Recently, there have been some chatters out what iTunes and the App Store means to Apple's growing ecosystem. What folks are not talking about is podcasting and what it could truly mean not only for Apple's future but for media in general.
The problem with podcasting is how it started and how folks have since come to see what it means.
I've listened to podcasts long beside Apple made it a household name. They were everywhere. Not like today but if you google audio broadcast for the Internet, you would have found something. Of course, things have changed. iTunes is very easy place to find a podcast on just about everything and every subject you want to listen too.
Tons on mobile tech, politics, entertainment. And now, video podcasting seems to be taking off. But the misnomer that this is amateur is still sticking. Obviously,for those I'd is who listen to them judiciously, we know that quality various. You've got TV broadcasts that are provided by networks as podcasts like CNN or MSNBC to broadcasts from NPR and other public radio apparatuses. Then you've got stuff that are produced cheaply out of out of people's apartments via Skype.
If you examine Apple's decision to pull podcasts out of iTunes and create a dedicated app for it, you can come to the conclusion that perhaps, there is a different media channel that Apple wants isolated from the rest of iTunes.
I suspect that Apple will eventually offer an iTunes model that will allow podcast producers to monetize their work not unlike what they've done for the TV show models, allowing users to purchase individual podcasts or subscribe to a set or season of podcasts.
This will be a whole different boom for entertainers, content providers, and individuals that the old media model that we are familiar with. This is simply a new shift that broadcast and cable/satellite providers will not be able to provide or keep up.
Suppose a band produces a series of performances, audio/video contents, and even exclusive music via a podcast subscription. This would allow them to connect with its fans in ways that music labels or even the iTunes Store can do.
Or even radio drama or NPR can release podcasts but for a little extra content, listens would be able to paid for a subscription for an extra hour of interviews or video.
And let's not forget ad-supported podcasts that I am sure you're already familiar with. Audible.com is a frequent sponsor of podcasts I listen to. I am sure free but audio supported podcasts will still exist when Apple moves the monetization of podcasting along.
And why not? We are likely talking about billions of dollars that are currently being left on the table for both Apple and podcast providers.
I get the feeling that this may be in part to what Steve Jobs was referring to when he said he cracked television. He's not necessarily talking about getting media owners to liberalize their content and unbundle their channels but empowering producers and other media providers to distribute their audio or video shows directly to consumers.
When this new podcasting dynamics take off, watch out. This will totally disrupt Hollywood in a big way and utterly destroy the current notions we hold about television and radio.