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  1. #1
    peterw's Avatar
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    Business model for podcasts

    Hi all, had an idea for a podcast business model, wanted to see what you thought.

    It seems to me from reading and listening to podcasters that you can't charge listeners for your show. Otherwise you won't grow, or you may shrink.
    So the fallback is advertising or merchandise.

    My idea is around advertising.
    What if there was a site you can upload your podcast to and when you upload you specify one or more timing points where an ad can be inserted.
    Whenever the podcast is downloaded it inserts the latest ad into the given timing points, creating a custom mp3 on the fly, and selects the add based on the down-loaders location or other info the down loader gives when signing up.

    The distributor and the content originator split the advertising income in some way based on number of downloads, or if there was a special app, perhaps number of listens.

    That's basically it. Someone may already be doing it.

    Scared stiff by Zombie stories... keeps listening

  2. #2
    Malador's Avatar
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    Kind of like a Pandora for podcasts

  3. #3
    peterw's Avatar
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    I guess. I don't think we get Pandora in Australia, I think it's limited to the US

    Scared stiff by Zombie stories... keeps listening

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    Tell 'em Steve-Dave.
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  5. #5
    Kc's Avatar

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    Gamertag: kc wayland Steam ID: waylandprod
    Quote Originally Posted by deer_in_the_headlights View Post
    Hi all, had an idea for a podcast business model, wanted to see what you thought.

    It seems to me from reading and listening to podcasters that you can't charge listeners for your show. Otherwise you won't grow, or you may shrink.
    So the fallback is advertising or merchandise.

    My idea is around advertising.
    What if there was a site you can upload your podcast to and when you upload you specify one or more timing points where an ad can be inserted.
    Whenever the podcast is downloaded it inserts the latest ad into the given timing points, creating a custom mp3 on the fly, and selects the add based on the down-loaders location or other info the down loader gives when signing up.

    The distributor and the content originator split the advertising income in some way based on number of downloads, or if there was a special app, perhaps number of listens.

    That's basically it. Someone may already be doing it.
    It's a good idea in principle. The complicated part is how to create that mp3 on the fly with the XML aggregates still able to grab the show, like iTunes. They take a VERY long time to update their XML and show listings. I suppose you could do it on the server side, but the podcast gets pinged so quick that on the fly may not work. If you can figure out a program that would rotate the ads on the mp3 files, THAT would be amazing and you should charge for that. That would work great for people who host on their own servers... BUT if a podcast hosts on Libsyn, then you might have problems with that.

  6. #6
    Duffusmonkey's Avatar
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    All the podcaster's I know tell me their business model is to put Amazon, Newegg and Adam & Eve Affiliate links on thier webpages and hope the kickbacks pay for server costs and beer. Its a good plan but my wife won't let me quit my day job.

  7. #7
    peterw's Avatar
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    Ok. Thanks for at least validating the model. I got some developer feedback and this is doable, maybe not with feedburner, but with a new kind of podcast site that takes some demographics and feeds mp3s with built in advertising. The ultimate it seems would be to have our own podcast listener that could actually track which ads have been listened to, and could insert new ads on each listen, but I don't think that it would work very well because people like to listen in their own ways and forcing a particular listening app on people would probably not be well received.

    So here is the model
    1. On the podcast site, grab some demographics that will help target advertising and make it more valuable
    2. provide a custom XML podcast RSS which contains identification of the listener in the feed, for example the file name could contain a unique id in it to identify the person
    3. When the file is requested, the server looks up the listener, check what ads they have already had, then inserts new ads based on demographics and an ad rotation algorithm. There would be a catchall kind of ad that you give when there aren't any good matches. This file is then served to the person
    4. The file is cached on the server for future listeners for a number of days to speed up downloads.

    This sort of system would require four parts
    1. Demographic collection and communication of the demographics to the back end mp3 server (just an extension to an existing site)
    2. RSS XML generator based on unique Ids known by the back end mp3 server (new RSS generator - extension to an existing site)
    3. The back end MP3 server that has a set of ads linked to demographics with each podcast being assigned timings in which to inserts ads, constructs the mp3 with ads inserted, serves the newly constructed mp3s, caches mp3 for others if practical. (new back end server... php?)
    4. A GUI to manage the podcast mp3s, ads, demographic targeting, stats on ad downloads, ad rotation settings (new GUI and server.. php?)

