Oct 4, 2005 - podcasting    No Comments

Podcasting vs. 500 Cable Channels … the winner? (psst … it ain’t cable)

Catching up on my podcasts (I listen to way too many of them … but I can’t help myself), I’m listening to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code for September 22 right now, as Adam’s doing a bit of comparison/contrast on the popularity of podcasting here in the states, while the concept is a little slower getting off the ground elsewhere around the globe.  To summarize, Adam believes:

  • Podcasting is popular here in the US because people are fed up with what radio/TV are currently offering … the technology now exists both for you and I to both create and share content (audio now, and video coming) … and people are “voting with their ears and eyes” by hunting down something new.
  • In the UK (for example), the media (BBC) does better programming, so there’s less frustration or dissatisfaction … hence podcasting, while growing, is growing slower.

I completely agree.  The networks (and I’m talking television, cable, and radio) have done a wonderful job packaging up pablum that the unwashed masses have greedily consumed.  Problem is … we may be unwashed, but we like a bit of variety in our diet … and the networks are doin’ a poorer and poorer job with the meal planning (to continue the analogy).  What with all the talk of obesity in America, you could extend things even farther and say that our media habits are as cholesterol-and-sugar-heavy as our eating habits, except that it’s our minds that are getting fat, slow, and lethargic.  Spoon feed the same boring … well, crap … and see what happens?

But I digress.  Here’s another angle to consider:  Remember when cable (TV) first made its appearance?  Remember all the promises made by cable/broadband proponents?

  • Enhanced TV (with additional embedded content)
  • 500 channels (or more) … you could literally find anything you want to watch

That was then … this is now:

  • Enhanced TV … if you have a High Definition TV and you’re watching one of the few programs that use it
  • More channels than before … not 500 … unless you count the 20 channels of in-car NASCAR + 20 channels of football + 20 channels of baseball + multiple ESPN channels + all the HBO channels + all the Showtime channels (that show the same movies) + … get the picture?

Why has it been this way?  Simple:  money.  It costs money to fire up channels (tv, cable, radio, doesn’t matter) … money to produce shows.  Where do you get money?  Advertisers … but it comes with a price:  the advertiser then controls (or, at the very least, influences) the programming.  And, it costs a lot of money.

Not with podcasting.  In fact, anyone can create a podcast.  All you need is an iRiver and a trip to Rob’s podcast411.com website (and podcast) to go through his tutorials and you’re off and casting … and you can podcast about anything you want.  You can even do video casts … with nothing more than your home movie camera if you choose.

Welcome to 500 real channels with content that spans the map.  Check out indiepodder.org or podnova and see for yourself.

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