August 21, 2007

"Podcasting is dead."

Says Steve H. Oh, great, so then, I can drop that nagging feeling that I owe the world the next podcast?
As a veteran of the podcasting era, I cannot believe how much more effective Youtube is. Podcasting, including Internet radio, is a complete joke. I was wrong to think it was going to take off.

I stuck a silly 38-second Marvin video up on Youtube, and today it has had 596 views, with my "" logo displaying the whole time. I created my last Blogtalkradio podcast ten days ago, and so far it has attracted 132 measly listeners. By the time the Marv thing has been up ten days, at least 5,000 people will have seen it....

Podcasting is dead. Even interactive podcasting with callers. Case closed. End of discussion. For that matter, compared to video, blogging is dead.
True? Steve thinks podcasts draw their audiences from the podcaster's blog, but YouTube brings in new viewers, people who don't know you at all and can bring new traffic to the blog. Steve's really obsessed with traffic, there. And his videos display a pet, which is a special YouTube dynamic. It may all depend on what you're doing. I do YouTube videos just as a way of getting video for the blog, so they aren't independent of blogging, and I don't try to pull in new readers via YouTube. But maybe I should? Yet what could I do to work the YouTube dynamic that would compare to a damned talking parrot? And what's with people and animals? The fascination is bizarre.


Ron said...

Maybe a vlog could be the main Althouse forum with the blog being for "annotations" of things said in the vlog.

Unknown said...

I think that the value of YouTube as a way of reaching a new audience depends entirely on the target demographic. If you're looking for more males age 12-17, it's probably a pretty good resource.

That might be a pretty good group for Steve. I don't know. Is that a good demographic for Ann? She'll have to answer that for herself.

Paddy O said...

The last big thing is dead! The new big thing is what's going to change the world! Until there's another new big thing! Then that's going to change the world and the old new big thing will be soooo childish!

Steve H. Graham said...

It's not all about Marvin. I used to get 200 listeners per podcast on Libsyn. I typically got fewer on Blogtalkradio. But I have a new Youtube video with very little Marvin content that got over 800 views this weekend. And they don't come from my blog.

Youtube is just plain more effective. And it has legs. Youtube is old by Internet standards, and it's stronger than ever. When podcasting was the same age, it was dead and moldering.

Palladian said...

Podcasts are for smarter people. Seeing a video of someone talking usually doesn't add much worthwhile to the audio, unless you have a talking parrot or are a ventriloquist. Like the line from "Radio Days" about Edgar Bergen: "He's a ventriloquist on the radio! How do you know he isn't moving his lips?"

One of the great flaws of television and YouTube by extension is that it requires you to watch, which means you have to sit there and not do anything else. I've always found this difficult. With a podcast, you can do other things. You might have fewer listeners to a podcast than viewers of a YouTube video, but the listeners will, I believe, be more dedicated, more interested in what you have to say than in what your parrot might be doing and on the average, smarter. IE, not 17 years old. But if all you want is hits, then I'd go for the parrot, and maybe add some whipped cream, something burning, and a midget.

The Commercial Traveller said...

One of the disadvantages of YouTube is that I can't download the audio to my iPod and listen to them on the road or while exercising. Podcasts as still better for that activity.

Laura Reynolds said...

Another disadvanatge to YouTube is, if you work where I work and for whom I work, you can't get YouTube.

Joe said...

Podcasting has always been a marginal activity, why is anyone surprised?

Beth said...

Podcasting is a useful tool for the classroom. I've seen some good demonstrations of teachers (math, statistics, any process-based or formulaic subject, especially) who record their lecture in both audio and video and create a video podcast so students can review it. Or they post it in a distance learning software. I heard Apple is working on a podcast interface with Blackboard, so I'm eager to see how that turns out. I can think of some ways that would be useful in a composition classroom, or even in a poetry course.

reneviht said...

Personally, I dislike podcasts and vlog entries. This is largely because I can read faster than most people speak (and if they were speaking that fast, I wouldn't be able to follow). However, it's also much easier to find something in written text than it is to find something in the middle of a recorded message.

