Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | Will podcasting take over the world?
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Will podcasting take over the world?

I get a lot of inquiries about podcasting because has had podcasts for a year, from newspapers interested in starting podcasts, consulting companies researching them, and from students working on papers.

I recently received a note from a student in England, and I thought I’d post his question and my response:

“I would like to know your opinion on podcasts, do you think they are going to supercede traditional radio broadcasting? Or do you think Podcasts complement traditional radio shows – in england, many radio djs podcast in addition to their radio shows and some are very successful. Ricky Gervais’ (of ‘The Office’) podcast has been phenomenley succesful in England… how popular is podcasting in the United States? What do you think its impact will be on traditional broadcasting and media (eg radio, print)?”

The simple answer to your question, in my opinion, is that podcasting will continue to complement traditional media (both print and broadcast) and not become the primary medium for news, information and entertainment. I guess the potenial is there, but when you look at the worldwide saturation of both TV and radio hardware vs. computers and (especially) MP3 players, I think it’ll take quite sometime before people turn to podcasts over other sources.

Having said that, it’s interesting to ponder whether the networked nature of the Internet will make podcasting more powerful in the end. With traditional print publishing as well as broadcast, you’re only reaching your local audience, or whatever audience you can affect within your sphere of signal/influence/delivery. The ‘Net is everywhere at once, and that proposes a pretty cool concept, that anyone anywhere at anytime can find out about anything anyplace else.

Hmm. But that’s not specific to podcasting, that’s the current and future power of the Internet as a whole.

I will say, that the great thing about podcasting, both audio and video, is that like blogging, it gives the ability to publish in the hands of amateurs and “citizen journalists.” That aspect is still shaking out. I imagine it’ll be like blogs have become, seven years since the inception of blogging. Podcasting will evole and mature much more quickly, but there will be tiers of amateur podcasting and “serious,” hobbyists and academics, and on top, the major media’s commercial and professional podcasting efforts.