Mobile Podcasting – Hype or Reality?


The mobile industry has repeatedly attempted to port popular customer services to the cellular environment. Internet became Mobile Internet. Television has become Mobile TV. Despite the investment of billions of bucks in statistics networks, spectrum, gadgets, and advertising campaigns, very few services have ported effectively.

Yet digital track and podcasting show that customers will visit remarkable lengths to mobilize amusement, together with actively connecting a media device to a PC and shifting to it content material downloaded from the net. But can podcasting end up a mobile carrier enjoyed on handsets? Clearly, podcasting has positive attributes which make it suitable for the cellular environment. First, it’s miles an “on-the-cross” revel in. Second, enjoying audio content material isn’t effected by means of the handset’s small display. In reality, given the superiority of mobile phones, coupled with the ability to deliver content material immediately to the handset with none consumer motion required, the cellular enterprise might be difficult-pressed to provide an explanation for a porting failure.

Indeed, one may additionally argue that such failure must mission hyped concepts which include convergence. This article outlines the various crucial issues that should be addressed if podcasting is to see even minimal mass-market penetration. First, what are a number of the inherent “cell-environment” constraints and the way will they affect and define the carrier?. Second, is there a person willing to pay for, and operator desire to release, such cell podcast offerings?

The way in which cellular users find out and obtain content material will have a large impact on the character of the carrier. There are two alternative fashions: community-based totally solutions, and patron-based totally answers. Network-based totally solutions provide customers access to podcast menus at the Operator’s WAP Portal. Users, discover the precise podcast, then provoke a download or circulation of the podcast in actual-time.

Network-orientated delivery models have did not attraction to the mass-market user. The click and wait, the menu-intense experience of Mobile Internet has validated unappealing. It is doubtful whether posting podcast documents on a Portal could be a powerful manner of increasing recognition and usage of the service. Furthermore, given the fantastically massive size of a podcast record, adding a prolonged download wait to a bulky Portal experience will kill the revel in all together.

Podcasts also can be streamed off the Portal. Here, however, in addition to the bulky Portal-Pull troubles, the person-experience turns into depending on consistent and sufficient facts transmission during the stream. For motives beyond the scope of this article, providing bandwidth for brief streams, now not to mention lengthy podcasts is technically difficult. A consumer being attentive to a podcast whilst commuting by using teach will often lose coverage. Securing bandwidth in height-hours or in congested areas could be very hard. It is as a result dubious whether or not streaming can supply the mass-market with a suitable level of service.

Whether downloaded or streamed, obtaining content thru pull assumes that a user will regularly ballot for content material. Not only does the lively user concept runs counter to the Podcast model of computerized content delivery, but a compelling cell revel in should be easy and automatic. One should do not forget that the capacity mass-marketplace mobile user isn’t as “early-adopted” oriented as a modern-day podcast person. Thus, the consumer-experience on cell user should be as exact, if not higher than the iPod enjoy for the mass-marketplace to accept it.

Client answers lessen the quantity of surfing associated with content material discovery, delivery, and consumption, and provide an extra immediate, person-pleasant experience. The first form of a solution, provided by means of Pod2Mob, includes a client that shows a catalog-list to be had podcasts. The consumer scrolls down the list and selects one, which starting up a content transport session (download or streaming). Content discovery is easier than in Network-based answers, as WAP surfing to the portal is averted. However, actual-time transport is needed, ensuing in both consumption delays, streaming-related troubles, or insurance loss. With this answer, an energetic consumer is believed, as an intake selection need to be made every day.

The 2nd client answer, which includes supplying through MobiPod (a cooperation between Bamboo Mediacasting and Britcaster) entails heritage download, in which massive files are brought to the user transparently, without any consumer involvement required, for instance in a single day. The fresh content material is to be had for fast consumption for the morning travel with no community get entry to required. Background download commonly requires a subscription.

It must be referred to that the transition from pull to push entails a conceptual shift among operators. Operators have invested closely in WAP portals consisting of Vodafone Live. One key Operator goal is to power users to the Portal, which strengthens operator logo. From a person-angle, however, it’s far critical to reiterate the assumption that the common Podcast person is more technically-orientated than the common mobile user. Ease of use is genuinely crucial if mobile podcasting is to advantage any diploma of mass-market traction inside the cellular world.

The 2nd phase of this article asks whether or not users could be willing to pay for cell podcast offerings, and whether or not the operator will virtually want to launch something, however, a barebones service for PR functions.

From a consumer perspective, there may be a massive upward push in the wide variety of humans sporting MP3 gamers, media-enabled phones, and different media gadgets. People are honestly taking their enjoyment with them. Also, working humans have definitely definable home windows of useless time at the same time as commuting to and from work. During those instances, they may be a captive target market. Will the mass-market, which holds cell telephones as opposed to different media-devices, be inclined to adopt and pay for offerings which supply personalized audio content to them?

One barrier is probably the provision of loose podcasts at the PC and the preliminary perception that net data is and should be free. Whether users are inclined to pay for personalized audio content on their cell will depend on factors consisting of ease of use, content quality, and rate. However, given the growing incidence of humans taking part in entertainment on the cross, one does not need to invent a situation of commuters taking part in a 15 minute targeted audio-program at the way to work. True, Podcasts are available free online, however it’s far pretty in all likelihood that human beings will pay a small top rate if you want to get hold of thrilling content material on their cellular phones, in place of buy an iPod and then bother with shifting content from their laptop to a tool each morning.

One factor is positive: the operator has an eager interest to see the achievement of such operator-supplied services. First, from a sales angle, operators frequently subsidize the handsets, yet sees no sales when a user transfers tune to it from the PC. Second, need to the mass-marketplace adopt iPod-like gadgets as their tool of preference for media intake, the cell handset may be marginalized and regarded handiest as a tool for voice-calls. As those competing gadgets broaden Skype-like net smartphone functionality over WIFI, operators will see their users gravitate to competing smartphone provider as well. It is imperative for the operator that the cell phone claims a firm stake as a media tool, and that users load it with content material that generates sales for the operator.