The only thing I prefer about audio with or without video as a medium is that it's substantially easier to share it with someone else at the same time. I don't really have a good setup for sharing when it's delivered from a computer.

Ann Althouse said...

The thing about audio is you can listen to it while you're walking, working, or driving and you want to occupy your mind with something. Video is almost always consumed while sitting around, which is why it's comparable to reading (and whether it's worse or better is a matter of opinion). So, audio is in a different niche, and very useful. I don't listen to podcasts anymore because they are too thin and slow. I listen to audiobooks. They are better done and meatier.

Shawn Levasseur said...

As others have said You Tube requires you to be connected to the net to use it. Whereas podcasts are more portable.

Also, podcasting does not require your full visual attention. You can more easily have a podcast on while doing other work.

So often the video is nothing more than the subject talking in front of the camera. It's a nice way to get a better sense of the personality of the speaker every once in a while.

At any rate, I believe the model where You Tube is the home of all these videos won't last.

As bandwith and storage becomes more plentiful. People will have more options, and will want to deliver their video in the manner of their choosing, not YouTube's.

Podcasts don't HAVE to be radio. They can be (and some are) video podcasts. Case in point: "The Merlin Show" by Merlin Mann, a video podcast spinoff of his "43 Folders" blog.

And unlike YouTube, video podcasts can be put on an iPod.

reneviht said...

Yeah, I realized it was different shortly after posting my comment... ah, stupid me.

I think I'd use Audiobooks for that sort of thing myself - it's probably slightly less important if you miss a sentence in a work of fiction than in a report about current events.

Maxine Weiss said...

If you are going to read a book; read a book. Listening to audio is not "reading" a book.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Ann: "I don't listen to podcasts anymore because they are too thin and slow."

A lot of podcasts could stand to be better planned and timed. Too often it ends up a bunch of people chatting without concern for time. If they had some "clock discipline" and forethought, they could produce a better, more informative and interesting show.

Also, I'm suprised I don't find more shorter form podcasts.

There are lots of podcasts that are full shows that are about an hour or more.

I'd like to see more of these podcasts work in lighter sized chunks of 5-10 minutes, or even less, like commentary features that news radio stations run (such as Paul Harvey)

Maxine Weiss said...

Althouse has no presence on YouTube because her videos have no movement. It's always a very static sitting and talking.

We need to see Althouse crashing through a door, or opening a window. We need to see how she walks from place to place. Cooking, running, fiddling.

Nobody wants to see talking dolls. Don't talk about it; show it. That's what video is.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Maxine:"If you are going to read a book; read a book. Listening to audio is not "reading" a book."

So long as you're listening to an unabridged version. You're getting all the same information. All the same words. So what's the difference?

It's not like we're talking about Cliff's Notes here.

reader_iam said...

Sure, I use YouTube a lot for certain specific things. But it does not, and cannot--for me--replace podcasting.

Video-blogging and/or -casting is way too controlling for me. I don't like the fact that these demand my eyeballs, and therefore the rest of body. I don't want to have to just sit there and watch. I either want to read at my own (much faster than people can talk) pace, or I want to listen while I'm moving around or doing something else.

Even with something like BHTV, of which I am a regular consumer, I download the audio and consume in that fashion. If those weren't available, my consumption would drop to close to zero.

Schuler's right about the target demographics, as SteveH is about hits. Clearly, many people are far more attracted to the visual, and that's fine. But if you want MY demographic, don't insist on controlling the encounter by demanding my undivided attention and/or insisting I move at your pace!

'Cause you ain't gettin' it, especially if you require it, except on the rarest of occasions.


Note: The "you" is the generic, and not directed to Ann specifically.

Although, now that I'm thinking about it, I was very loyal to the podcast. I'm hit or miss with the vlogs, and almost every single time, I've thought--darn, wish I could just download the audio to this.

Joe said...

