One drawback with podcasting is the bandwidth costs, which can be HUGE. Another example of the internet publishing reversal: the more popular you are, the more you pay … advertising often isn’t feasible and subscription or micropayments still don’t exist.
Well, the problem seems to have been solved, at least for now. OurMedia launched the other day, a non-profit with the amazing promise of free bandwidth and content hosting. And, of course, google was not going to sit back quietly: Rumours already (Cheers Scripting News) that google has an imminent announcement on video blogging. And if the past twelve months is anything to go, watch as Yahoo and MSN hustle to add even more free hosting.
The interesting thing about podcasting – and other time-shifted media sucked down by RSS – is that most content providers haven’t got the point yet. They are treating it like any other content, but it’s nothing like it:
- Reliability is less of an issue. Clients are usually smart enough to try reconnecting later.
- Performance can be volatile – usually people check the client once an hour or so at most, and often once a day.
- Popularity for a single feed varies wildly – more recent content will usually be far more in demand, older content will have lighter load requirements (although, since it won’t be coming from a feed, greater probability that someone is requesting it for immediate use).
Some of the newer providers, like Liberated Syndication recognise these discontinuities and are likely to prosper from it. What’s nice about commoditisation of bandwidth is that hosting companies will have to focus more on innovative services.