In September, Yahoo! closed down their Podcasting search service. Odeo is still languishing in my opinion. Podcast Alley is well designed and easy to use, but is full of horrible horrible content leaving me to question the voting system they have as being seriously gamed. Google’s stayed pretty much out of the game, but there is a Google custom search that’s pretty good.
So what is going on?
- Has iTunes declawed podcasting with it’s search tool and lack of features?
- Is it too hard to get current podcasts onto listening devices?
- Are we seeing a “normal” hype-cool-settle cycle?
- What about the new in-car technologies?
- Will the iPhone and wireless iPod help?
- Are podcasts inherently non-viral?
What’s even more perplexing is that our on-demand society craves time-shifted, portable entertainment. Podcatchers are the ultimate web audio “Tivo” equivalent. You can isolate items of interest and let it fill up unaided…then listen to a stream of custom audio.
The Google Trends chart to the right could be slightly misleading when it comes to the “Christmas Spikes.” Since more people have MP3 players already, the height of the spike, and thus the novelty of podcasts, will probably be shorter, but the overall trend is compelling and consistent with the premise of this post.
Wizzard.tv claims 1 billion downloads in 2007. That’s big.
My suggestions to improve podcasting include:
- Podcasters must create content people want. Please quit spewing poorly-tagged, over-hyped garbage.
- Connect podcasts to GPS and stream local content (especially for the tourism industry)
- Podcasts should STOP when there is nothing else to talk about. They are too long! Get to the point already.
- Make it easy to find podcasts based on your interests? Hasn’t behavioral targeting come far enough for this yet?
- Podcasters should prepare for their shows. I’m so sick of “I didn’t have time to get ready” type shows. If that happens. Don’t do it!
- Podcasters need an easy way to translate their shows to non-English.
- Stop with the fancy, 3-minute long intros. I don’t want to hear the tractor-pull-style hype buildup.
- We need to improve tagging and chapter marks. Podcast producers must take the time to tag their work as well as isolate sections when the subjects change drastically.
- Itunes must improve podcast search. Top-ten podcasts within a genre would be a good start. Editor’s Picks and better identification of video podcasts would help too. Someone should raise the barrier to entry into iTunes podcasting. If the podcast doesn’t get subscribers, kill it.
- Make it simpler to subscribe, right from the device. More explanation to the newbie of what’s going to happen when they click subscribe would help. Why must I surf the web for 30 minutes to find a good show? Why not let me set up my interests (ala Tivo) and just let the system fill up my podcast-allocated area on my player?
- “New Podcast Suggestion” tools need to be developed based on meta search.
- Auto-transcription systems or Human-transcribed systems will help with indexing content (though they may not be terribly useful to users as readable text) and, if well-engineered, allow “fast forwarding” to a certain point in the podcast as well as enabling translation to other languages.
Postscript: Complete post that PodShow Podcasting Network Grew 29144% in 2007.