    As long as the core business model is ok, I think technically this could be done, and it wouldn't be too hard either. I lack the experience to know if the core business model is sound, so that's why your feedback is really helpful.

    BTW I'm not implying this should be done for WA, I know WA have already signed up with Nerdist and stuff, this is more for the art of radio drama that I'm thinking about this. My theory is that if there was an effective system for getting money for audio dramas, then we would get more of them and of a higher quality.

    Scared stiff by Zombie stories... keeps listening

  8. #8
    Kc's Avatar

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    Gamertag: kc wayland Steam ID: waylandprod
    Quote Originally Posted by deer_in_the_headlights View Post
    Ok. Thanks for at least validating the model. I got some developer feedback and this is doable, maybe not with feedburner, but with a new kind of podcast site that takes some demographics and feeds mp3s with built in advertising. The ultimate it seems would be to have our own podcast listener that could actually track which ads have been listened to, and could insert new ads on each listen, but I don't think that it would work very well because people like to listen in their own ways and forcing a particular listening app on people would probably not be well received.

    So here is the model
    1. On the podcast site, grab some demographics that will help target advertising and make it more valuable
    2. provide a custom XML podcast RSS which contains identification of the listener in the feed, for example the file name could contain a unique id in it to identify the person
    3. When the file is requested, the server looks up the listener, check what ads they have already had, then inserts new ads based on demographics and an ad rotation algorithm. There would be a catchall kind of ad that you give when there aren't any good matches. This file is then served to the person
    4. The file is cached on the server for future listeners for a number of days to speed up downloads.

    This sort of system would require four parts
    1. Demographic collection and communication of the demographics to the back end mp3 server (just an extension to an existing site)
    2. RSS XML generator based on unique Ids known by the back end mp3 server (new RSS generator - extension to an existing site)
    3. The back end MP3 server that has a set of ads linked to demographics with each podcast being assigned timings in which to inserts ads, constructs the mp3 with ads inserted, serves the newly constructed mp3s, caches mp3 for others if practical. (new back end server... php?)
    4. A GUI to manage the podcast mp3s, ads, demographic targeting, stats on ad downloads, ad rotation settings (new GUI and server.. php?)

    As long as the core business model is ok, I think technically this could be done, and it wouldn't be too hard either. I lack the experience to know if the core business model is sound, so that's why your feedback is really helpful.

    BTW I'm not implying this should be done for WA, I know WA have already signed up with Nerdist and stuff, this is more for the art of radio drama that I'm thinking about this. My theory is that if there was an effective system for getting money for audio dramas, then we would get more of them and of a higher quality.
    The BIG thing that I would say that might make or break the system is if you have it work with iTunes. iTunes is the #1 podcast aggregate and about 60% of the podcast pool, along with Zune. If you can get it to work within those systems you could make a lot of $...

  9. #9
    scbubba's Avatar
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    Not that it is exactly like your idea, deer, but take a look at Stitcher. They allow you to build your own streaming podcast playlist. They have a list of "you might also like" podcasts based on which podcast you are currently viewing.

    They don't mess with ads that are in the audio stream but they can inject ads between the podcasts. The tech to break the podcast stream at certain parts and run an ad is there, but you might need some play along from the podcast author/host to do it in a reasonable/seamless way.

    Sounds like you have a good idea there. Let us know how things turn out....
    Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

  10. #10
    peterw's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. I don't fancy my chances of working with Apple, I'll explore it a little more and let you know. If you knwo anyone who can tell me what demographics are good to capture that would be really helpful, and how to mach demographics to an ad - no idea about those.

    Also, my name "deer in the headlights" seemed like a good idea at the time i signed up but now I don't like it, especially when people have to call me "deer" (ha!) is there any way to change it?

    Scared stiff by Zombie stories... keeps listening


 
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