So the government [indirectly] become the first sponsors of a commercial UK podcast. Odd, but I suppose they see it as a novel way to target a distinct audience on public information. How worthy. Now I want to tell you why I think this is a waste of taxpayers money…
As we know there are a heap load of issues around rights which mean that podcasting anything but solely owned and produced material is going to be expensive. So podcasts will primarily be the preserve of talk radio. I also think it’s going to be niche, partly because of this. Podcasting isn’t just ondemand it’s using software like iPodder to take the xml feed and sync with your mp3 player – download like a tivo.
But it’s one thing for it to be downloaded, but quite another to be on the ‘register’ of the user and be something they want to listen to. How many mailing lists do you subscribe to that have now become junk? Like the old adage "build and they will come", "download it and they will listen" just ain’t true. Would you listen to a re-edited version of Pete and Geoff without the music?
So to Virgin’s podcast of Pete and Geoff show:
One of the country’s biggest advertisers, the government’s Central Office of Information, is sponsoring the podcast alongside online travel company Expedia, allowing it to be offered free of charge.
The sponsorship was brokered by OMD’s Opera sales house and is being dubbed as the UK’s first "’podvertising" deal.
Lee Roberts, the Virgin sales director, said the deal proves the commercial viability of podcasting.
"Radio stations have to adapt to the changing market and new platforms in order to create new revenue channels, we’re proud to be the first with podvertising" he said.
It doesn’t prove the commercial viability of podcasting at all. It merely marks the start of working out whether it is viable or not. Personlly I think it’s dead in the water because of the rights issues and that fact that if I want to have Pete and Geoff on demand I just record the show myself and play back, music ‘n all at my convenience. Not ‘podcasts’ as such but music files all the same.
The BBC may have got 70000 ‘hits’ for the In Our Time podcast but I wonder how many people actually took the xml feed.. hmm. I wonder. Hundreds I wouldn’t bet. Far more just streamed the show as a delayed broadcast.
And if you should have wanted the latest programme downloaded to your ipod wouldn’t you just skip past the dull public information podvert?