PodTech’s Problem: Betting On Jason Calacanis Over Cali Lewis

Aug 12th, 2007 | By | Category: Commentary, Digital Video Downloads, Internet TV, Podcasting Networks, Streaming Video, Video, Video Podcasts

There’s been a lot of blog discussion, recently, about podcasting startup PodTech and its struggles to become profitable. The company is burning through cash to support 38 employees and high-rent office space in Palo Alto, but has failed to create any breakout Internet TV franchises.

CenterNetworks’ Allen Stern offers Five Suggestions to Improve PodTech:

  • Update The Web Site Design/Layout
  • Use Big Names From Blogging To Brand Shows
  • Upgrade The PodTech Player
  • Bring the Corporate Shows to Life
  • Ignore the Haters

While Allen’s suggestions may have some merit, they miss the bottom line: PodTech is betting its future on Jason Calacanis’ over Cali Lewis.

Here’s an example of the type of content that PodTech that PodTech is burning through millions creating, the current episode of Calacanis’ show CalacanisCast:

Meanwhile, PodShow, another podcasting network startup, is betting on content like GeekBrief with Cali Lewis, below. GeekBrief covers some of the same area as PodTech’s shows, but features a vivacious host, fast pacing and production that focuses on the meat of stories, letting you get the details from links in the show notes.

PodTech’s shows, like CalacanisCast, are niche content featuring blog-writing talent, presented with rudimentary production values. Should they be betting their company on this type of stuff?

“The network has about 20 shows they list on their website. Have you heard of any of them?” asks RocketBoom creator Andrew Baron. “They are mostly missing that important role of creating compelling content that will resonate with enough people to sustain and grow.”

No Responses to “PodTech’s Problem: Betting On Jason Calacanis Over Cali Lewis”

  1. Arlen says:

    Hit the nail on the head!

    Calacaniscast is like a bad documentary. Cali could probably read the phone book and make it interesting.

  2. SharonE says:

    The PodTech shows make you wonder what they are spending all that money on. It doesn’t show!

    And why all the fat middle-aged white men?

  3. Jason says:

    Oh, I don’t think they are betting their farm on CalacanisCast. I’m just a small side project for them… it costs $1k for each of the 50 episodes of my show we’ll do over a year or two (which is donated to charity for the record). If they are spending $5M a year on their company (just making that up), I’m .5% of their effort, and I’m sure they make it back on advertising they get from having me on the network… my role is probably to bring some of the inside baseball cred that startups need with investors, press, potential employees, etc. I’m NOT the core business. 🙂

    I’m not the focus of PodTech nor should I be.

    In terms of their main shows I think you should use Robert Scoble’s show as the Gold Standard… that’s a show that reaches tens of thousands of technology users daily. That’s just gold for advertisers and I think that’s why scoble’s show is sold out with at least mid-six figures in advertising (that’s the number I heard a year ago). I wouldn’t be surprised if Scoble’s show is a $1M a year revenue generator in year two…. is it rough/unpolished? yes, but I think that is the idea… a little raw, but very, very cool content you can’t get anywhere else if you’re a tech insider/IT person. It may seem strange to have 45 minute interviews with seemingly unknown tech folks in a world of 3 minute rocketbooms, but they are very different audiences.

    There is a huge difference between consumer and B2B/trade publishing… so, I think we don’t want to confuse something like diggnation/Engadget with b2b/trade publications (which are lower audience numbers and higher CPMs).

    all the best,


  4. info says:


    Great feedback – but I’m not convinced that bringing public access channel production values to Internet TV is a business plan, regardless of whether or not it is a b2b show.

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