James Cridland

Changing Media Summit 2006 - my take on podcasting

Changing Media Summit 2006: my take on podcasting

Nice writeup of my podcasting session today at the Changing Media Summit 2006.

Here’s what my intro would have been like, if I’d not have given a much shorter version instead. But, since I’d typed it, might as well print it somewhere.

“A new generation of media consumers has risen, demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much AS they want it”.

Those aren’t my words, but those of Rupert Murdoch, a man who knows a thing or two about the media.

I rather enjoy Radio 4’s Broadcasting House programme, which has spent the last two weeks celebrating the fact that it is now available on a podcast by running light-hearted and slightly tedious emails from people saying that they’ve been using cassette tapes to record the programme for a while, so does that make them early-adopters for podcasting?

Well, the session title here is personalised radio. Now, a part of personalisation is to make content to be delivered to consumers, as Murdoch says, when they want it. And there’s no doubt that portable media consumption - something radio does better than anyone else - is also part of what the new generation of media consumers want, to make sure they get their media how they want it. So podcasting ticks two out of the three boxes.

But perhaps the biggest part of personalisation is the content itself.

With radio we have one of the most versatile and easy-to-deliver forms of media available. Ubiquitous wifi could enable truly personalised one-to-one broadcasts available at any time, wherever we are.

  • Can I have The Today Programme without Thought for the Day, please?
  • Can I tweak Virgin Radio to play even more of the songs I like, and less of the songs I don’t?
  • Can I have Radio 2 without any single atom of Steve Wright in the Afternoon?

Virgin Radio has consistently beaten the BBC onto new platforms - from radio on satellite, to radio on the internet, to radio via daily podcasting. But the next generation of consumers will want to be able to take all the things that make us Virgin Radio: our music, our DJs, our news and information… and mash them up to suit them. It’ll make sure that they hear the music they want to hear - the speech they want to hear - and, yes, the commercial messages that they want to hear. It’s less The Music We All Love, and more The Music I Love.

Podcasting is a step towards this. But personalised radio - personalised AUDIO, if you will - is probably rather more.

A view from the future: The writeup is well worth reading - includes contributions from Adam Curry. This form of personalisation still doesn’t really exist: some interesting work by Global on “skippable music radio” in the 2010s is as close as we’ve got. It hasn’t stopped the BBC from announcing that they’re launching it “next year” every year since 2002 though.