its infinite variety – millions of people stopping and starting constantly.

    But how are you going to find the gems?

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