Podcasting and advertising

In the last couple of months a couple of significant things happened:

  1. The Photo iPod came out, allowing iPod owners to sync photos to their iPod and view them later
  2. Podcasting – the concept of making the process of automagically grabbing music files (typically of talk show type content) off the Web and moving straight to your iPod

Podcasting is much like radio. You have talk shows, you have music. You have short segments, and long.

But it’s more like Netflix (where the content just shows up and  you can use it when you’re ready) than it is typical radio (where you have to tune in on a 1:1 basis – tune into one show, listen to one show). And for now, it’s mostly ad-free. But amazingly (or perhaps not) corporate entitiies have picked up on the podcasting phenomenon already. Heineken Music already has their own podcast. The technology is still very early, but companies are jumping on-board.

But there is more opportunity than just having companies do podcasts. Especially considering the photo iPod.

Advertising is based on images, mental (e.g. radio ads) or visual (e.g. print or TV or Internet). But think of how much more effort is put into visual ads than mental. Considering that, the focus of adding ads to simple podcasts becomes fairly unappealing now that the iPod (and other devices) has  the ability to auto-sync images, you can see that there is a potential for some amazing ad concepts.

Whether you’re talking about a service to deliver images, like Playboy’s iBod photos, or photo ads integrated into other content.

Imagine a couple of possibilities:

  • A technology podcast that inserts pictures of a tech company’s  newest products
  • A feed of humor based images that are also selling products (how many hilarious TV commercials have you gotten via email from friends?)

Of course the key here is that the ads have to be good. Everyone loves to receive and pass around the hilarious Ford/bird commercial. But who wants to get a late night bargin basement attorney commercial?

And here’s the real kicker: Corporate America needs to reassess what is “good” content. They’re going to have to break out of their comfort zones and let the creative folks create good content, not just content.  The content has to be able to hit viral status. What makes something viral, you ask? Good question – see my next blog post!