What do Duke University, IBM, Capital One, Newsweek and Barenaked Ladies all have in common? Answer: they are all reaching out to staff, students, and customers with a new and powerful tool – a course in miracles. You may have heard about podcasting from your kids or on the news, but podcasting is much more than some phenomenon started by the rock and roll or techy crowd. Podcasting is a powerful communication tool being used to reach global and mobile audiences, save people time and, most importantly, really connect with their audiences in news ways – in today’s communication/message glut. But let’s take a look at what podcasting is, who is using and why it is so effective for both business and individuals.
— A recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that more than 22 million American adults own Ipods or and MP3 player and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts or listened to podcast that have been “pushed” to them. That equates to 6 million people listening to podcasts. Market researchers and analysts continue to buoy up podcasting’s future with latest figures suggesting a US audience alone of 56 million by 2010.
— Jupiter Research recently predicted that US digital music player sales would grow to 56 million by 2010, up from 16.2 million in 2004 and by 2010, three- quarters of all people who own portable digital music players will listen to podcasts, a growth from less than 15% last year.
Whether you describe it as the greatest communication tool since email, or as an RSS feed for audio, podcasting is a way to “push” audio content to subscribers for virtually zero cost. Podcasting allows anyone (me, you, IBM, or NBC) to post audio content that gets pushed to any subscriber’s desktop and then directly to their iPod or MP3 player. This is global. Anyone, anywhere can “tune in” to your podcast and learn what you have to offer or say. You don’t need to be NBC with a global distribution infrastructure. Now people can “subscribe” to a podcast and have new content “pushed” out to them without them having to surf the web, download MP3s or burn CD’s.
All the arrows go in one direction. Once someone has subscribe to your podcast, your content get “pushed” out to them. There is no turning in to stations with podcasting. You don’t have to visit a website to find streaming podcasting. Podcasts show up (pushed) when new content is produced. If you are a subscriber, you get the podcast right then. All you need is an Ipod or MP3 player of any kind for listening, thus the word podcasting.
The term “Podcasting” is derived from the iPod (Apple Computer’s popular device for playing compressed audio files) and “broadcasting.” Podcasting allows for audio files that would have been previously downloaded and played on a personal computer to be automatically downloaded and listened to on portable music playing devices (such as the iPod and other MP3 players).
Having originated in the world of blogging, some have even referred to podcasting as “audio blogging.” For many, podcasting is a logical next step from blogging. As Business Week Senior Writer Stephen Baker observes, “The heart of the podcasting movement is in the world of blogs, those millions of personal Web pages that have become a global sensation. In a blogosphere that has grown largely on the written word, podcasts add a soundtrack.”