Why podcasts will take over the world

In February of 2005, I wrote a story in the Globe and Mail about how leading edge marketers were using a new technology to reach consumers — The podcast. One example: Warner Bros. was releasing a daily podcast from Paris Hilton to promote her new film House of Wax.

I called a bunch of smart people at various ad agencies and branded content companies. Most had no idea what a podcast was.

In a year-end piece at the end of 2005, I opined that podcasts were a waste of time for marketers that were jumping in. People wanted to listen to music, not words, on their iPods, I wrote.

I was wrong.

As the months go by, I am increasingly convinced of the power of podcasts. In the spring of 2006, I recorded twice daily podcasts from the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. I was still skeptical. I still hadn’t begun listening to podcasts myself. But I came home to tremendously positive feedback from ad agency folk who had visited the Rivera vicariously through my podcasts — some of which I recorded on the beach in Cannes, complete with ambient wave sounds.

Now I listen to five to ten podcasts a week dealing with marketing, public relations, social media, and, um, fantasy baseball.

Podcasts are growing like crazy — an estimated 29,114 per cent in 2007 according to one estimate. And that growth will continue. Cars of the future will automatically download your favourite podcasts and have them ready for you to listen to at your convenience. There will be high-quality on-demand programming, targeting each and every interest and hobby — and that will take a serious toll on traditional and satellite radio.

We’re big believers in the power of podcasts at com.motion. That’s why we’re proud to sponsor Podcamp Toronto on Feb. 23 and 24. It’s a free unconference dedicated to this exploding medium. You can find more information and register for the conference here.

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