Business Week takes the time to catch-up with the Podcast industry and see what progress has been made to try and monetize the medium.
It seems like things have been very quiet over the past year or two. I recall all of the hype surrounding podcasts – I even attempted one myself – but podcasting didn’t quite turn out to be the next killer medium, that many expected.
Fast forward a couple of years, and podcasting is starting to find its place in the marketing mix, with many companies looking to help podcast producers earn revenue from their efforts.
One company that could easily ramp-up the amount spent on podcast advertising, is Google. eMarketer’s James Belcher expects Google to develop the ability to insert audio ads, based on keywords, into podcasts within the next few years.
The online advertising goliath has been quiet about any plans to do so. However, Google extended its reach into audio marketing with the acquisition of radio advertising company dMarc last year. “One of the things coming down the pike is Google will develop some version of AdSense for podcasts,” says Belcher.
That certainly makes a lot more sense than trying to automate radio ads – something that is so difficult, that dMarc’s founders recently left Google over the way the company was handling the process. With Google offering the mechanism for inserting targeted ads, and their ready-made network of advertisers, they could quickly make podcast advertising the next hot channel.
Still, I think the biggest hurdle is not simply “how” to monetize a podcast, it’s how to grow the audience beyond just a few thousand listeners. Podcasts have yet to find a way to enter the mainstream that other platforms, such as blogs, have achieved.
If you build it, they will come! Or in other words, concentrate on bringing podcasts to a bigger audience, only then can you make advertising work.