Mobile Podcasting – Hype or Reality?


The mobile industry has repeatedly tried to port popular client services to the cell environment. Internet has become the Mobile Internet. Television became Mobile TV. Despite the funding of billions of dollars in information networks, spectrum, gadgets, and advertising and marketing campaigns, very few offerings have ported efficaciously.

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Yet digital track and podcasting show that customers will go to wonderful lengths to mobilize entertainment, along with actively connecting a media tool to a PC and moving to it content downloaded from the net. But can podcasting grow to be a mobile service enjoyed on handsets? Clearly, podcasting has positive attributes which make it suitable for the cell environment. First, it’s miles an “on-the-go” experience. Second, enjoying audio content material isn’t always affected by way of the handset’s small show display. In fact, given the prevalence of mobile phones, coupled with the capacity to deliver content material at once to the handset without any person motion required, the cell enterprise is probably difficult-pressed to provide an explanation for a porting failure.

Indeed, one might also argue that such failure ought to venture hyped ideas which include convergence. This article outlines among the critical troubles that need to be addressed if podcasting is to peer even minimal mass-market penetration. First, what are a number of the inherent “mobile-environment” constraints and the way will they impact and outline the carrier?. Second, is there a consumer willingness to pay for, and operator choice to release, such cellular podcast services?

The manner in which mobile users discover and acquire content will have a huge impact on the character of the carrier. There are two alternative models: network-based totally answers, and purchaser-based totally answers. Network-based answers offer customers access to podcast menus on the Operator’s WAP Portal. Users, discover the correct podcast, then initiate a download or movement of the podcast in actual-time.

Network-oriented transport fashions have didn’t attraction to the mass-marketplace consumer. The click on and wait, menu-severe enjoy of Mobile Internet has verified unappealing. It is doubtful whether posting podcast files on a Portal will be an effective manner of growing consciousness and usage of the carrier. Furthermore, given the rather massive size of a podcast report, adding a prolonged download wait to a cumbersome Portal enjoy will kill the revel in all together.

Podcasts can also be streamed off the Portal. Here, however, further to the bulky Portal-Pull issues, the person-experience becomes depending on consistent and sufficient data transmission throughout the move. For motives past the scope of this article, providing bandwidth for brief streams, now not to mention prolonged podcasts is technically hard. A person taking note of a podcast whilst commuting by way of teaching will regularly lose insurance. Securing bandwidth in height-hours or in congested areas is very hard. It is therefore dubious whether or not streaming can deliver the mass-market with an appropriate level of the carrier.

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Whether downloaded or streamed, obtaining content thru pull assumes that a person will frequently poll for content material. Not only does the lively person idea runs counter to the Podcast version of computerized content material delivery, however, a compelling cell enjoy must be simple and automatic. One should don’t forget that the potential mass-marketplace cell consumer isn’t as “early-adopted” oriented as a present-day podcast user. Thus, the person-enjoy on mobile user needs to be as top, if no longer better than the iPod revel in for the mass-market to just accept it.

Client solutions reduce the amount of browsing associated with content discovery, shipping, and consumption, and provide a greater instantaneous, consumer-pleasant enjoy. The first kind of solution, presented with the aid of Pod2Mob, involves a client that shows a list-list of to be had podcasts. The user scrolls down the list and selects one, which beginning a content material shipping consultation (download or streaming). Content discovery is less difficult than in Network-based totally solutions, as WAP browsing to the portal is prevented. However, real-time delivery is required, ensuing in both consumption delays, streaming-associated issues, or insurance loss. With this solution, an energetic person is assumed, as a consumption choice ought to be made day by day.

The 2nd customer answer, inclusive of provided by means of MobiPod (a cooperation among Bamboo Mediacasting and Britcaster) entails historical past download, in which huge files are brought to the person transparently, without any personal involvement required, as an instance in a single day. The fresh content material is to be had for fast consumption for the morning go back and forth with no community get right of entry to required. Background download normally requires a subscription.

