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New Podcast Academy Content

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We’ve started posting more content to the Podcast Academy site. If you’re looking for great presentations about all things podcasting and new media be sure to check it out. Recent episodes include Automating Your Podcast Workflow, Podcasting in Higher Education, Building a Television Studio in your Basement and one from Steve Garfield entitled: Videoblogging in 5 Steps.

BTW if you in need of a great podcasting microphone check this out. Auction ends todays.

Marantz PMD661 Review Posted on Podcast Academy

PMD661_glamour.jpgFor those of you who might be interested, I posted a review of Marantz Professional’s newest solid state audio recorder the PMD661 on our Podcast Academy site. You can find it here.

Podcast Academy Survey & Free Bonus!

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“Help me, help you!” Remember that line from the movie, “Jerry Maguire?” Well that is the best way I can describe our need for your input and feedback.

With the New Year, comes new resolutions and business plans and we considering putingt together some Podcast Academy programs aimed at helping people reach their 2009 new media goals. But we need your help!

What do you we want from you? Great question! 3-4 minutes of your time to complete a simple 10 question survey. I promise – drop dead simple!

Here’s the link.

What is in it for you? As our way of saying “Thank you,” to anyone who completes the survey in the first 24 hours we’ll give you immediate access to download the complete recordings for Podcast Academy #1. [*** Note: This offer has since expired. ***]

Ready for a history lesson? The Podcast Academy #1 recordings have been offline for a while and trust us, it is fascinating to hear your favorite podcast pioneer opining on what they expect to happen next, along with great timeless hints and tips.

Your answers are completely anonymous, so have full confidence that your true opinion does matter and your identity will never be divulged to anyone (not even us!).

Do yourself (and us) a favor… take the survey now!

Thanks for your participation!

P.S. Why the 24 hour limit? Simple, we’d like to get the answers so we can move on to the next step.

[*** Note: This offer has since expired. However, you can still take the survey if you like***]

Podango – Bankruptcy Looming?

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Without coming out and saying it in plain English, Podango has basically said get your stuff off our servers ’cause we are going under… When the President of an Internet startup says “we are encouraging you to begin taking all necessary steps to secure your data or begin moving to another hosting provider” you can read the writing on the wall. Looks like bankruptcy. Two years ago, people railed against me for my “Podcasting Is Dead” presentation. I’m not sure how many more examples I need to point to until folks realize – I was dead on. You are in the media business, forget “podcasting” – that is so 2005.

I think this also says something about the “network of shows” model Podango and several other startups were counting on. Grouping together unrelated shows in order to sell advertising across all of them simply doesn’t work. Aside from the fact that none of these companies has a dedicated sales team (something every successful content company has from day one), advertisers simply don’t see value in using a shotgun method to reach their target market. Besides, wasn’t reaching a super-targeted audience exactly what new media promised in the first place? Slapping an old business model on new media was destined to fail.

Podango was started by some great folks, primarily Lee and Doug, both stand up guys. In fact I sold technology to them a few years back. No one takes joy in situations like this, it is a tough spot. They are smart guys and will weather the storm. Look for them on the backside. I expect they’ll be back.

So who’s next? Anyone heard from Mevio (Podshow) lately?

Limited Sale On New Media Audio

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We’ve opened the New Media/Podcasting vault and have a special offer for one week only.

All the 2006, 2007 & 2008 New Media Expo content plus Podcast Academy™ bonus files!

152 files and over 150 hours of content in a once in a lifetime sale. This is audio that has not been recently available.

Starting at just $49.95!

Get the historical audio of podcast pioneers and all the information you need for your upcoming podcast production or initiative. Listen to the pros – these are the people with the experience to set you on the right course. This offer includes an amazing deal on all the 2008 New Media Expo audio – normally $149.

This is a 7 day limited offer!

Order Now!

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A Good Old Fashioned Podcast Legal Battle

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Nothing legitimizes New Media like a good old-fashioned court battle. Unfortunately, it would seem that this one is more about sour grapes (and previous competitive issues) than anything else. Regardless, it’s official; two Essex County, New Jersey Videographers are now in a legal battle over their respective Wedding focused podcast efforts.

I’ll let you decide for yourself what is really going on after reading the original Star-Ledger story. Full disclosure: I have been involved in plenty of media stories that prove the rule that the media are generally only half right/accurate.

One thing all court cases need is expert witnesses. It is clear from this “spat” that both parties are in need. Feel free to contact me. As one of the true podcast pioneers involved from the very beginning I have the expertise they require. Though, I can also name 10 different ideas I developed that they have both infringed upon. Heck, maybe I should sue them both! Did they list “Podcast” as the genre in iTunes – I won’t bore you with the details but that was my hard fought public battle back in the very early podcast days. Many of us worked countless hours to develop this medium. We were working to build a platform for all to share, not something to parse into ownership segments. Unless I am missing something, it is sad that two wedding videographers will possibly set a precedent. Perhaps an Amicus Brief is appropriate? One thing that amazes me – a podcast effort that is not yet making money, is suing other financially unstable podcast entity. That tells me it is personal. Am I missing something?

