Libsyn Acquired

Libsyn announced today that they have been acquired by Wizzard Software

From the release

The acquisition combines the worlds largest and fastest growing podcast network with Wizzard's expertise in speech technology integration, creating a powerful new service for podcasters worldwide. The combined companies will focus on providing independent content creators with comprehensive search engine indexing, transcription and blogging integration and new tools so that they may better attract advertisers and sponsors allowing them to reach highly-targeted audiences with more relevant advertising and promotional opportunities.

Wizzard must be looking to take Libsyn to the next level by adding speech recognition technology and becoming a search engine for podcasts. That would put them in league with companies like Blinkx, etc.

Congrats to the guys at Libsyn. I met some of the founders at the PME a while back. They were passionate about their product and all the ups and downs that come with being a startup.


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Podcast Directory Reborn?

When I worked on the jPodder project, we used the Podcast directory as a main source for finding/discovering podcasts. The decentralized model and community aspects of it were great.

I stopped working on jPodder when iTunes came out with podcast support and haven't looked at the podcast directory much since then. I was surprised/dismayed to discover that the directory has fallen into disarray.

Dave Winer has announced that he is resurrecting the site and is going to move it forward.

This is a big win for the podcasting community. Let's learn from this and not let it happen again.

Update Dave Winer pointed me to the podcast-directory mailing list. Join and contribute!

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Using S3 as a Media Store

Adrian Holovaty of ChicagoCrime has a post on using S3 to serve his media files.

This is a great idea for podcasters to off-load both storage and bandwidth issues at a pretty-good-price. Much more reliable than some of the solutions available on the market today. I read somewhere (?) that S3 is using the actual Amazon infrastructure, which makes sense given that Amazon is also doing private-labels for companies like Target.

Check out the comments in the post, Doug Kaye links to his proposal to have S3 function as a CDN. My guess - Amazon will do just this, especially given the ever growing market cap of Akamai (AKAM) which is at 4.64B currently

PME: Audible Annoucement and the Aftermath

A ton of comments/linkage flying around about the Audible announcement saga, made much worse by Mitch Ratcliffe attacking anyone and everyone (and then trying to do some damage control).

My thoughts about it all:

I was at the PME on Friday and I spent quite a bit of time in the Audible booth asking a ton of questions about the product. There is a ton of heat around this announcement (thanks to Mitch), but trying to avoid the pungent crap fest, I found a few items very interesting:

  • Audible is trying to respond to podcasting - we all knew it, but here is some more validation for the space.
  • The new product ("WordCast") allows for ad insertion to help monetize podcasting (even more validation), however, Audible does not currently have anything in place to help Podcasters and Advertisers find each other (see Podtrac or FruitCast for that)
  • As you might have guessed, Audible has no plans to have their ad insertion technology kick out mp3 files (yes, this would reduce the value as true metrics would be harder to acquire. However, MP3 *is* the de-facto standard). Again - see Podtrac/FruitCast
  • In addition to the charges ($0.03 per download, etc), podcasts that have a per episode or subscription fee, Audible is charging 20% per transaction, or $1, whichever is more! (A transaction being the sale of a yearly subscription, the sale of a single episode etc). I found this to be an extremely high cost for basically handling a credit card transaction via their Merchant account.

This may turn out to be an interesting case study - I'll be looking for the Seth Godin and Steve Rubel write-ups. 2 Million Download Month announced today that they had their first 2 million download month.

Podcasting is a lot like the early Web -- actual quantifiable data is pretty hard to find. I haven't seen numbers for any Podshow properties so it is hard to say, but 2 million downloads is quite an accomplishment.

Congrats to John Furrier -- keep up the good work (in case you haven't already heard it, check out the podcast John did with Steve Forbes)

File Under "Clueless"

File this under "clueless" - from yesterday's WSJ article on podcasting.

"All podcasting is about is making it easy for the [small percentage] of the population that owns an iPod to record to a specific device," says Bob Neil, president and chief executive of Atlantabased Cox Radio Inc., which is not yet podcasting any shows. "People have been recording their favorite radio shows since the age of the cassette."

If were a CXR shareholder, I would be worried. That "small percentage" has AAPL up 150% in the last 12 months while CXR has remained essentially flat.