I was saddened to listen to the 400th episode of Schlaflos in Muenchen, for it is the last. Annik Rubens, the Valkyrie-voiced podcaster and princess of German podcasts I wrote about for The Guardian, said she will move onto something new after a two-week hiatus and she has other podcasts, like Filme und So. Still, she just tired of the form of her original podcast.
At the same time, the British prince of podcasting, Ricky Gervais, hangs up his microphone on his record-setting show.
What’s going on here? The death of podcasts? Naw. Step back from the keyboard before you start writing that made-up trend story. I sense that people (Winer aside) don’t flame out on blogs the way they might on podcasts and I think the reason for that is that podscasts are both more of a production and more of a performance. It’s harder. That’s also why fewer will start podcasts — and why I haven’t. It’s easier to blather through a keyboard than a microphone.
I complained that CNN wasn’t letting me listen to Howie Kurtz’s show on my iPod and on my schedule. But what do I find in iTunes today: the Reliable Sources podcast.
Nielsen released a report today on the economics of podcasting with some juicy stats to add to yesterday’s Pew numbers (here’s a only I to a PDF of the press release):
* 6 percent of U.S. adults — 9 million people — have downloaded podcasts in the last 30 days. The same number call themselves regular podcast listeners.
* More than 75 percent of them are male.
* 38 percent of active podcast listeners told Nielsen that they are listening to radio less often.
* The most successful podcasts, Nielsen says, are get two million downloads a month. (I’m curious to hear the stats for Diggnation and other big ones.)
* 60 percent said they always fast-forward past commercials.
* 72 percent of regular downloaders get one to three podcasts a week; heavy users — 10 percent of them — take eight or more.
Nielsen also said it is going to launch an iPod panel with 400 users. That’s good. But I’ll caution that you can’t measure the mass of niches that way you could measure the masses; a sample won’t get the — pardon me — long tail. Still, in a new medium, data is good because it makes the medium real.
City AM, a new, free paper in London aimed at the financial district, has just started a podcast with a twist or two. First, they call it City PM, which means that they expand their service and brand into another daypart. When they registered that name, some thought they’d producing a second edition of the paper. But, instead, they’re producing a show; they’re thinking past their medium. And instead of just downloading these podcasts (I can’t find the site where I could), they’re ‘casting them through the air via bluetooth:
It is now launching the podcast via mobile using Bluetooth technology targeting homeward-bound business commuters using London’s Liverpool Street and Waterloo stations. Under a deal struck with outdoor specialist Titan, the “transvision” screens in both stations will run a 15-second commercial for the service, every two minutes from 5.30pm to 7.30pm daily. The ad will air 45 times a day.
The five-minute podcast can be delivered to 150 mobile phones simultaneously.
That may be geekgimmick or it may be a sensible way to distribute ‘cast content in an unwired world.
Here’s another overdue recommendation: One of my favorite podcasts from two of my favorite podcasters — Filme und So (translation: movies and stuff) — is now in video, as I hoped it would be. Fans of Annik Rubins and her most charming voice from her other podcast, Schlaflos in MÃ¼nchen, can now see her award-winning dimpled smile. Cohost Timo Hetzel has produced a simple and shorter versin of the audio podcast and I like the added connection it gives us with both of them. They know how to podcast well by being informative and casual but still professional and just slick enough. OK, so most of you won’t be able to understand a word (and I can’t understand every word) but I use them as a model for what podcasts and vlogs can be.
: I also just saw that Annik Rubins has a podcasting book from O’Reilly (auf Deutsch).
: And more: Annik held a contest to come up with a podcasting logo. I like it.