Adding dollars to (video) podcasts

When did the word “podcast” begin to assume video? I don’t know, but here’s a pretty important article from OMMA Magazine that makes the assumption.

According to a recent eMarketer study, the audience for podcasts will reach 25 million in 2008 and 50 million by 2010. With that growth will come ad dollars–some $300 million by 2010, estimates Mike Chapman, eMarketer’s editorial director. He believes most of that money will flow into network content, which today is offered for a small fee per episode.

That’s also likely to happen because the audience for podcasts is an attractive one for advertisers: Early adopters are in the 18-to-34 demographic sweet spot. Advertising on podcasts also has the benefit of interactivity endemic to the broadband-based iTunes platform and could be priced on a per response model, à la Google’s AdSense, Chapman notes. With niche content, advertisers can target their messages more granularly.

There are a couple of points to note. Firstly, given mass media’s penchant for killing the goose that laid the golden egg, can we safely assume that ABC, for example, will still charge $1.99 for an episode of “Lost” after it adds an ad or two to the program (think movie theaters)? Gee, I wonder.

Secondly, always remember when using the word “podcast” in the same sentence with “big media” that you’re looking at another form of one-to-many distribution, which is their bread-and-butter. That’s why they understand it so well and why they can play bully in the space.

What will the people formerly known as the audience think? Read Jay Rosen’s brilliant letter from the former audience to big media and you’ll come away with a pretty good idea.

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