PME - Leo Laporte's Keynote (podcasting's "terrible twos")

Here at Podcasting Expo, and Leo Laport is the first keynote. He's received the podcaster of the year award, and is talking about podcastings "terrible twos". He's got 5 issues he wants to talk about to set the tone for the conference. (Now, I've tried to take good notes, but I only caught 4 things... so perhaps one of these is really two things.)

(1) THE NAME! Should we call this "podcast"? What are Apple's rights? What are Apple's goals? Should we care? Laporte knows we shouldn't be afraid of Apple's attempt to gain rights to all things "pod". But another (more important) question is should we defend the name? Haven't we all had a problem with the name all along? (This is the "podcasting-doesn't-need-an-i-pod" problem/naming misnomer.) He notes some problems like MS Zune and the Vista player not supporting the "podcast" platform. Suggests this is a problem with the name.

Laporte has re-branded his podcasts as "netcasts". (He came up with this in the shower.) He thinks it's more generic, and it's accurate. (But there's a Swiss trademark on the term, however not here in US.) He likes "netcast" not only because it's more accurate, but he also likes the pun -- e.g., casting a broad net. Laport wants to have NETCAST trademarked and then donated to a consortium. In the end, Apple and iTunes has been both the best and worst thing for podcasting. It's time to cCut the cord with Apple, and work on how we market ourselves separately.

{UPDATE 10/16/06: Leo has a poll going on his website where you can vote on the best name. Right now 44% (of a total of 11,175 votes) have voted keep "podcast" because it's too late to change.}

(2) THIS IS A PARTY, NOT A COMPETITION. We should be cooperating, not competing. It's a "coopetition"! The goal is not to make xyz podcast number 1, instead it's to make podcasting/netcasting number 1. Our only job is to promote the medium. We succeed based on all of our success.

(3) GROW THE AUDIENCE. We've got to grow the audience, all of our audiences. (Not clear to me how this is different from #2.)

(4) LET'S NOT FALL INTO THE TRAP OF BEING LIKE OLD MEDIA. We can all monetize podcasting. Podcasting is the best advertising medium ever, but that's not why we're here. We're here because we can make something and create something of value. We can do this without selling out, without hurting the culture. Monetization will happen, and we can do it in creative ways, so that we don't damage the culture. Laporte reminds us that the fun thing is that nobody knows what's right. Nobody has the answers. We know this isn't radio or tv. And the degree to which we can put the old methods behind us, is the degree to which we'll be able to succeed. The relationship with your listeners is the key to your success. The conversation you have with your listeners is the most important thing (this is what advertisers drool over!). It's the number one thing. And it's exactly what makes podcasting different from radio and tv (which were one-way 'conversations'). One example of simple monetization is to ask for donations. It creates listeners who are invested in your show. Another example is advertising, but advertising is typically based on costs per thousands, an "old media" model. In addition to just being an old way of monetizing, the reason this is bad is because we don't have a good way of measuring our audiences (the "is-a-download-a-listener" issue). The value of our podcasts is measured by our relationship with our audience, and that's what needs to be monetized. In the end, we can do better than radio and tv.

In conclusion, Laport ended with a positive message: We are in an exciting new age with truly unusual opportunities. New media do not spring up all the time. Ultimately, he believes this is "THE" media. This is the way people want to receive their media. We're finally giving people what they want.

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