A Medium Worth Watching

The future medium of radio

The future killer medium

For many people, the iPod was just a device for playing music. And the smartphone? Well, that’s for playing games, GPS, social media, maybe YouTube… and making phone calls. Plus any number of specialist apps, depending on your preferences.

Many media have been losing out to the internet in all its forms, as new players enter the market to provide bespoke solutions for people with access to bandwidth: video-on-demand is replacing broadcast in many spheres, and print newspapers are losing out to their online counterparts.

One such internet based medium is making huge waves in the US, and for a select few on this side of the big lake, it is an indispensable part of the daily entertainment and information smorgasbord. I’m talking about podcasting, and if you don’t know what that is, well think of it as radio-on-demand (without the radio).

There are thousands of podcasts to choose from, and no matter what your field of interest, there’s a podcast for you. There are also general interest podcasts, like ‘This American Life’ – which covers a different topic each week. So why listen to boring old chat radio interspersed with music you probably don’t even like, when you can have access to the best of international radio?

Just one example: a recent series, called ‘Serial’ — which was produced by some of the team from ‘This American Life’ — was downloaded by more people than those who watched ‘Girls’, ‘Mad Men’ or ‘Louie’. Advertisers are starting to love podcasting. Popular podcasts — that are downloaded 300,000 to 750,000 times — can charge $18 to $25 per thousand listeners. And these are dedicated listeners, who are more likely to engage with the advertiser’s brand than other media.

And yes, there’s an app for it (of course). If you have an iPhone, podcasts are available on the iTunes store, and on Android there are a range of apps, such as ‘Podcast Addict’, that allow you to search for, and download, your personal playlist of programmes. Set it to download at night, and in the morning there’s something to keep you from going crazy in your daily commute. Hey, you may even find you enjoy driving once more!

Read this great Fast Company article about podcasting and the media/advertising opportunities here.