Company Receives Patent for Podcasting

VoloMedia, a podcast analytics, advertising, and distribution company, just received a patent for "providing episodic media," including podcasts. According to the company, which filed for the patent in November 2003, U.S. Patent 7,568,213 covers all episodic media downloads, not just the RSS-dependent downloads that power today's podcasts. VoloMedia CEO Murgesh Navar says that the company doesn't plan to go after individual podcasters, but that the company plans to "work collaboratively with key participants in the industry."

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BBC Tweaks Podcast Service: All in One Place

The BBC has refurbished its podcast service and has made all the Beeb's audio content available in one place. The podcast directory is split into two categories: Editor's Pick and Recently Launched. There's also a 'quick find' search bar and the directory is further broken down into radio station or genre.

There are currently around 200 podcasts available to listen to, with content ranging from football to Scott Mills Daily. While each podcast varies in length, most have a file size of are around 3MB, and can be downloaded as an MP3 file. Or, if you don't want to download, you can listen to the content straight from your browser.

Have a look at the BBC podcast directory.

Podcasting as a Marketing Tool for Small Business

Duct Tape Marketing has a post on the usefulness of podcasting as a marketing tool for small business.

The hype surrounding Podcasting, especially among early adopters and those who tried to make a quick buck, eventually led to a backlash and a subsequent hype about 'the end of podcasting'. But as the writer notes: "the usefulness as a marketing tool for the small business is better than ever."

If you have a small business, he continues, think of Podcasting as:

● A great way to feature the stories of your best customer - interview your customers and post their stories for prospects to hear. It doesn’t matter if you have a large audience for your podcast, your customers will dig the attention and you’ll get content on the fly.

● A great way to open doors - when you contact an author, industry leader, or expert of any kind with the offer to interview and feature them on your podcast, you’ll be amazed at the quality of guest you can secure and then the quality of content and exposure that can bring. If you run a print shop in the middle of Des Moines Iowa you can offer your customers and prospects access to the leading design, print and color experts from around the world - would that be valuable?

● A great way to build and solidify your strategic network - By routinely interviewing the members of your network of partners that you would like your customers to meet you can build a stronger network and make referrals to that network more easily because of the focus you can bring with an interview and audio content featured on the partner section of your site.

● A great competitive advantage - Does your competitor have an interview with the current president of your trade association on their site?

● Two for one - hold live web conferences using either interviews or presentations, record and viola, podcast episode.

From the beginning, podcasting has been a very promising component in the marketing mix. Now that the hype (either way) has died down, actual practice is finally defining the terms.

Ricky Gervais' Take on His Successful Podcast

The "Ricky Gervais Show" was downloaded nearly four and a half million times in January.

Why podcast? "Podcasting is perfect for me, because I'm always trying to aim at those things that only have self-censorship. I'm trying to cut out all interference artistically. That's also why stand-up is so exciting. What you say is what is heard. I think Woody Allen said,'The best an idea gets is when it's in your head.' So I've always been conscious of control. The more control you have, the more it can be what you would want to see or hear."

More about his take on podcasting in this months Asylum Magazine.

Barriers to Podcasting in China

Steven Lin, senior editor at and one of the founders of the excellent Chinese podcast Antiwave, writes in 'The Ogilvy China Digital Watchabout' about the barriers to podcasting growth in China. An interesting read.

Annual Study on Podcasting Use in the US

A few weeks ago we reported the first results of the annual Arbitron-Edison Media Research study on Podcasting use in the US. More results have now been published and are available here (pdf).

Its principle findings:

- Awareness of podcasting has stabilized. 37% had ever heard of podcasting, the same percentage as in 2007.

- The audience for both audio and video podcasts has grown considerably since last year. Americans indicating that they have ever downloaded and listened to an audio podcast grew from 13% to 18%, while video podcast consumption grew from 11% to 16%.

- Podcast listeners enjoy additional listening opportunities. The time spent listening to all forms of online audio for podcast listeners is approximately 90 minutes longer per week than it is for other online audio consumers. The portability of podcasts has enabled new contexts and environments for listening to downloadable audio.

- Podcast consumers are extremely attractive advertising targets, though difficult to reach via traditional interruption models. Podcast users are far more likely to have attained at least a college degree, and are also more likely to live in households earning in excess of $75,000 per year, than Americans who have not consumed podcasts. Furthermore, Americans who have watched or listened to a podcast are more frequent online shoppers and spend more money online than other Americans. Podcast listeners and viewers are also far more likely to block pop-up ads, SPAM, and use non-traditional means to view television.

- Podcast consumers are heavily involved with social networking. Over a quarter of persons 12+ who have ever consumed an audio/video podcast have a profile on MySpace, and the percentage of podcast consumers with profiles on other social networking sites is significantly higher than the percentage of non-podcast consumers. Podcast consumers also spend markedly more time on the Internet every day than the average American.

Studies: Podcast Ad Recall Rates Impressive

Advertising during podcasts has been thrust into the limelight, thanks to recently released data from a series of ad effectiveness studies.

Podcast audiences are loyal to their regular hosts and pay attention to the advertisers that support their favorite shows, according to online and podcast show network, Podtrac and TNS.

Podcasts attract niche audiences that are more receptive to the carefully targeted brands being advertised or that are sponsoring their favorite shows. So much so, the average unaided ad recall among Podtrac’s respondents was 68%. Podtrac’s CEO Mark McCrery says this is “considerably higher… than in other offline and online media.” He’s not wrong. Industry benchmarks currently put unaided recall for ads in streaming video at just 21%, mobile ads 20% and television 10%.

