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Tag Archive for 'podcasting'

EFF Takes on VoloMedia Podcast Patent

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation has added the VoloMedia podcast patent to it’s “Most Wanted” style list for its Patent-Busting Project.

I wrote about this patent back when it was first announced. As expected, there is now some movement in challenging it. Specifically, the EFF is looking for examples of prior art: “evidence that the podcasting methods described in the patent were already in use before November 19, 2003.” You can read the whole story over at the EFF.

(I was only half joking when I said I was “adding podcasting/episodic media expert witness to my resume.”) We’ll see what happens.

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.

VoloMedia Podcast Patent… Remember When?

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Via the Association for Downloadable Media (ADM) website, VoloMedia (formerly PodBridge) explained the patent just issued to them for “podcasting.” I use quotes because they say it is for “podcasting.” Patent #7,568,213 actually covers a “Method for Providing Episodic Media.” You know, like TV and soap operas. My guess is they posted it to the ADM website because no one noticed it on the VoloMedia website. Reading about this recent success just takes me down memory lane.

Remember when…

Adam Curry, Dave Winer and VoloMedia came up with that crazy idea about enclosures in RSS?

Or the time Winer, Christopher Lydon and VoloMedia really put it into practice?

Or when Doug Kaye and VoloMedia chatted and IT Conversations was born?

Or how about when Dave Slusher and VoloMedia spotted Dannie Gregoires’s RSS aggregation software using the agent name ‘podcaster’ and chimed “Podcasting! right on!” and podcasting got its name?

Wow! The memories…

I know when early on Todd Cochrane, Dawn & Drew, Dan Klass, myself and many others were trying to sort out how to podcast it was always the folks at VoloMedia who came to our aid to explain episodic media done right. Heck – they invented it!

All that initial media attention: NY Times, Wired Magazine, USA Today, CNN etc., etc. It was always our basic crew – plus the great guys & gals from VoloMedia.

You couldn’t help but bump into the VoloMedia team in the green rooms at conferences. In fact, I can’t think of a podcast conference I went to where I didn’t see their banners or leave without them forcing a VoloMedia branded shirt and pen on us.

Those VoloMedia folks are awesome! They always covered the bar bill. The stories I could tell.

Those were the days…

How about the time an overly VC funded company tried to carve out an island of potential IP defensibility and future for litigation based revenue via a broad patent?

Good times, good times….

VoloMedia can claim whatever they like, good for them. IP claims like this can be used in many ways. Nuisance litigation, acquisition value etc. etc. Prior art from many listed above will be an issue but it comes down to dollars and sense.

The big loser in my opinion is the ADM. Who in the world agreed to post this to their site? Recent “notes”, “updates” and “clarifications” aside they gave it credibility under their name as an organization, an organization supported by the very people who will likely take issue with it and litigate it. No one paid this any notice until it was on the ADM site. Well played VoloMedia. The ADM folks are all smart people, how they allowed this to happen baffles me.

What am I doing about it? I’m adding podcasting/episodic media “expert witness” to my resume. When in Rome…

The Power of Podcasting – Adam Carolla

3923345.jpgLast Friday, the Los Angeles station 97.1 KLSX FM Talk changed formats to some low cost top 40 programming stuff like you get everywhere else. This was the former home of Howard Stern, his morning slot having been taken over by Adam Carolla. Working from home, I’m not a morning drive time person and have heard Adam’s show at most 5 times. But this is not about morning drive time shows.

Interestingly, this morning Adam Carolla released his first podcast. No ads, no requests for money or donations, just him doing his thing. No big news there – “known celebrity/personality releases podcast” is not ground breaking and Adam Carolla is not hurting; he has plenty of other projects and his contract continues to pay him through the end of 2009. What I appreciate is he gets podcasting from the get go. His show is genuine. He even admits to being a bit nervous (all podcasters have been there.) He dishes some dirt, complains a bit and just plain talks to you about what is going on, like a friend would. That is the power of podcasting.

Prior to podcasting how could this have happened? In past years he would have had to go hat in hand to multiple stations to get someone to LET him back on the air. All the time being silent so as to demonstrate he is a “good boy” and not upset the radio gatekeepers at potential future stations. The beauty of podcasting is: if he can keep an audience guess who will be asking him back. (And yes – morning radio pays way more than any podcast opportunity in existence.) Maybe someone will pick him up, maybe he’ll move on to some of the other projects he’s been working on. We’ll see.

No idea how long lived this will be or what will come of it. That’s not the point. Maybe he tries to make money at it or maybe he decides to quit it tomorrow. The point is while he still wants to talk to an audience he values anyone who wants to listen can. No one has to grant him permission to do it or dictate who, what or how it has to be done. For those of us who have been there from the beginning, that is everything podcasting has always been about.

You can find his podcast 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?

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!

Wizzard Q2 2008 Results: My Take

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There has been a bit of fan-fare today regarding Wizzard’s press release about it’s Q2 2008 financial results. Both Paul Colligan and Podcasting News have highlighted the “bright” points of Wizzard’s press release. For those that think Wizzard is proof that podcast advertising is the answer I’d like to offer some context and thoughts:

  • Wizzard reported gross revenues of $1,465,874 for Q2/2008 – how much is podcast advertising and how much comes from their original “core” business of speech technology? It is never defined. Don’t make the mistake of assuming it is all podcast related.
  • Operating expenses for Q2 came down to $2,159,433 but things are still clearly in the red.
  • Wizzard is a 12 year old company (founded in ’96) loosing millions per year.
  • Wizzard makes no mention of their original business of “speech technology” in the substantive portion of their press release, it is all podcasting. What does that tell you?
  • Wizzard is a public company with only an estimated $6M in gross revenues – would you invest? (You Can: WIZD)
  • 3% revenue growth over Q2 2007. That is the nail in coffin. If they were in a mature industry such as the steel, oil or auto business that would be great, but an “explosive” growth segment such as New Media Advertising? You do the math.
  • A reported 1 Billion downloads last year and only 13 advertisers secured by their “sales pioneers.” 13! That is 1 advertiser per 76 million downloads.

I know a lot of people see $1.4M in a quarter and think wow – that is a lot of money, but given expenses of $2.16M it is not. If they were a new startup it is one thing, but this is a “mature” public company 12 years in the making. I know some of the folks at Wizzard – they are energetic, enterprising and I have high expectations for their future accomplishments. Just make sure you read their press releases with a bit of contextual balance.

UPDATE: I had a nice conversation with Chris Spencer, the CEO of Wizzard yesterday. We probably chatted for a good 20 minutes. I’m glad we got the opportunity to meet each other, and enjoyed our exchange. I’m still looking for explosive growth in the segment. We’ll see what the future holds.

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.


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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.