Mobile Podcasting – Hype or Reality?


The mobile industry has, again and again, attempted to port popular consumer offerings to the cellular environment. Internet became Mobile Internet. Television became Mobile TV. Despite the funding of billions of bucks in facts networks, spectrum, devices, and marketing campaigns, very few services have ported successfully.

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Yet virtual track and podcasting show that customers will go to splendid lengths to mobilize amusement, along with actively connecting a media tool to a PC and transferring to it content material downloaded from the net. But can podcasting become a cellular service enjoyed on handsets? Clearly, podcasting has certain attributes which make it suitable for the cell surroundings. First, it’s miles an “on-the-move” revel in. Second, enjoying audio content material is not affected by way of the handset’s small show screen. In truth, given the prevalence of cellular phones, coupled with the capability to deliver content material without delay to the handset with none consumer motion required, the cellular industry is probably difficult-pressed to provide an explanation for a porting failure.

Indeed, one may argue that such failure should undertaking hyped ideas along with convergence. This article outlines some of the important issues that have to be addressed if podcasting is to peer even minimal mass-marketplace penetration. First, what are some of the inherent “cellular-surroundings” constraints and the way will they impact and outline the provider?. Second, is there a user willingness to pay for, and operator choice to launch, such mobile podcast services?

The manner in which cell users discover and get hold of content could have a big impact on the nature of the provider. There are two alternative models: community-based total solutions, and patron-primarily based solutions. Network-primarily based solutions offer users get admission to podcast menus at the Operator’s WAP Portal. Users, find the suitable podcast, then initiate a download or stream of the podcast in real-time.

Network-oriented shipping fashions have failed to appeal to the mass-marketplace consumer. The click on and wait, menu-excessive enjoy of Mobile Internet has verified unappealing. It is doubtful whether or not posting podcast documents on a Portal will be an effective manner of growing attention and usage of the provider. Furthermore, given the rather large size of a podcast document, including a lengthy download wait to a bulky Portal revel in will kill the experience altogether.

Podcasts also can be streamed off the Portal. Here, but, further to the bulky Portal-Pull problems, the user-revel becomes depending on regular and enough statistics transmission during the flow. For reasons past the scope of this newsletter, offering bandwidth for short streams, no longer to mention prolonged podcasts is technically tough. A person being attentive to a podcast while commuting by way of teaching will regularly lose coverage. Securing bandwidth in peak-hours or in congested regions could be very tough. It is thus doubtful whether streaming can supply the mass-marketplace with an acceptable degree of the carrier.

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Whether downloaded or streamed, acquiring content material thru pull assumes that a user will frequently ballot for content. Not best does the lively person concept runs counter to the Podcast version of computerized content shipping, but a compelling mobile experience has to be easy and automated. One must do not forget that the ability mass-market cell person is not as “early-adopted” orientated as a modern podcast person. Thus, the person-enjoy on cell user should be as exact, if not better than the iPod enjoy for the mass-market to accept it.

Client answers reduce the quantity of surfing associated with content discovery, shipping, and consumption, and offer a greater instantaneous, person-pleasant enjoy. The first sort of answer, offered by using Pod2Mob, entails a patron that displays a catalog-listing of available podcasts. The user scrolls down the list and selects one, which beginning a content delivery consultation (download or streaming). Content discovery is less difficult than in Network-primarily based solutions, as WAP browsing to the portal is avoided. However, real-time shipping is needed, resulting in either consumption delays, streaming-associated troubles, or coverage loss. With this answer, a lively consumer is assumed, as an intake choice ought to be made day by day.

The 2d purchaser answer, which includes presented by using MobiPod (a cooperation among Bamboo Mediacasting and Britcaster) involves background download, wherein huge files are introduced to the consumer transparently, with none person involvement required, as an instance in a single day. The fresh content material is to be had for immediate consumption for the morning shuttle and not using a network access required. Background download normally requires a subscription.

It should be mentioned that the transition from pull to push entails a conceptual shift among operators. Operators have invested closely in WAP portals together with Vodafone Live. One key Operator purpose is to drive customers to the Portal, which strengthens operator emblem. From a user-angle, however, it is crucial to reiterate the assumption that the average Podcast user is greater technically-orientated than the common cellular consumer. Ease of use is simply important if mobile podcasting is to gain any diploma of mass-market traction within the cell world.

The second phase of this newsletter asks whether users may be inclined to pay for cell podcast services and whether the operator will definitely want to launch whatever but a barebones provider for PR functions.

From a user-attitude, there’s an enormous rise in the quantity of human beings wearing MP3 players, media-enabled phones, and different media devices. People are truly taking their amusement with them. Also, operating humans have absolutely definable home windows of useless time whilst commuting to and from paintings. During these instances, they’re a captive target market. Will the mass-marketplace, which holds mobile phones rather than different media-gadgets, be willing to adopt and pay for offerings which supply customized audio content to them?

One barrier might be the provision of unfastened podcasts at the PC and the preliminary perception that net information is and should be unfastened. Whether customers are inclined to pay for personalized audio content on their mobile will depend on things along with smooth of use, content excellent, and rate. However, given the growing occurrence of people taking part in leisure at the cross, one must not invent a state of affairs of commuters enjoying a fifteen minute targeted audio-software at the way to paintings. True, Podcasts are to be had loose online, however, it is quite possible that human beings will pay a small top rate so that it will acquire interesting content on their cellular phones, as opposed to buying an iPod after which bother with moving content material from their pc to a device each morning.

One component is sure: the operator has an eager interest to look the success of such operator-provided services. First, from a revenue attitude, operators regularly subsidize the handsets, yet sees no revenue whilst a consumer transfers track to it from the PC. Second, must the mass-market undertake iPod-like devices as their tool of desire for media intake, the cell handset could be marginalized and considered only as a tool for voice-calls. As these competing gadgets broaden Skype-like net telephone capability over WIFI, operators will see their users gravitate to competing telephone provider as nicely. It is imperative for the operator that the cell cellphone claim a company stake as a media device, and that customers load it with content material that generates sales for the operator.

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Despite the operator interest to set up the price and compete with encroaching gadgets, cellular podcasting poses some challenges. While PC-primarily based net users revel in inexpensive broadband, cell networks are relatively inefficient. Data transmission prices are slower and there’s an awful lot less ordinary capacity. Thus, the inner cost to the operator of transmitting information is excessive. While the monthly charge for an excessive-pace residential internet connection might be 20 Euro, the average cellular person is probably charged 1 Euro/MB for statistics usage. With the dimensions of a mean 30-forty minute PC-based totally podcast about 15 MB, the month-to-month amount of facts traffic in keeping with the user for per week-day service is 300MB!! The operator can’t justify charging for a few Euros a month for a cellular podcast service, whilst an unmarried Pull-downloaded video clip can generate a Euro or two.