The last decade has witnessed the transformation of the way content is produced and consumed.
Such platforms as Blogger and WordPress have democratized online publishing and made frequent, personal and authentic communication the norm. The use of videos, from the most basic and cheap to more advanced and expensive, is continuing to grow thanks, in no small part, to a more mature ecosystem that has formed around it.
But one content format in particular – the podcast – has had a somewhat tougher time attaining widespread adoption. And for the past couple of years, rather quietly, a new form communication platform and format – online radio – has been growing its fan base of users and fans.
In what follows you’ll discover the differences between podcasting and online radio/broadcasting and why we think the latter is a perfect way for you to grow your audience and increase its levels of engagement and loyalty to your work and business.
Podcast: Long History, but Limited Prospects?
Existing in one shape or another since the late 90s and holder of the title ‘word of the year’ by the New Oxford American Dictionary in the year 2005, the term podcast usually refers as a series of audio files, which listeners can access, sync, and subscribe to at any time using RSS.
5by5 – A Popular Podcast Network
The Growth of Online Radio and Live Broadcasting
But podcasting isn’t without its downsides and faults. In the eyes of many would-be podcaster and investors, it’s still a format in search of a business model and not an area worthy of further investment in part due to the inherent difficulty in monetizing it.
From a listener’s perspective, listening to podcasts is actually a lot of work: there’s the task of finding the podcast, downloading it, syncing it, and keeping track of the various tracks on whichever device you happen to use at the time. None of these things are difficult or time consuming, but they represent numerous steps in a process. Unlike, say Spotify or Twitter, tools that offer instant access and instant consumption, a podcast requires significant mental commitment.
Sensing an opportunity for improvement, many have set on a path of enhancing the podcast and moving the medium in new directions. Apple has released its own app for podcast listeners, and an app called Sticher, as Time writes, “brings together live stations, recorded talk-radio shows and podcasts from around the web into a single app”, and TuneIn claims to provide access to 70,000 live radio stations and 2 million podcasts, concerts and shows.
Blogtalkradio and Spreaker put creators at the forefront, helping them host their own talk radio show and broadcast their message to the world.
But where are podcasting and its close counterpart – online radio (both live and recorded) – headed and, more importantly, what is missing from the picture?
For starters, unlike traditional radio, its online equivalent is missing an “always on” feature. The functionality for interacting with one’s own listeners has a long way to go.
But in the months and years to come, we at Croice and others will be working to help initiate the following trends:
Creating an ecosystem around live online radio podcasts and broadcasts which will allow anyone to tune in at any time “at a flip of a switch”- in the fashion of a car radio.
Helping podcaster live-stream their talks and shows while allowing for easier and more engaged conversations with their listeners.
To put this into perspective, it’s worth noting that these trends are taking place in other mediums already. Although operating in a different industry, General Assembly has been one of the first to bring elements of daily “live” broadcasts and interactivity with viewers as you can see form a screenshot of one of its talks:
In the end, no one can predict how online content creation and consumption will evolve with full certainty (several years ago, few foresaw the explosion of blogging from both small and large companies), but we are confident that growing numbers of people will turn to live and recorded podcast to get their daily fix of news, education, or entertainment.
Click here to see how Croice can help you keep you engage your audience while you host your online radio podcast.