PodCamp Montreal 2008

Registrations are now open for PodCamp Montreal 2008. The event, focused on podcasting and other new social media, is free and will happen on September 20th and 21st at Pavillon de Design de l’UQAM in Montreal.

PodCamp Montréal 2008

Schedule is here.

It’s organized by many of my good friends in the Montreal web community. Just go and register! They are also looking for sponsors if any of my readers are interested in showcasing their brand and technology in front of early adopters and influencers.

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Evan Williams: What We’ve Learned Running Twitter

As most product managers will attest, the temptation is always great to add new features when building a product. Evan Williams, Twitter’s founder, did a short presentation yesterday afternoon at the Web 2.0 Summit to talk about how we can build better products by removing features instead.

Web2Summit Evan Williams Twitter

Knowing that Williams created Blogger at Pyra Labs, he defines Twitter as a blogging application with a maximum of 140 characters and no formatting. But he says that Twitter does not compete with current blogging applications as it offers a different experience. They originally built their technology to use with an already existing ubiquitous friend status network: the SMS, and SMS basically come with a command line.

They quickly realized that the majority of people went directly to the Twitter web site, many of them using 3rd party apps built on their API. They now have hundreds of applications today because “text integrates well with everything”.

He offered additional examples of sites or technologies that kept things simple (or that should keep things simple):

  • YouTube has a 10-minute limit for uploaded videos. This definitely had a beneficial impact on the service as it created addictive, ready-for-the-web content.
  • Podcasts would certainly benefit from a time limit to become a more successful phenomenon.
  • What about a social network that limits you to 10 friends?
  • What about a dating site with only a picture and a yes/no button? (Hot or Not)
  • What about an e-mail tool where you can only have 20 messages in your inbox?
  • What about a competitor of MySpace where only college students are admitted? (Facebook)
  • What about a competitor of Yahoo with only a search box on white page? (Google)

What is Social Media?

In my daily work, I often use the expression “social media”. I’ve been asked to define it before but I always end up talking about user-generated content and reciprocal, two-way conversation between the user and the media. Wikipedia has a good definition but Joe Marchese from the Mediapost’s Online Spin adds more meat:

Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, perspectives and media itself. Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. These sites typically use technologies such as blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, and vlogs to allow users to interact. A few prominent examples of social media applications are Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Gather.com (social networking),YouTube (video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), Digg (news sharing), Flickr (photo sharing) and Miniclip (game sharing).” (source: Wikipedia)

Marchese begins: “first I think one of the biggest myths regarding social media is that it equals user-generated content. (…) Second, there is nothing about social media that demands user creation. The “media” part of social media can be anything from professional content to home videos. Just because “America’s Funniest Home Videos” consisted of user-generated content certainly didn’t make it social media. Conversely, just because “Heroes” is professionally produced doesn’t mean that it can’t be social media.”

He continues: “the real difference between broadcast media and social media is not the media itself, but the system of discovery, distribution, consumption and conversation surrounding the media. (…) What many of us are defining as social media today are actually just technologies specifically architected to facilitate people’s natural tendencies to seek out, share and discuss media content. Think about it. How is MySpace social medium? I would certainly say that MySpace is the largest and most influential social media platform of our time, but it doesn’t create media (at least not for most of it). The media one finds on MySpace is a mix of professional, semi-professional and (I hate using the term) “user- generated” content, and that media is made social by the context of its distribution and its ability to create dialogue between people. ANY TYPE OF MEDIA CAN BE SOCIAL MEDIA — and eventually all media will be social media in the most literal definition. This will have serious implications for media companies and advertisers alike, so it is important that we are not dismissing social media as the user-generated portion of the Internet.”

What it means: so my quasi, minimalistic definition wasn’t too far off. I agree that social media is all about the conversation but I think that, as part of that conversation, there will be some “user-generated content” happening. I agree that all media can be social media. I would even say that all media will have to become social media. Consumers are getting used to contributing to the conversation and that’s not going away. BTW, I like his thoughts regarding America’s Funniest Home Videos.

Podcasting Trends & Ad Revenue Forecast: $400M in 2011

Details of a new eMarketer report on Podcasting have surfaced in Media Week (via Frank Barnako’s blog)

Highlights:

  • Spending on podcasting advertising will quintuple over the next five years, from a paltry $80 million base in 2006 to a $400 million market in 2011.
  • eMarketer analyst James Belcher expects that by 2008, (Google) will develop a version of AdSense that can be easily adapted to podcasts, theoretically allowing any podcaster to add advertising.
  • Market size: some 90,000 podcasts are available on the Web and there are close to 90 million iPods in the market
  • Just 12% of Americans report having ever consumed a podcast and just 1% do so regularly, which translates to roughly 3 million people.
  • Despite the small base of users, podcasting represents an attractive medium, given its targeting, its low cost and its obsessive/passionate user base but podcasting is thought of as a supplemental medium by advertisers.
  • Several major brands have jumped into the medium. Podtrac, a startup that’s building a podcasting network, has run podcast campaigns for Warner Bros., Paramount, Dell, T-Mobile, HBO, Honda and others, with most coming in the second half of last year.
  • A common complaint among buyers and sellers: it’s very difficult to measure exactly how many people actually listen to or view individual podcasts right now.

