Advertorial Podcasting

I’ve expressed my skepticism about the adoption of podcasting in the past, in addition to questioning what the term really means (and will mean in the future). So while I don’t put a lot of weight in the figures cited in this OMMA article, it does highlight some novel use-cases of advertorial portable audio content. The article opens, “While consumers who tune into podcasts have the ability to skip through ads, it’s very possible they won’t want to because the content they’re downloading may actually be the ad.”

Some of the article’s suggested advertorial uses include choosing a nightlife destination or a car dealership, or a virtual tour of a retail outlet which consumers could listen to as they browse through the store. It quotes Kip Cassino, director of research for Borrell (the analyst firm which produced the report with the figures mentioned),

“Podcasting is a function of the capability of mobile technology, and the mobile phone is already used for a lot more than just communication… I don’t think, in the end, that we’re going to even call it podcasting, because what it’s going to be five years from now is much more than just a transmission of information.”

I find myself agreeing with his sentiment above, but just perhaps not his overly-optimistic projections. There is a lot of magic that occurs in advertorial content – where the content is the advertising, and we see many examples such traditional retailer catalogs, online shopping comparison engines, and job vertical search sites, just to name a few. This article opened my own eyes to yet another media type where advertorial can be applied: in portable audio content. When advertising audio is able to become location-specific (or at least location-relative), there is a lot of power there in the long run. That being said, I believe we’re a ways off from seeing what analysts can envision as turning into reality in the near term.

David Beisel

David Beisel is a co-founder and Partner at NextView Ventures. He has been focused on early stage Internet startups his entire career, both as an entrepreneur and venture capitalist. As an investor in the digital media space, David was most recently a Vice President at Venrock and previously a Principal at Masthead Venture Partners. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, David co-founded Sombasa Media, an e-mail marketing company best known for its flagship product BargainDog. Sombasa was successfully acquired by About.com where David served as Vice President of Marketing. David holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an AB in Economics, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University. He also founded and leads the Boston Innovators Group, an organization which holds quarterly entrepreneur events drawing a thousand attendees.

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