Podcasting: Do we need to go video with podcasting?


One of the big topics in the last day on thepodcaster’s mailing list on yahoo is the trend towards video.

After visiting the Portable Media Conference I am more sure than ever in saying: If you want to go video, but if not I will stay your ‘customer’. There are so many reasons NOT to do a video cast out of something and I think many people forget something if they think of video as a successor to audio.

Yes, TV was a successor to radio meaning it would take away viewing time from pure listening time. BUT. Audio Podcasting does lead to new customers – and they are not mainstream. Take me as an example.

I did not listen to radio nor watch TV nor do I today watch video casts (with some rare exceptions from time to time). But I have listened for the last two years to an amount of audio which you will not believe.

So while it did take away no time at all from my usual listening / viewing behaviour, it added a huge amount of media consumption. Think about that for a second. How many friends do you have which just do not watch TV anymore?

Here my reply from the mailing list

Stephen Eley (from the Escapepod) wrote:
> So there is plenty of demand. I don’t think that means everybody
> should drop what they’re doing and switch to video, but just because
> *you* don’t have a use for them doesn’t mean it’s a poor business move
> for the producer.

Yes. If you have a need for millions of viewers, then you most likely have to go for video. But also bring up your production values ALOT.

I don’t mind people going to video as long as there stays enough content to enjoy with audio :)

What most people confuse: The time of one medium only and millions of users is over. Most of us will never ( be it audio or video) achieve such huuuge listener or viewership. And that is perfectly fine.

Because if you long for the masses, you are going mainstream. Big time. And sorry to say that: If you try to play mainstream, you are better good. Really good.

Instead, lets look at what we have:
A possibility to get into the ears of hundred thousands if not millions of people and actually take them away from radio or audio book / music in all those places they still will not watch television even if there are enough available – you do not watch television when you drive a car.

If you want mass audience – that is fine too. I prefer a specific audience – geeky, intelligent and such. They are by definition fewer of those available than general public.

So. if you love doing something and have a passion on a topic and have the chance to have for example enthusiastic thankful 5000 listeners in comparison to doing something you hate just to try to attract more viewers with a technology which is not as easy as with audio – do you really think that is the way to go for you?

I rather take the 5K and learn how to grow them – if that is actually important to me.

Tip: It is not the world population which is your target. It is about the size of your target topic audience. And that can be so small, that 500 listeners means world domination.

When visiting the PME I was questioning myself if video should be stronger included, but after having some time to think about it I would say: No. Let’s keep the PME audio centric, perhaps with the addition of screen casting, but take most of the video things out and let them have it somewhere different.

OR make dedicated days to video and audio, so the audience can choose which day to go for their interest.

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2 Responses to “Podcasting: Do we need to go video with podcasting?”

  1. I think you should add video if it is relevant. If you’re doing a safari around unusual places, video can add a depth. But for simple round-table discussions like TWIT, once you have seen the crew, what does more video add to the experience. For me, the podcast is just fine and it comes in manageabl chunks to file for the future…300 MB video files are not going to be around for long on a hard disk. I am having enormous fun with HD video and short video reportages. But that isn’t a danger to my podcast routine. I spent more than 20 years as a radio producer/presenter in the Netherlands. I think that on-demand audio like podcasts spell the end of feature only networks, with the exception of BBC Radio 4. It may also bring bad some of the older genres like radio plays, but in a different way than most radio producers are clammering for.

  2. Nicole says:

    Where it adds benefit – absolutly.

    I was intrigued to capure a self cleaning toilett – but that is one accident into how many others I want to capture in audio.

    And roundtables – once I have identified who is talking ;) Besides the point that I then still would use the audio for the future.