Small paper – big site. Poynter points to a South African Newspaper, Grocott’s Mail, which is a running a pretty tight digital operation. OK, it might help, that the local university’s journalism school is now owning and running the paper. But then: shoe string budgets and interns running the whole operation isn’t that rare outside of j-schools, too …
Some 9 million people will listen to a podcast this year, estimates radio research group Bridge Ratings. “If even half of that content is commercially viable, a very decent business can be built on it,” says Andy Lipset of online-radio advertising firm Ronning Lipset.
Uhum. Half of that? And what’s commercially viable anyway? Podcasts are still in the search of a business model. And without a peer to peer solution, your success will lead to immediate punishment. As your hosting provider will either charge you some bucketfuls of money for the bandwith you’re needing. Or he will cut you off.
But then. Yer good ole radio works well, because spectrum is scarce and even if you broadcast utter nonsense, you’ll never have more than a handful of competitors.
And the ad spending forecasts for podcasts are a bit humbling, too. Research company eMarketer predicts that podcast-ad spending will hit $80 million this year and $300 million by 2010. But that’s not much when compared with the $20 billion spent annually on traditional radio advertising, and some observers say even those estimates may be high.
People don’t listen (to radio) any more. Well, of course that’s not true. But the old Video Killed The Radio Star-melodram hasn’t been in effect, well, during car rides (for some pretty obvious reasons). Seems like, in the last three years, in-car radio has been battling a new enemy. The chatter of people on their mobile phones. Research shows: commuters listened to the radio 6 minutes shorter now than they did three years ago. And they’re spending three more minutes on the phone. So yes, cars are the phone booths of today. The average duration of a call inside a vehicle is 4 minutes and 21 seconds. On the other hand, all other mobile phone calls last 3 minutes and 15 seconds on the average. OK. The real enemy of radio aren’t dashboard MP3 players. But the people themselves. A fact, the music industry knows since quite some time …
The Golden Copy of the GDrive is as much of a pipedream as the the celestial jukebox of late 90ies fame. People want to have, to own, to keep. That’s why even arcane tools like Download videos from Youtube, Google Video, Metacafe and iFilm are quite popular. That’s why record sales will never completely disappear (download vouchers for DRM-crippled audio files are a decidedly unsexy present). And that’s why – nevermind any privacy issues – the Golden Copy residing on a central server is a tinny concept (a backup is something different, and not what we’re talking here).
Not to forget: ideas like that seem feasible, because storage is becoming bigger and bigger and cheap and cheaper. In about 5 years, a top of the line HD should store about half a PetaByte of Data. Great. And now show me the public network, seemlessly handling just several GB – ubiquosly.
Do not underestimate the power of design. After all, your customers and clients will face the UI of your gadget or service quite more often than you could afford to spend on marketing and branding.
As computing and digital devices move more and more into the consumer space, features and functionalities will increasingly take the back-seat as motivators for technology adoption: as the iPod abundantly shows, user experience (along with a strong brand, and clever marketing) is much more important for the success of a device then technical specifications. Web designers have grasped the importance of good user experience a long time ago; now it is time the big technology providers to understand where the industry is headed.
Via ACM Ubiquity