It should be referred to that the transition from pull to push includes a conceptual shift among operators. Operators have invested heavily in WAP portals together with Vodafone Live. One key Operator goal is to drive customers to the Portal, which strengthens operator emblem. From a consumer-attitude, however, it is essential to reiterate the idea that the common Podcast person is extra technically-oriented than the average mobile consumer. Ease of use is virtually essential if cell podcasting is to gain any degree of mass-marketplace traction inside the mobile global.

The second section of this text asks whether customers may be inclined to pay for cellular podcast offerings, and whether or not the operator will definitely want to release something however a barebones service for PR purposes.

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From a person-angle, there may be a great rise inside the variety of humans carrying MP3 gamers, media-enabled telephones, and different media gadgets. People are virtually taking their amusement with them. Also, working human beings have genuinely definable home windows of lifeless time while commuting to and from paintings. During those instances, they’re a captive target market. Will the mass-market, which holds mobile telephones in place of other media-devices, be inclined to adopt and pay for services which deliver customized audio content material to them?

One barrier is probably the availability of unfastened podcasts at the PC and the preliminary notion that net facts is and ought to be free. Whether users are willing to pay for personalized audio content on their cell will rely on factors such as smooth of use, content material exceptional, and price. However, given the developing prevalence of humans playing enjoyment at the move, one does now not ought to invent a state of affairs of commuters enjoying a fifteen minute targeted audio-program on the way to paintings. True, Podcasts are available unfastened online, however, it is pretty in all likelihood that human beings pay a small premium with a purpose to obtain exciting content material on their cell phones, as opposed to purchase an iPod and then trouble with moving content material from their pc to a tool every morning.

One aspect is certain: the operator has an eager interest to look at the fulfillment of such operator-provided services. First, from a revenue angle, operators frequently subsidize the handsets but sees no sales whilst a user transfers track to it from the PC. Second, need to the mass-market adopt iPod-like devices as their tool of preference for media consumption, the cellular handset might be marginalized and viewed only as a tool for voice-calls. As these competing gadgets expand Skype-like net smartphone functionality over WIFI, operators will see their customers gravitate to competing for cellphone carrier as properly. It is imperative for the operator that the cellular phone claim a firm stake as a media tool, and that users load it with content material that generates sales for the operator.

Despite the operator hobby to set up value and compete with encroaching gadgets, cell podcasting poses a few demanding situations. While PC-primarily based net customers experience inexpensive broadband, mobile networks are comparatively inefficient. Data transmission rates are slower and there’s an awful lot much less standard capacity. Thus, the inner cost to the operator of transmitting information is high. While the monthly charge for a high-pace residential net connection is probably 20 Euro, the average mobile user is probably charged 1 Euro/MB for statistics usage. With the dimensions of a mean 30-40 minute PC-primarily based podcast about 15 MB, the month-to-month amount of information traffic in keeping with the consumer for per week-day service is 300MB!! The operator cannot justify charging of some Euros a month for a cellular podcast service, while an unmarried Pull-downloaded video clip can generate a Euro or two.

First, content material files can without problems be reduced in size by using easy content transcoding. A 30-minute podcast may be decreased to one.5MB, without impacting sound fine. Furthermore, the delivery frequency of a podcast service may be reduced. Finally, delivering shorter, 15 mins podcasts, rather than complete 30-40 minute programs, can be suitable.

Second, and extra critical, the podcast files must be introduced for the duration of off-height hours, ideally overnight. During top hours and in congested areas, the fee of records delivery is at its highest. Delivery of large facts files to a mild variety of customers at some point of height hours will chill operator enthusiasm. Conversely, for the duration of off-peak hours, the community is empty, minimizing the fee of records transmission. This requirement would seem to point to a subscription push service version, with scheduled off-height content material deliveries driven to the person.

One final issue is that of billing and sales. The operator is accustomed to pull-based charging fashions, in which the user is charged in line with the transaction. However, given the complexity of records billing, and the highly large length of a podcast file, cellular customers will best undertake to podcast if the pricing shape is apparent and reasonable. A transparent subscription charge for the service, without any additional facts prices, is obligatory. In terms of additional operator sales ability, one factor worth noting is marketing. Audio advertisements can easily be protected at the start and during the podcast, growing similarly sales sources.