If you know the past you can predict the future. This isn’t always true, but this post by Doc Searls really helps understanding how the podcasting business model can evolve. If you’re interested in the topic there is also a (very long) post on Ratcliff blog which, on the contrary, considers the “future” of podcasting. Be aware you need some time to read the discussion, and you will also have to skip some flames. But it’s worth reading to get a better idea of where the podcasting business can or cannot head.
On Business Week Heather Green explores some of the possibilities to make money out of podcasting. Sponsorship is at the moment the most used business model and it’s usually based on a flat rate deal with the advertiser. Sponsorship implies a 15 or 30 seconds audio ad at the beginning of the podcast. Of course, as the article points out, if the ads are based on a flat rate, they can end up being a bargain or a total failure, depending on the number of downloads the podcast will receive. Prices per thousand downloads range from $10 to $25, with podcasters taking advantage of the fact they reach specific target groups. The more selected the audience, the higher the value for the advertiser. However, several podcasters want to stay “pure” and avoid advertising to make money out of their audio files. Some are asking for donations (even $2 can help) or charging subscription fees.
Forbes explores the podcasting world, questioning if and how it is possible to make money out of podcasts. Stan Sorensenm, senior director of product management and marketing of Melodeo, suggests there a few possible ways to monetize podcasting: embedding advertising and creating premium channels. Ad-supported model for podcasting (replicating the radio model) is probably the easiest and (at the moment) best solution. However finding the right ad-format still requires some testing. The “traditional” 30 seconds radio spot is way too long, with the fast-forward button just one touch away. Ads need to be short enough where it does not make sense to skip them.
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