Pods and Blogs Nabs Podfather Interview

May 20th, 2008 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, General, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcast Distribution, Video, Video Podcasts

Our friend, radio producer Chris Vallance, sent word that he had recently interviewed PodShow – er, Mevio – executive Adam Curry for his BBC Radio Five Live Pods and Blogs program.

Our regular readers will remember that Mevio co-founder and Chief Executive Ron Bloom raised eyebrows last month by explaining that the reason for the name change was essentially to “distance itself from user-generated content.”

In the meantime, the UK arm of PodShow, BT PodShow, recently announced a full consumer launch of its video network. On that occasion, Curry, the BT PodShow President, said that the network would be “what we call a brand-safe network. There is an expectation about what is going to be delivered, an advertiser won’t just find themselves next to a video of someone shooting a firecracker out of his bum.”

In the interview, Vallance talks with Curry about “his take on the commercial future of podcasting.”

More after the break…

BT Podshow had its official launch May 13, although it had been around and in beta for the past 18 months. During that time, Curry says, they were “dilligently building a network of producers and an audience around the programming those independent producers make.”

On The Role Of PodShow

Vallance asked about the role of BT PodShow in the podcast industry. For example, Vallance, says, actor Stephen Fry’s “Podgrams” podcast is popular of its own accord, and circumvents the need for distributors.

In response, Curry sees the role of BT PodShow as “helping build the brand for lesser-known independent producers who are not technically or business savvy.” Independent content producers “wait for the video to go viral, but by the time it does, everyone has already seen it, so unless you already have another equally big hit waiting, there’s no way to make money, at least not with advertising.”

Also, Curry says, BT PodShow is developing partnerships with media entities, like the Express Group (?) who are print-savvy, and know their audience and their market, but are not experienced with producing video. “We work with them to make an editorial partnership for delivering great stuff.”

Curry’s Take On Leaving Behind “Podcasting”

Vallance asks about the reason for the name change in the United States. “You’re now called Mevio in US, but not in the UK?”

Curry: “The understanding of what podcasting is, a word I didn’t invent but just came out in the US is typically percieved as amateur-in-basement-with-microphone. By the way, you and I know very well that amateur-in-basement-with-microphone can produce some beautiful results. The advertising community thinks a little narrower, and wants to buy stuff the way they buy television and radio advertising – for the time being. That will change, but those types of industries change very slowly…”

“In the UK, the concept of a podcast has nothing to do in people’s minds with amateurish work or a guy in a basement. Could be Dr. Cockney on the streets of London or it could be BBC NewsPod. The scope here in the UK is well understood. The [name]change in the US is for the media buying community, who did not want to have to explain podcasting to the advertiser. They just want to say ‘it’s a media network, and you buy it in much the same way you do tv or radio.'”

Vallance asks Curry to address “the perception in some quarters that PodShow is turning its back on the independent producer.” Is that perception wrong?

Curry: “Entirely wrong! If you look at our network, who are all the stars? They are all independent producers… that we have business relationships with. However, I will say there is a definite market we’re experimenting with now in [repurposing] pre-existing material from the DVD retail market… We’re repackaging existing excellent material, into podcasts – it’s episodic, you can subscribe to it, so I call it a podcast…”

Audio Vs. Video

Vallance: “Video or audio, which is more important?”

Curry: “I come from audio, so I’m very biased… I like theatre of the mind. I think s severely misunderstood and misused (although the BBC gets it) …That remains really important to us as a business.”

“The big brands, we’re seeing now, big consumer goods, want to advertise on video, they want to do pre-roll… We’re already seeing and pitching a combined type of deal, which satisfies both the audio and video… Right now I’d say our entire network is 60% audio vs. 40% video, but it’s about 50/50 on the busines as to where that breaks down.”

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