Two more thoughts about podcasting

that last post caused a minor firestorm, so I want to riff just a bit here.

1. I didn’t say I don’t like podcasts. In fact, I think they’re terrific. The user experience (take authentic, honest, informative audio with you when you do the rest of your life) is a great idea. It’s not going to go away.

2. I am fascinated by the math of the situation from the creator’s point of view.

What would have happened to radio if
a. it was really cheap to start a station
b. the dial could hold a million stations, not forty?

We certainly wouldn’t see the huge profits and high production values of radio today, would we? If there were thousands and thousands of stations to compete with, it would be an amateur medium, with nobody making enough to invest.

Podcasting feels a little like that. There will be millions of listeners… and there might be millions of podcasts.

But, then I think about A lists. Inevitably, a few podcasts will become like boingboing, the default channel for people getting started listening, or for people who want to listen to what everyone else listens to. (and of course there will be vertical A listers… like the Variety showbiz journal, but someone’s podcasted version)

Is it possible to build a podcast with a million subscribers? Why not? And if you did, would it be profitable enough to invest in and dedicate time to? No doubt.

So, I guess I see a much steeper pyramid for podcasts than I do for blogs. Not 10,000,000 podcasts at the bottom the way there is for blogs, but maybe 1% of that. And a few (a dozen, a hundred, a thousand?) at the top with big subscriber numbers and either subscriber revenue or ad revenue to make it worth the investment.

If your goal is to be an A list podcaster, today’s the day to start. And invest. And persist.