Thinking about podcasting

A few times a day, people ask when I’m going to have a podcast. My answer is probably not too soon.

The good news for podcasters is that users’ ability to hear podcasts is dramatically increasing. It’ll soon be built into itunes, and as awareness spreads, the number of listeners has to increase.

There’s a bunch of bad news, though.

First, you can’t browse a podcast. Which means that you won’t know what you like until you get it. That means subscribing in many cases. This is, of course, good news, cause subscribers are better than browsers. But it’s mostly bad news because it means that very few podcasts are going to be heard by large numbers of people.

Example: if there are 1,000 blogs and 1,000 readers, sooner or later every blog will get sampled by every reader.

BUT, if there are 1,000 podcasts and 1,000 people, it’s unlikely that you’ll be sampled by more than ten or twenty listeners. Why? Because the cost of sampling (in time) is too high. Once you’ve got your needs met, you’ll stop listening.

Problem two is that listening is a real time commitment. I can surf 300 blogs in the time I can listen to just one podcast. That doesn’t mean podcasts are bad… in fact, they’re far more powerful than blogs in selling emotion. It does mean that it’s going to be harder to get a big audience.

Which leads to the last bit of bad news: you can put up a blog post in two minutes, but it takes an hour to make a podcast. So, creators will want either big audiences or money if they’re going to really do it. And both are hard to see coming any time soon.

My two cents.