New Media Expo Interview

I forgot to pass this along. Here is an interview from my friends at Relevantly Speaking.

New Media Expo: Top Ten Take Aways

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I have just returned from my 4th Podcast/Portable & now New Media Expo. Once again, a first class event. As most of you know, I have been involved with podcasting since before it even had a name. Having participated in it all along the way, this year’s Expo solidified many of the thoughts I’ve held over the last year. The items in this list are not fully developed; I could easily do a 30-minute podcast on each. These are more a summary of my stream of consciousness top ten take aways:

1. The Expo continues to enable us to re-connect with old friends. There is a real sense of camaraderie among the original podcasters. That was no different this year. Good times with lots of great podcasters.

2. The New Media Expo was once again a great opportunity to meet new people who are excited about podcasting. A lot of fresh faces this year.

3. Tim Bourquin (the show’s organizer) got some flack this year about the exhibit floor being smaller – not true. The show had the exact same exhibit space as in years past: 12,000 square feet. It was a much bigger venue, which affects the perceived size. Kudos to Tim for stepping up and making the financial commitment to lock in the Las Vegas Convention Center. That said, the exhibit space did not grow. In a “growth” industry that spells trouble. My take, one I shared with Tim at dinner this past week, was to lose the exhibitors and focus on the conference. (The conference sessions are where the real value lies in my opinion.) Tim is one of the most diligent and hard working people I know. If he can’t corral the exhibitors it is not for a lack of effort, it is a signal that they are not sold on the market potential. (Curious to see what he announces regarding next year.)

4. A schism is developing between “indie” podcasters and those they thought were focused on supporting them. I had conversations with CEO’s who are now clearly focused on large corporate clients; those with the resources they believe are capable of massive reach. They want to fulfill those companies’ production and ad sales needs. Think podcasts produced by TV networks, media companies and news organizations etc. This makes complete sense from a business plan and sales perspective, but is very different from what you heard from these same companies just a year ago. Some of the well-known employees of these companies have not yet come to terms with this shift. You hear one thing from them and something completely different from their “C” level management.

5. Many content producers have finally realized that if they want to monetize, they are on their own. You are your own best salesperson. Need proof? Look at who did not attend this year. If ad sales/aggregation groups were working as a market segment, they would have been the largest contingent of exhibitors. Most have vanished or “refocused” their business plans.

6. If you insist on trying to monetize your “indie” podcast (less than 50K downloads per episode) I stand by my previous advice: Sell your own ad/sponsor deals. If it is not in your blood – i.e. you don’t like selling/asking for money, my advice is to contact Todd Cochrane. Wow! Big surprise there. Many know that I have, at times, been critical of Todd’s collection of companies. But I also give credit where credit is due. With the shift of everyone else heading to the higher ground of corporate size distribution and budgets, Todd & Co. are the only folks left who passionately believe in the “indie” podcaster. I still think you can and should get more, but if you don’t like the work involved, Todd will give you a fair shake.

7. Passion is critical. Find something you love and podcast about that. Things seem to work out for those who are truly passionate about their content.

8. Corporate podcasting is alive and well. Just as with my presentations at this year’s CES and NAB conferences, companies and the folks they have charged with their podcast initiatives continue to come to sessions to learn how to produce compelling and interesting content. As I’ve said before, the real money is in consulting to these organizations, they have budgets: money to spend. If you carefully look to see who continues to come to NME events you’ll notice many of the monetization experts are in the podcast consulting business.

9. A common thread I heard during conversations with some well-known podcast figures was “I’m figuring out what I am going to do next” and “it was good while it lasted.” See #10 below.

10. I can’t help but end with this: My presentation last year was dead on – I gave everyone a full year’s notice. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

UPDATE: 11. (How could I have forgotten 11? Everyone knows all good things go to 11.) Brian Ibbott did an amazing job with the Coverville 500. That took real planning, work and investment. I can’t tell you how impressed everyone was with the event. Brian put on a great show and was ably assisted by Dan Klass as the evening’s MC. Great job guys!

New Media Expo 2008

NME_Pass.jpgI am off the New Media Expo this week. I have been asked to present: “Corporate Podcasting the Disneyland Way: Case Study from the Place Where Dreams Come True.” (Thursday 8/14/08 2:00 – 3:00PM) I am preparing a presentation that will blow the doors off how we have produced the Official Disneyland Resort Podcast over the last 3+ years. I’ll cover how it started, how it has evolved and where we are today. For Disney fans, podcast producers, consultants and people charged with corporate podcast initiatives I’ll present the information you need to know and the tips, tricks and techniques to ensure a successful podcast production. This is an opportunity to get a behind the scenes peak at how the longest running Fortune 100 company produced podcast is done.

As past attendees know, I have a habit of giving the audience the straight scoop. (This year will be no different.) Last year, I created a bit of controversy with my infamous “Podcasting is Dead” presentation. Given the events of the past year – big surprise: I was proven right! While it frustrates me that many people read that title and did not bother to listen to the substance of my argument regarding the business New Media producers are really in, I understand how things work and have accepted the predictable flack. As for my statements last year, I now have another year’s worth of “proof” points and some new predictions for the year to come but it has been suggested I hold them for a few days until the Expo starts – the reasons given make sense, so I will.