The problem with podcasts, and vlogs, is the failure of the participants to appreciate that both are disciplines quite different from writing blogs.

One of the things I've long observed is that even very disciplined writers tend to become long winded and inarticulate when doing audio and/or video. They tend to ramble, use too many filler words and to repeat themselves.

On top of that, most aren't voice trained, which is a real problem with an audio only medium. It's more than voices sounding shrill or breathy, it's about cadence and annunciation. There is a reason that most of the top radio personalities are such.

Palladian said...

"As others have said You Tube requires you to be connected to the net to use it."

No problem with our new iPhones!

Anonymous said...

I read Steve Graham at and just have to insert here that he's a really, really smart and funny guy. It's just that he's gracious enough to let his parrot upstage him, sometimes.

For the life of me, I can't figure out what humans did before YouTube, which is easier to pronounce and access than a "vlog," "peapodcast" or "Blogtalkieradio."

Jeremy said...

I have a brilliant idea for you, Ann, and you don't even have to pay me for it. Your next vlogs should be Bob Ross-like sketch/painting lessons! Advantages: Obvious. Disadvantages: You'd have to change your hair.

I never listen to podcasts, and I very rarely watch vlogs. The only reason I have for going to youtube is music, although some of the retarded humor videos are sometimes worth seeing. My wife likes the pet stuff, but I don't understand it. I read blogs all the time, provided they have interesting content at least half the time. Take that for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

"Yet what could I do to work the YouTube dynamic that would compare to a damned talking parrot? And what's with people and animals? The fascination is bizarre."

Professor A.,

You occasionally photograph dead animals. You could YouTube film your idea of what they'd say if they could.

Jeff said...

I rarely watch vlogs as my iPod is an old, first generation one. I listen to many different podcasts, mostly divided between technology, comic books and role playing games.

Most of them tend to be from 45 minutes to two hours in length. I'd go crazy if I didn't have them to listen to during the day.

I actually download audio versions of video podcasts to listen to, so I can work and listen at the same time.

I wonder if a lot of the YouTube crowd is just wandering through. Will they be regular watchers?

Galvanized said...

In response to Jane above, before YouTube, I think that the general population scanned through cable TV, or the geekier of us blindly surfed the Web for whatever. But YouTube is a new interactive entertainment and has a little something for everyone. It satisfies that critic in all of us to find a hidden talent, or to allow amateurs a platform to show off theirs. Where I used to be able to sit in front of a television for an hour or so, I can hardly sit still for it anymore because I would rather choose my own programs and news content. This is one reason why people can't live without the filtering of their Tivo or DVR recording only what they want anymore, and must burn their own CDs rather than buy what's packaged and bundled for us. We all enjoy choosing our own content, and for many of us to find something suited specifically to our interests. Everybody can find their own niches. YouTube is a great place to do that, and to serendipitously discover things as well. Podcasts dead? Not any more than blogs or YouTube. Maybe they're just "niche-ier" -- more like "nook-ier and cranny-ier."

Unknown said...

Please folks don't get caught by the catchy headline of this blog post. Let's get real here as hype like this is what got us all to this point to begin with. Portable downloadable media usage was always going to be marginal for many years as it takes time to grow a new medium. It was never going to replace existing radio, TV like many thought in the early days of the podcasting boom. But I do believe that RSS based syndication and distribution of digital media will continue to grow as more and more people will prefer to store and playback content on the listener and viewers timetable. The concept is already here for many already with TIVO, DVR's and iTunes. It is all about getting content the audience wants for consuming at a later time is what this is all about. Audio podcasting will grow as it is enabled to all of our cars and on our mobile devices. Podcasting is not Dead, but is still in a very early stage of development.

Cliff J. Ravenscraft said...

I could not disagree more. As someone who has left a career in insurance after 11 years to pursue podcasting full time, I want to tell you that my audience grows each and every day, as do the number of people who pay me $10 per month just to continue to receive my content via rss.

I doubt youtube viewers would be willing to pay money for 38 second videos!

Podcasting Is Not Dead!