Leo Laporte Keynote: You Can Sell Out, But Don’t Piss Off Your Listeners

Sep 29th, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Corporate Podcasts, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting Events

Ontario Convention Center at Dusk
The second annual Podcast and Portable Media Expo, being held at the Ontario Convention Center (above) Sept 29-30, is getting underway with keynotes by podcaster and author Leo Laporte, host of TWiT.tv, and Ron Moore, Executive Producer of Battlestar Galactica.

Leo LaporteLeo Laporte is kicking things off with a discussion of important issues facing podcasting as it wraps up its second (Laporte says maybe third) year….

Here are some highlights of his comments:

Laporte talked about the frightening prospect of being the guy up in front, the keynote guy opening a conference. “Keynote speeches are the way they set agenda for what’ll be important at the conference. Here we are, in the second year of the PME conference, and we have some big issues facing us.”

“The name (podcasting) – we’ve been talking about it a lot already. Apple is going after one of the sponsors of event, MyPodder. There’s some debate over what Apple’s trying to trademark — is it the word “Pod”?

“I’ve always had a little problem with the name podcasting, even though I know it is here to stay, and Apple cant take it away. People say ‘I love the stuff you do, but I don’t have an iPod.’… or ‘I don’t use iTunes so I can’t do those podcast things.'”

“Podcasting existed before Apple, and is not dependent on iPods and iTunes,” noted LaPorte. “It is not good for podcasts to be so closely associated with Apple and iPods. If Microsoft doesn’t put podcasts in Zune, in Vista, in IE7, though, we’re at a disadvantage…”

“I like the name ‘netcasts.’ I like that, I thought it up in the shower (laughs). Doesn’t imply Apple, iPods, iTunes. It is like a pun, casting a net, drawing more listeners in… We don’t have to have just one name. There is a movement to start an industry consortium for podcasting….”

“Is podcasting the right name, given Apple’s [apparent] assertion that they own the name pod?”

“Cooperation! This is a party, we are in this together, in cooperation, not competition. This is too youthful a medium for us to be fighting for listeners. Really, right now, it is not even coopetition. It is my natural instinct to be competitive. But we have to remember, right now, not to make TWiT #1, or DSC #1. The camaraderie here is so great. In the early days of radio, of tv, some great stuff was going on, very exciting. Then it became about money and suits, and now we have something we can mock and make fun of.”

“Let’s not become hide bound fossilized old media, in a brand new medium, helping each other to grow. Our real job is to grow the audience.”

On monetization: “Last yr I told you to podcast your passion, don’t do it for money…. and now I am accepting advertising. (Smiles) I sold out…. We’re here because we can create something we love, but now there is more and more of an oppty to make money with our passion. We need to be creative and thoughtful about taking advertising, and not cheapen things and sell out. We need to monetize with the same creative and innovative spirit we create our podcasts, try innovative things.”

“Podcasters have an intimate relationship with their audience. If you just focus on making money on that relationship (and advertisers are drooling over your connection with your audience!), that will totally screw things up. The audience has an investment in you as well. “The best way to get someone in your pocket is to have *them* do a favor for *you*.” (From Chris Matthews’ Hardball book). Ask your audience to support you, too, financially and otherwise.”

On monetization — “I’s important for us to go beyond the traditional means. We do ourselves a disservice when we talk CPMs. We currently have no good way of measuring our audience currently. If you dig down deep, those numbers we think we have are pretty darn fuzzy. The value of our podcasts is not reflected by audience size, it is in the relationship with the listeners. Agencies just don’t get it. We must not exploit our audience, but have a conversation w/audience, and choose advertisers that won’t damage the relationship w/ listener, and integrity of podcast.”

“Don’t copy the mistakes of the old media! We can do better. We can learn a lot from them, but let’s not go down the same roads. I hope you understand what an unusual opportunity this is that we have here, right now. This is the way people want to be spoken to. We are delivering what people want.”

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