Yahoo Podcasting - Analysis

First, Apple launched support for Podcasts in iTunes. Next, Podshow received funding from KP and Benchmark (with Ray Lane and John Doerr as board members no less). Starting today, Yahoo now offers support for Podcasts. As an entreprenuer, this launch is huge validation for the Podcasting space overall.


The initial launch is short on features in a few areas, but my guess is that the shortcomings of the service will be improved over time. No doubt, Odeo has some new competition.


Directly competing with services like Odeo, Podcast Alley and iTunes itself, Yahoo! Podcasts offers a directory service:

...the free service focuses on making it easier for people to sift through the tens of thousands of podcasts currently available on the Web

The directory search looks like it is including meta data from the RSS Media spec (championed by Yahoo). I can't tell if Yahoo is also working with the iTunes namespace spec, although their RSS example includes it.

Yahoo has also included support for tags and a user rating system. Unlike iTunes, all downloads were pulled from the publisher URL; even very popular shows were not using Akamai.

Subscription service

Yahoo's subscription service functionality is very limited. To actually subscribe to a podcast, they suggest the following:'ll need to get some great music software like the Yahoo! Music Engine or Apple iTunes

Publishing platform

Overall, the publishing platform lacks many features

Recording tools

The initial rollout does not offer any tools for recording a podcast. Instead, they suggest using applications like Audacity and GarageBand. Odeo should have an edge here, however, they have not released their publishing tool to general availability.


The Yahoo site has no support itself for hosting podcasts.

When your podcast is finished, you need to put it online. If you already have access to a web hosting service, just FTP your podcast there. If you don't have space online to put your podcast, you can use one of many free or paid hosting services. Yahoo! provides some great web hosting options through Yahoo! Geocities. Here is a list of additional hosting options you can choose from

This is an area for Yahoo to enhance -- many publishers are hungry for analytics and reliable bandwidth.

Ping server

Yahoo has ping support from the start - something that iTunes still has not done and Odeo added after launch.

Radio Commentary from Doug Kaye

Doug Kaye has a great post today about the "Future of Radio". One quote that stood out to me was this one:

The future of public radio may not be podcasting, but it will certainly be based on much lower-cost methods of producing and distributing most programs, and as incumbents in the industry, the WGBHs of the world are unable to cannibalize their own operations to the extent they must to survive.

I saw this first-hand when I was on John Furrier's show. Using a laptop, a mixing board, two mics and an iRiver, John had his own portable studio. Total cost, including the laptop, was under $6k. One (of many) reasons that podcasting has grown so rapidly; it is "open source media" at an accessible price point.

Podshow gets funded

Private Equity Week is reporting that Podshow has closed an $8.85m "A" round with KP and Sequoia.

The sound you here is podcasting, launching into the stratosphere. iTunes adds support and now KP/Sequoia team-up on Podshow. Congrats to AC, you (along with others) had the vision to see how to use enclosures to bring us time-shifted media. Sometimes great, sometimes crap, you've changed the way I interface with content.


Jason has kudos/questions

Odeo announces their own deal

Micropayments and rel="payment" attribute

Jay Deadman has an interesting proposal to create a simple micropayment mechanism for content creators. He proposes adding "payment" to the "rel" attribute. When added to a blog, it would provide an easy way to subscribers to contribute via the tip jar:

Since this is an open protocol, any tool can use this info to connect viewer with the videoblogger to give money. So the link would look like this: Pay Me I created a page at DropCash that will let you donate money to me. rel="payment" is then thing that FireANT or Mefeedia can tell its a Payment button. We were very excited because its so simple. You are just sending someone to a URL...which could be anything: a paypal account, a way to buy your DVD, a place to donate to "save the whales", a page that gives me your P.O.Box to mail a check. It's up to you where you want someone to go to pay you.

Let's see if this goes anywhere. The tag wouldn't provide enough info to iTunes to say, charge a certain amount for a download (although I doubt the amount would be exposed in the RSS feed anyway...or would it?) It is a very simple mechanism; however, sometimes simple = most effective.

Update Based on the comments in Jay's post, it looks like a few vloggers are already trying it out

A Sign Clear Channel is Worried

Here's a sign that podcasts have caught the attention of Clear Channel


From Billboard's Radio Monitor, 7-11-2005: "The great thing about radio is that it's local—it's focused on local content. Sirius and podcasting can't create local content. Podcasting is a great thing. Have you listened to any of these podcasts? It is painful." --Mark Mays, President/CEO Clear Channel Communications


Coming from a company that produces quite a bit of "local" content hundreds of miles away from the actual broadcast area, this is pretty laughable. The fact that he is slagging podcasts as "painful" tells me that he is trying to build an argument against the "Indies" (to use an Apple term). I have to wonder why the CEO of Clear Channel would do this - perhaps he is worried about the potential impact podcasting could have on his company down the line?

Metric: Podcasters Mailing List

Looks like the Podcasters mailing list is seeing a good uptick in traffic since the release of iTunes Several things to note: * The data is as of 6/6/2005 10pm PST. The numbers may flatten out as the month goes on. * The data includes the 4th of July holiday weekend in the USA My personal observation has been a noticable increase in traffic on the list, with an unusual number of "Help, I'm a newbie" type posts. (In addition to the debates about Podcast Alley and iTunes caching files) Looks like the iTunes debut, coupled with the numerous stories in the mainstream press about iTunes/Podcasting are starting to draw new users (publishers and listeners)

iTunes RSS Issues

Here's a great post about iTunes issues with their RSS parser/namespace. (Note the best info is in the comments) Hard to believe that Apple would do this one:
iTunes sends only two HTTP headers: “Accept: */*”, and “User-Agent: iTunes/4.9 (Windows; N)” (presumably platform-specific). It does not support ETags, Last-Modified, gzip or zlib compression, or RFC 3229
. Anyone know how often Apple polls?