One thing to clear up is that I am bullish on podcasting – always have been. Heck, I authored two books on the subject. My critical statements often get misconstrued and misquoted by well meaning commentators but that is the bane of the eternal optomist. (If you don’t want to get continuously misquoted, don’t become a podcasting pundit.) I had hoped that podcasting would open up opportunities for everyone, that it would develop into a true industry. That never happened. That is not to say that there is no money in podcasting, there is, but it is not something the average person can count on. I have made a nice living as a Podcast Consultant over the last few years, but it is not a business the average person can enter and survive in like real estate or insurance etc. Podcasting is not an Industry, it is a niche and recognized expertise is required.

Meanwhile, I am contemplating a Smith & Wollensky’s or Nobu dinner in Vegas for Thursday evening. Interested? Shoot me an email or Twitter.

Libsyn sold to Wizzard for $15 Million

Libsyn sold to Wizzard for $15 Million? Well at least $15 Million in stock according to a new article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Libsyn sale last March made headlines in the podcasting world, but I never saw any indication of the size/scope of the deal. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Wizzard Software, Inc., a technology company based in Bloomfield, snapped up Libsyn last year for $15 million in stock.

Interesting number given that Wizzard’s total market cap is roughly $109 Million. Wizzard (WZE) started trading on the American Stock Exchange last week and toyed with $3.00 a share but has since settled down roughly 17% to the $2.50 range. I never would have thought to dig, but the $15 Million number caught my attention. SEC filings reveal that there are a number of milestones and it would appear that the $15M number is a best case scenario. But if you are curious about the sale, stock, milestones, cash payments and some employment contract info etc., here are the relevant SEC filings. [PLAN OF MERGER & FORM 8-K] (The joys of selling to a publicly traded company.) The Libsyn team are great guys, I hope that everything works out as best as possible for them.

The question is what will Wizzard do with Libsyn over the long haul? Last week some controversy erupted around the 1 Billion download claim that Wizzard/Libsyn made. Scott Bourne pointed out that a press release from Wizzard last month stating that 1 Billion podcasts downloads had been achieved in 2007 was followed up just last week by a statement that Libsyn was “fixing” issues with its stats engine. Frankly the total number is irrelevant, whatever it is, it’s big, but once again the stats issue raises its ugly head. For true advertiser support/adoption of podcasting, stats need to be quantified and agreed upon.

The bigger issue as I see it for Wizzard is their podcast publisher base. The article details, “Wizzard’s growing roster of 8,500 shows…” While we know that these shows are not Wizzard’s, Wizzard certainly has an opportunity to assist in the monetization of these productions due to their position in the distribution chain. However, of those 1 Billion downloads / 8,500 shows how many really matter to advertisers? (As a side note, the 1 Billion / 8,500 number is suspect. It would mean that the average publisher has 117,647 downloads a year or 9,803 downloads a month. This contradicts their own VP of Podcaster Relations, Rob Walsh, who arrived at the optimistic number of “73.5 subscribers per podcast feed.” But I digress…)

Libsyn is a great service that enables any podcaster to handle their media distribution for $5 dollars a month as a base package. That also means that they often attract those willing to pay the least amount. Those of us who have been around from the start have witnessed publishers using the Libsyn system having to endure numerous outages and slow delivery at times from a system clearly experiencing growing pains. Libsyn’s users have been amazingly supportive and understanding during these service issues – true fans of the service. For hobbyists this makes sense. But for mission critical delivery: businesses, large scale podcasts etc., Libsyn Basic has not been the choice of professional podcasters, they have tended to go with larger CDN delivery networks.

As a result, Wizzard ends up with amazing volume but is it really the kind of content advertisers are looking to associate their brands with? Further, with such a disparate pool of producers what is the internal cost to deal with all of them on a single ad campaign? Except for their large publishers, Wizzard does not get to enjoy the benefit of economies of scale, it might actually work against them. Contrast that with a company like Federated Media: few publishers, but they all have incredible reach/size. FM’s publisher count is finite enough that advertisers know what they are buying and who they are associating with, plus internally dealing with 20 large publishers on a campaign is much easier than trying to coral hundreds of smaller ones. This is probably why you have seen the WIzzard/Libsyn team putting so much time and attention into the Libsyn Pro product, a media publishing platform built and priced much closer to a traditional CDN.

All this said, I am curious to see how the team and product(s) evolve. They have some smart folks working with them and I hope that Libsyn/Wizzard can pull it off.


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Michael W. Geoghegan is founder and CEO of GigaVox Media, a production, consulting and technology company focused on audio/video new media.

As a pioneer of podcasting, Michael created some of the first corporate podcasts, including efforts by Disney. Michael is also creator of the 2008 James Beard Award winning "GrapeRadio" and "Reel Reviews: Films Worth Watching". He is editor-in-chief of the Podcast Academy™ book series and co-author of Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Podcasting.

Michael speaks frequently on podcasting's impact on new media and its corporate applications and is often quoted by the media including in The New York Times, USA Today, CNN and Wired Magazine.