Some experts believe that ad recall might not be such a viable measurement of an ad's effectiveness. However, Podtrac's studies showed a "73% increase in likelihood to use or buy an advertised product which is an indication of successful targeting, the unique relationship audience members have with the hosts of today’s online shows, and their ability to quickly move audiences from awareness to consideration to purchase,” said Velvet Beard, Podtrac’s vice president of products.

So what of the future of podcasting? According to eMarketer analyst Paul Verna in his report “Podcast Audience: Seeking Riches in Niches”, the podcasting audience is set to rise 251% to 65 million in 2012. The same goes for spending which will he predicts will rise from last year’s $165 million to $435 million in the next four years.

Courtesy of Helen Leggatt -

From the Pentagon to the Weather Bureau, the U.S. Government is podcasting

Don’t have time to catch the morning weather forecast? If you live in the United States. the National Weather Service might have a solution. Get your weather to go in a podcast. People living in the Baltimore-Washington region can already do that. The Weather Service’s Baltimore-Washington regional office in Sterling, Va., started making daily forecasts available about a year ago as a way to experiment with the technology, said Steve Listemaa, an information technology officer in the regional office. “It’s an easier way to get our information out there,” he said.

So far, only three Weather Service offices — Sterling; El Paso, Texas; and Anchorage, Alaska —make weather podcasts available, but those examples are indicative of various agencies’ efforts to explore how they can adapt podcast technology to disseminate information about services or events. lists a range of government podcast topics here. One of the first agencies to move into podcasting was the Defense Department. It began offering audio downloads of programs on the Pentagon Channel — in spring 2005. The channel offers news and documentaries, among other programs. Since then, more than 7.1 million podcasts have been downloaded, said Michael Winnaker, a marketing coordinator for the channel.

Brian Natwick, general manager of the Pentagon Channel, said he got the idea during a trip to Afghanistan in 2005 with the military. As he boarded an aircraft, he noticed about 80 percent of the soldiers on board had whipped out their iPods. “It just kind of hit me that this is another distribution technique that we have to add to our model,” Natwick said.

The podcasts are an easy and inexpensive way to reach deployed troops, Natwick said. “We’re pushing voting right now,” Natwick said. “Overseas voting is really important to us.”

There are about a dozen Pentagon Channel video and audio programs available as podcasts. Among the most popular are daily news roundups and “RECON,” a monthly documentary series on topics such as operations and military history.

This month’s series is about preparing for war at the Joint Readiness Training Center. Also popular is “Fit for Duty,” a half-hour exercise program that offers resistance and strength training and pilates.

The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will launch its first podcast this week and is planning two series: One is targeted to consumers; and another, with information about safety inspections, is meant to reach plant owners, managers and employees. “Different people receive information in different ways,” FSIS spokeswoman Amanda Eamich said. “It’s kind of a no-hassle approach to getting information out there.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is also exploring podcasts as a way to communicate with air traffic controllers, FAA spokeswoman Tammy Jones said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relies on podcasts to reach some public health professionals and health care providers with updates about vaccination issues and news such as E. coli outbreaks, said Fred Smith, a senior technologist with CDC’s Division of e-Health Marketing. He also has discussed the idea of cooperating with the State Department to provide podcasts targeted at overseas travelers. “The idea is to get this set up [so] that if there is a pandemic flu,” the government can more easily deliver vital information, Smith said.

The Coast Guard’s District 13 headquartered in Seattle is eyeing podcasting as a possible recruiting tool.

The office started to offer video podcasts on its Web site in January and has purchased helmet cameras for boat crew members to wear during missions and catch some of the action for later upload, said Paul Roszkowski, an assistant public affairs officer who helped coordinate the project. “What it allows them to do is to show a recruit, or a possible recruit, the different aspects of the job,” Roszkowski said. “It’s new ground for the government.”

Podcasting as Language Learning Tool for Children

A report on Apple's website looks at the use of podcasting in language teaching at ACS Egham International School in London. It teaches English as a foreign language to seven and eight year-old children.

“Learning a new language can be very frightening for a young child”, says Wendy Brandse, 2nd Grade Class Teacher at ACS Egham. “Making a podcast is something they can be successful at straight away. They can record and listen to themselves, and delete and re-record if there is a mistake. The child has control, and doesn’t feel exposed to the whole class, while the teacher can monitor more effectively how each child is doing”

The school has found that using podcasts as part of the teaching process has significantly boosted learning on the part of the pupils.

UNESCO Video Podcast Series

UNESCO just released a series of 9 video podcasts on "human rights, peace, tolerance and the fight against discrimination".

The videos were selected out of more than one hundred proposals from fifty countries submitted under a project on so called 'ICT-enhanced Public Service Broadcasting'. The podcasts have been released on DVD and through podcasting platforms.

This project aimed at putting ICTs, particularly new formats, at the service of content development on major societal and development issues.

“Public service content is not limited to news formats; it can be provided to people/users through different genres: documentary, fiction, TV magazines, animation, etc. In addition to these traditional audiovisual genres, the last few years have witnessed the emergence of new online formats and mobile distribution platforms that have had a tremendous impact on the type of content being generated and the profile of those generating it. Content produced for small mobile devices - commonly called podcasting - will entail different audiovisual choices than those we may apply to images conceived for a big screen”, said Abdul Waheed Khan, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Communication and Information.

For more United Nations related issues, check out the Unicef and
'United Nations Yak' podcasts.