Archives for March 2006

Podcasting Wars: Yahoo vs. iTunes

By Alex Mandossian 

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To give you an idea of just how easy Yahoo! Podcasts is to use, I′ll tell you about my biggest download day yet.

I have an email list of people I notify every time a new Big Seminar Live podcast is available. Only one-third of the people on the list are actually subscribers to the podcast.

I believe the reason for this is because up until now, subscribing has been a complex process that requires several steps. Most people′s eyes glaze over when they hear about podcatchers and cutting and pasting RSS feeds.

I sent out an email to this list letting them know that the Big Seminar Live podcast was now available at www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com and you know what happened? All of a sudden, we had a lot of MP3 downloads and a few more subscribers.

The reason for this great response is because Yahoo! Podcasts′ web-based interface makes it so easy. The Bottom Line is The Bottom Line

It′s all about consumption and usability. If your market can′t easily use what you are offering, they′re not going to buy it.

iTunes has a great podcast directory, and it is easy to use. But if you get a song or a podcast from iTunes, then you have to use iTunes to listen to it. It′s a closed system.

Yahoo! Podcasts seems to be just as easy to use, but it′s an open system that allows you to listen to it just about anywhere, with no special software or equipment. This really gives them the edge in usability.

I think there′s an opportunity here for a third party to put together both of these great concepts: the great directory of iTunes with the online usability of Yahoo! Podcasts.

Will Microsoft do it or will Real Player? I don′t know. But I think there is a market just waiting for the right solution to fill this need for a functional and useable way to listen and subscribe to podcasts.

We are still in the early beginnings for podcasting, especially from the business perspective of monetizing the medium. I believe that both Yahoo! and Apple are missing this point of view right now. They are more interested in entertainment than in monetization.

I think the creation of www.Podcasts.Yahoo.com as a sub domain of Yahoo.com is brilliant. I don′t understand why Apple hasn′t done the same thing. We′re going to see Yahoo! do a lot with Yahoo! Podcasts while it′s still in the beta stage.

Is Yahoo! Podcasts the death knell of iTunes? We′ll have to wait and see.

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