Podcasting Prospects

What is podcasting? Scientifically speaking, podcasting (from the English podcasting – a derivative of the words iPod, Apple’s popular mp3 player and broadcasting, which means broadcasting) is a new format for distributing audio and video content over the Internet. Technically, podcasting is nothing revolutionary – in fact, it is a simple introduction of multimedia content (audio or video) into an rss feed.

But in terms of its capabilities, podcasting is, in fact, a synthesis of the advantages of the Internet and radio (and sometimes television) and it is already clear that in the near future podcasting will have a significant impact on our lives. But first things first.

To show the effectiveness of this new feature, let’s first look at the ways in which each of our readers receives information. These channels are widely known: if you do not take into account interpersonal communication, then, by and large, television, radio, print media and the Internet remain.

The latter occupies an increasingly significant share, and, quite deservedly: thanks to the Internet, you have a huge selection of information sources, among which you can choose the appropriate one both in terms of subject matter and in volume and receive information at any time when you have the opportunity to be near with a computer – it’s almost impossible to be late for an article you are interested in.

Based on this, an increasing number of people are dramatically reducing the time they watch television programs and refuse to listen to the radio while at home or at work.

But it is worth thinking for a second, how we will understand that a very large part of our life is spent on the road. We have to spend several hours every day in a car or in public transport, practically having no opportunity to use this time rationally.

If you are interested in using this time to get any information, then, by and large, there are only two options: print media and radio. Given the fact that most of the time you are not in a quiet and calm compartment of a train, but in a boiling rush hour metropolis that requires a lot of your attention, reading a newspaper or magazine is hardly a suitable occupation. What does radio have to offer? Very little. If you are driving or using ground transport, then you, at least, have the opportunity to listen to it, but those who prefer to travel in the subway can immediately forget about this information channel. However, the rest were not particularly lucky either: from a very limited number of radio stations, at best you can learn about the main events of the all-Russian scale, but not about the features of the new chipsets of motherboards.

Now imagine that you, waking up in the morning, take your mp3 player (or connect it to your car radio) and listen to all the latest news published on your favorite website (for example, iXBT.com) on the road, in radio broadcast format. The episodes were downloaded and synced to the player automatically. Fantasy? Not at all. These opportunities are what podcasting gives us.

So, as you can see, podcasting takes the best of two well-known ways of transmitting information: the Internet and the radio. You get the opportunity to subscribe to the episodes (podcasts) you are interested in and listen to them on demand at any time and place convenient for you.

Podcasting & e-commerce

Podcasting is currently being actively developed for the needs of internet marketing. Many marketplaces and review sites use podcasts to boost their rankings. This is especially true for product reviews. The Philippines Product Reviews project is developing its own podcast to improve the site’s user experience.

Podcasting is the word of the year
Not only has the word podcasting been officially listed in the New Oxford American Dictionary, it has also received the 2005 word of the year award. Erin McKean, editor-in-chief of the dictionary, comments on the event as follows: “This word was included in the dictionary in 2004, but we didn’t see many people use it. Many were not even familiar with the concept itself. But this (2005) year the situation has changed dramatically. The word has joined the popularity of the iPod phenomenon. […] The choice of the word of the year was extremely difficult. Not just because of the sheer volume of information that we had to read, from blogs to technical journals to e-mail suggestions, but because everyone has their own opinion on this matter. You would be surprised to know how tough each of the editors fights for their favorite. I’m surprised nobody offered me bribes. ”

Few numbers

It is difficult now to name the first person who inserted audio files into the rss-channel for free access. The dynamics of the popularization of the innovation turns out to be more interesting, it is simply amazing: on September 28, 2004, blogger and columnist Doc Searls began to track the number of results that the Google search engine returned to the query for the word podcast. On this day, there were 24. On September 30 there were 526, three days later – 2750. This number doubled every few days (!), Crossed the mark of 100,000 on October 18. A year later, this figure was 100,000,000. Today it is 239,000,000.

Podcast software

At the moment, there are a lot of software solutions for podcasting. Particular attention should be paid to Apple products, as it identified the dinamic of growth and in the summer of 2005 introduced a new version of its popular music player iTunes 4.9, which has support for podcasts. At the same time, a corresponding section was opened in the well-known on-line iTunes Music Store

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