What it means: based on that information, podcasting is still very much a niche market. The winner will probably be the company that manages to aggregate enough ears or eyeballs to create critical mass. Standard measurements will also be key if pro podcasters want this to become a true media. Would love to know what my friend Mitch Joel, a pro podcaster with 38 “Six Pixels of Separation” podcasts under his belt, thinks of this new report.

Podcasting Trends & Ad Revenue Forecast: $400M in 2011

Details of a new eMarketer report on Podcasting have surfaced in Media Week (via Frank Barnako’s blog)

Highlights:

  • Spending on podcasting advertising will quintuple over the next five years, from a paltry $80 million base in 2006 to a $400 million market in 2011.
  • eMarketer analyst James Belcher expects that by 2008, (Google) will develop a version of AdSense that can be easily adapted to podcasts, theoretically allowing any podcaster to add advertising.
  • Market size: some 90,000 podcasts are available on the Web and there are close to 90 million iPods in the market
  • Just 12% of Americans report having ever consumed a podcast and just 1% do so regularly, which translates to roughly 3 million people.
  • Despite the small base of users, podcasting represents an attractive medium, given its targeting, its low cost and its obsessive/passionate user base but podcasting is thought of as a supplemental medium by advertisers.
  • Several major brands have jumped into the medium. Podtrac, a startup that’s building a podcasting network, has run podcast campaigns for Warner Bros., Paramount, Dell, T-Mobile, HBO, Honda and others, with most coming in the second half of last year.
  • A common complaint among buyers and sellers: it’s very difficult to measure exactly how many people actually listen to or view individual podcasts right now.

What it means: based on that information, podcasting is still very much a niche market. The winner will probably be the company that manages to aggregate enough ears or eyeballs to create critical mass. Standard measurements will also be key if pro podcasters want this to become a true media. Would love to know what my friend Mitch Joel, a pro podcaster with 38 “Six Pixels of Separation” podcasts under his belt, thinks of this new report.

Podcasting Offers a Great Opportunity for Traditional Media

pew_logo_2.jpgBusiness Week is reporting on a Pew Internet & American Life Project podcast downloading survey and gives readers a pretty good summary of the podcast landscape. Highlights from the Business Week article include:

  • “Roughly 12% of Internet users have downloaded podcasts in order to listen in at a later time” (up from 7% early this year)
  • “Most tuning into podcasts are sampling shows available, rather than subscribing and regularly listening to particular programs”
  • “Only 1% of Internet users reported downloading podcasts on a typical day”
  • “Estimates of the number of podcasts range from 30,000 to more than 60,000”
  • “Researchers at the Diffusion Group forecast that 11.4 million Americans will tune into podcasts by the end of 2006″ (21.7 million in 2007)
  • “Analysts point out that it’s still hard for many Internet users to find satisfying podcasts, much less ones that you want to hear on a regular basis”
  • 75% of the podcast traffic is driven through Apple iTunes
  • “Many of the most popular podcasts are produced by traditional media outlets (about half of iTunes’ top 100 podcasts are from existing media companies)”.
  • “A Forrester study found that the content many respondents were most interested in receiving via podcast was produced by traditional media outlets.”
    • 23% of respondents were interested in radio news programs
    • 20% wanted broadcast radio shows
    • 20% wanted to listen to recorded books
    • 18% wanted television news programs
    • 10% wanted recorded news or magazine articles
    • 8% wanted audio content from bloggers.

What it means: even though podcasting (and listening to podcasts) is growing, volume usage is still limited to traditional media consumption. Is podcasting a way for traditional radio broadcasters to offer time displacement like Tivo or PVRs are doing for TV? This clearly seems like a great opportunity from a traditional media point of view, an opportunity to extend the reach and frequency of radio and TV shows (via video
podcasts
).

Harry says: Public broadcasters have already embraced podcasts as a way to timeshift; many NPR, CBC and BBC programs are available within hours of their original radio broadcast. As for traditional media outlets having the upper hand, they do have the talent, technology and promotion machines to stake out the top positions. The world’s most popular non-traditional media podcast, This Week in Tech (reportedly with hundreds of thousands of weekly listeners), features media personalities that produce the show on the side, in addition to their ongoing mainstream media jobs. Reminds me of the adage, giving someone a paintbrush doesn’t make them a painter.