Monday, April 11, 2005

The Podshow must go on

Back in March, I suggested that Virgin Radio's pioneering, if flawed, Podcasts could be a major step forward for the nascent medium.

It looks like investing in that crystal ball was worthwhile with news that is launching offering the listeners the chance to pay (49p upwards) to download a custom show.

While the quality varies, with some dubious careers resurrections (literally in Kenny Everett's case), this is an interesting new model for radio, especially as, unlike Virgin Radio's Podcasts, you will be able to listen to most of the music.

However, the model does raise several questions:

- Can the public be persuaded to pay for a medium that has always been free (bar listening to a few ads)?

- Do the likes of Tony Blackburn and Terry 'The Word' Christian have enough of a cult following among Podcast users to pay for the service?

- Is there a big enough audience out there given recent debate over the actual number of people downloading Podcasts? Perhaps not yet.

- How long before they start appearing on the P2P networks? (That's a whole other question...)

As an advocate of Me, Me, Me media, I welcome such developments and expect this to be one of many models in the search for turning Podcasting potential into profit.

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