Podcasting: is there a business model?

For those of you yet to get into podcasting, I couldn’t recommend it more highly. Though it’s not exactly mainstream yet, the ability to donload free content of your choice is incredible.
There is an amazing growth of in Blogs (Technorati is calling it at 26.4 million now, up 5.7 million since I started this blog). And there’s also a huge increase in the number of podcasts too – some sources say that the number of podcasts is on its way to the one million mark.

Inevitably, as the podcast phenomenon grows, businesses big and small will no doubt try to cash in. But is there a business model for podcasting? Afterall, we are now used to the idea of podcasts being free. I can only imagine that podcast listeners would be very reluctant to start paying for podcasts. Advertising and ad revenue doesn’t count – the whole notion of podcasting is that it’s a commercial free environment. Created by anyone and about anything. That’s the beauty of it.

So how can you make money from podcasting, if at all?
Matt and Jon from Bind Inc, the guys behind the Cubicle Escape Pod podcast have coined the term “Modcasting”. Modcasting allows we the podcast listener to have their own customised podcast, based on segments of a show that they opt to hear. It seems like a simple idea, but a great one.
Once you can personalise podcast content, you can begin charging for it. Here are just a few examples I can think of that modcast technology could be used for:

  • An independent music retailer could launch a monthly music modcast. Users could specify what genres of music they like, and recieve their very own podcast to hear new music releases within those genres.
  • A news provider could create personalised audio news reports – news content targeted toward the listeners’ interests, preferences and even geographic location, etc etc.
  • A travel company like Lonely Planet could provide travellers with up-to-date information about the places they are visiting, including top visitor attractions, accomodation trips, tourist traps and the like.

And I’m sure you could all think of many more.

I strongly believe that delivering personalised content on a podcast would be a valid way to start charging for that content. I can easily imagine that people would pay for their very own radio show.
To be honest I’m surprised that there hasn’t been much hype about modcasting. At a time when no-one has suggested a plausible way to make money from podcasting, modcasting seems the obvious one.

One Response

  1. chevy\’s are the best!

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