The Download on Podcasts: The Download on Podcasting (Phase One)

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Ever since first getting wind of it, we have gotten a kick out of the name collision occurring between this column’s title and the new collaborative research project of DMR/Interactive and Texas A&M University: The Download on Podcasting. We spoke with Andrew Curran, President and COO of DMR/Interactive, at RAIN Summit Nashville last week, and are assured that the nearly identical naming was inadvertent.

We also learned more about what the year-long research project is hoping to achieve. Part of the work involves measuring how podcasting and radio are related, and what opportunities exist on both sides of the audio fence. Another part is about the future of podcast monetization and the ever-thorny issue of audience data.

At the end of last week Andrew Curran sent us the official release of Phase One Areas of Focus, laying out exactly what the two organization would be attempting to learn. The key research points:

  • Are podcast and radio listeners a duplicated audience?
  • Is podcasting a viable talent pool for radio?
  • What are the biggest monetization opportunities and challenges for podcasting?
  • How are podcasters capturing and leveraging audience data?

The second of those is an unexpected and interesting question. We usually think of radio talent stretching into podcasting, either by repurposing broadcast content or leveraging built-in advantages of experience, equipment, and distribution to create new programs. NPR and some of its member stations have spearheaded the model of promoting podcast versions of popular on-the-air shows, and creating new programs which benefit from terrestrial promotion. Can there also be a reverse benefit, where existing online-only podcasts gain distribution on radio and grow audience on both sides of the fence?

Monetization and data are key focuses (foci?) for the industry. New research spearheaded by DMR Interactive, a leading strategic marketing partner for the broadcast industry, could help radio come to grips with the opportunity, while shedding new light on the whole category.

Phone One results will be released at the end of October.

Brad Hill