Michael Geoghegan reports that Podango seems to be going under. I’ve heard it from other folks, too. I’m sorry for Lee and the rest of the gang over there, because they were great supporters of PodCamp and generally nice folks. They aren’t the first podcasting company to sink into the mire by a long shot, and they won’t be the last (Michael says Mevio’s next). Michael loves reminding people of his podcasting is dead presentation, and I’ve been trashed a few times by the old guard of podcasting for saying similar things. The thing is, podcasting isn’t exactly dead- it’s different than we all planned.
All Tomorrow’s Radios
Julien and I talk about how the skills we’re sharing in our upcoming book, Trust Agents, are not unlike the communicators (be they advertisers, marketers, entertainers, or others like politicians) who mastered the difference between print and radio. They shifted from one media type to another, were there first, and took their platform rapidly to the top. Same thing happened with TV, again with the Internet in general, and most recently with what we’ve called new media, social media, and whatever else.
Podcasting as we all thought it might be in 2006 is gone. That won’t happen. You can dispute the hell out of me in the comments, but I’ll truck out as many fallen gods as you want. I know them all.
Instead, what’s going to happen is actually a bit more like what PodTech was trying to do before it went awry. I have always admired the early business model Jon Furrier had in place for PodTech, which was more about making interesting paid content. The payload of the information was decent, and companies were paying to get that information out there. I used to subscribe to over a dozen PodTech shows as a software engineer, and Furrier’s interviews both inspired me, and also saved my company millions of dollars.
There are many people who made good money with podcasting and videoblogging. I’m friends with them, too. The difference was this: they weren’t trying to sell entertainment for entertainment’s sake. They had a product or a service and they had a business model around their use of podcasting as a medium. My two most cited examples: the Financial Aid Podcast and WineLibrary TV.
My Old Vending Machine / Candy Bar Analogy
Owning a company like Podango is like owning a vending machine. If you’re hungry, you don’t think, “I hope there’s a really innovative vending machine out in the hall. You think, “Man, I really hope they have a Snickers.” Simply, you want the candy bar, not the machine.
Podcasts are candy bars. They’re the content. The thing is, just like candy bars, it’s a volume game. People aren’t willing to pay $6 for a Snickers. So, you have to find a way to extract value elsewhere.
In the end, want to make money with podcasting? Figure out how to make money not on the media itself, but on what the media represents. Simple, and yet elusive.
Lastly, maybe you don’t have to make money on podcasting. Maybe it’s just a really great way to convey information, or to display feelings, or to share information in non-text ways.
What say you?
Photo credit KevinDooley