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IMA Conference: The NPR Podcast Pilot Project

Maria Thomas, NPR; Joanne Wallace, KQED; John Hagel, Independent Consultant

Maria: 16MM downloads to date. Pilot project ends at the close of February.

John Hagel

The Future of Podcasting

  • Audience rapidly growing & changing
  • Technology rapidly evolving
  • Few standards in media
  • Tool sets for content creation are fragmented and proprietary
  • The standards and tools for measuring performance are largely missing
  • Competitive and business dynamics in early stages
Public Radio Podcast Posture
  • Move from Experimentation to Aggressive Investment
Shifting Economics of the Internet
  • Production/delivery costs going down, BUT...
  • Acquisition/retention costs going up - attention is finite!
"Shifting the economics from the product to attention."

Product Economics > Customer Economics

How much does it cost to acquire an audience member? What's the LTV of that audience member?

Scale Economics > Scope Economics

New Measure of Performance: Return on Attention (Gee, where have I heard that before.) ;)

Share of mind AND share of wallet

Enhancing Accessibility

  • Search
  • Serendipity
  • Subscription
Important are Findability and Usability.

Podcasting: The Good News and Bad News

Podcasting is...

  • Convenient - anytime, anywhere
  • Isolating
  • Limits full value of Internet - you're no longer finding new things
Enhancing Serendipity

Content Products > Content Platforms > Audience Platforms

  1. Create content
  2. Curate (link)
  3. Co-Create
  4. Syndicate
  5. Build Relationships
Don't underestimate the investment required for podcasting - but also don't underestimate the opportunity.

Findability - primary value to audience

  • Search
  • Serendipity
Fundability - required for sustainable investment

Sponsorship is a challenge - lack of faith in metrics

Moving Forward - Broad Principles

  • Define complementary audience focus
  • Establish broad presence - be on as many sites as possible
  • Build critical mass in key initiatives - negotiating for positioning in aggregators, negotiating with sponsors
  • Create a sustainable partnership
Key Question

Who will build the richest relationships with audiences online using public radio content?

  • Third-party aggregators
  • Public radio system participants

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