I don’t get podcasting

Business,Products by on November 12, 2006 at 8:06 pm

I’ve followed the hype around podcasting for a long time, and I simply don’t believe the opportunity is as large as many would have you believe. I don’t doubt that there is a podcasting business model, and I’m sure some startups will make money (probably those companies selling ads), but there won’t be a YouTube-like exit. A few reasons why I doubt the hype (hint: it’s all about the user):

Business / News podcasting:
  • Changes in user behavior are required. Currently people get their audio news through the radio (duh). The primary use case is people in cars (maybe there is a secondary use case for people that like background noise). It is very difficult in most cars to get anything from your iPod to your car audio system. The user behavior changes required to replace their radio time with podcast time are substantial.
  • Reading is faster than listening: You can get through much more material reading (scanning) than you can listening.
Entertainment podcasting:
  • Video is more entertaining than audio: Podcasts are most frequently listened to on either a computer or an iPod. Unless I’m walking or driving, I’d rather see the video.
Sure, there is a niche for podcasting. I think we’ll continue to see established radio and tv programs dominate the market. I just don’t see it being a big niche, particularly for non-mainstream content. Apparently, I’m not alone. Plenty of other people don’t get it either.


  1. jhludwig — November 14, 2006 @ 10:57 am

    i don’t get podcasting either but…the user behaviour thing is going to change. within 3 years it is going to be hard to buy a new car that doesn’t have an ipod interface. i’m not at all convinced that this will make podcasts succeed but it is interesting.

  2. davenaff — November 16, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

    No doubt that the behavior will change – I just don’t see people modifying their lives to listen to their favorite podcasts. At best they’ll occupy people’s commutes, and even then lots of things need to change beyond BMWs with iPod adapters.

  3. davenaff — November 28, 2006 @ 10:01 am

    A good article on Business Week about podcasting:


    They do a good job exploring the successes and hurdles that podcasting faces.

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