The future of podcasting was a huge center of discussion at the Syndicate Conference in San Francisco in the session titled “Podcasting: The Challenges of Audio Syndication.” The session was moderated by Doug Kaye of IT Conversations and the panel was speakers were Evan Williams of Odeo, Rick Klau of FeedBurner and Joe Hayashi of Yahoo. Several great questions were asked and answered on podcasting and here are three questions I wanted to share.
What is the ideal length of a podcast?
The general concensus appeared to be that “it really depends on your goal or objective.” Though all speakers thought that due in part to the additional time it takes to actually listen to a podcast it is probably a better rule of thumb to be on the short format then the longer. Rick Klau of FeedBurner had an excellent example, in saying that, he can get through several hundred headlines feeds in his RSS aggregator relatively quickly while it would take him a lot longer to get through a handful of audio podcasts. He has a great point. It just takes longer to listen then read or surf through content. So once again, a shorter formatted set of audio items in a podcast may be more attractive to users looking to surf through several audio feeds relatively quickly.
What are some ways to find new podcasts?
Evan Williams of Odeo felt that actual websites and blogs will continue to be places that users find and discover new podcasts, therefore it stresses the importance of distribution sites. Joe Hayashi of Yahoo who was part of the development of Yahoo’s Media RSS standard believed that community tools was the best way to help users find new podcasts. In using community tools, he felt the good podcasts would float to the top and be recommended by other community members aiding in the search and discovery process. Other search and discovery sites that were mentioned by the group were podscope, blinkx and Podzinger which is a BBN Technologies site.
How do you monetize podcasts?
The group seemed to agree that monetizing is still in its infancy but currently sponsorship appears to be the best way to monetize at least until we see maturation in the infrastructure to allow other revenue streams in podcasts.
Here is a prediction by moderator Doug Kaye:
"There is a going to be a significant opportunity for video podcasts to monetize."
I agree and think that is almost a "no brainer" when you realize that companies are starting to be able to provide better metrics on podcast distribution and listening/viewing statistics. As these metrics systems continue to develop it will create a solid base for podcasters to present solid numbers to advertisers which will help facilitate advertising sales to both video and audio podcasts.