Marketers to push podcasts as PR pros help maintain balance

There's no doubt that podcasts have become a part of today's consumers' modern media diet.

There's no doubt that podcasts have become a part of today's consumers' modern media diet.

What's less certain is how podcasters have been able to monetize their work, as many consumers have been reluctant to pay for the content.

But, according to The New York Times, Internet users may see a bigger selection of free audio content coming - if they can withstand a bit of marketing along the way.

A new industry group, the Association for Downloadable Media (ADM), will provide advertisers with the tools to create, distribute, and track ads in podcasts.

"We've designed it to be as inclusive as possible with everyone who has a stake in the monetization in downloadable media," says Jonathan Cobb, CEO of Kiptronic, a service company that provides insertions for audio and video podcasts. The ADM, whose members will include advertisers, marketers, publishers, and vendors, will focus on standardized advertising, measurement, and terminology.

Why does it matter?
At the core, the ADM is standardizing a terminology around what is a "download" and what is an "ad impression" so that when media buyers are buying, and publishers are selling their inventory, there is a common lexicon, Cobb explains. While this helps advertisers predict ROI, it also allows PR pros more concrete metrics.

Cobb adds that the ability to say, "Here is what our audience size is for this month," which conforms to the standard definition of audience size, will help PR pros better explain to clients why they should reach out to - and participate in - podcasts.

"The real value [for PR pros] is being able to speak more authoritatively about how far campaigns are reaching and how far publishers are reaching [with] their content, in a language agreed upon and understood by [all] in the industry," he says.

Five facts:
1. According to an Arbitron/Edison Internet and Multimedia 2007 study, out of 1,855 phone interviews conducted, two in five, or roughly 37% of people have heard of podcasting.

2. Demographics of the podcast consumer show that the 35- to 44-year-old age bracket is the highest (22%), followed by the 25- to 34-year-olds (21%) and then 12- to 17-year-olds (18%), according to the Edison Research.

3. Spending on podcasting advertising will quintuple over the next five years, from an $80 million market in 2006 to $400 million in 2011, according to eMarketer, Inc.

4. The iTunes online store offers over 100,000 podcasts in dozens of categories, including arts and entertainment, politics, and comedy.
5. The Association for Downloadable Media estimates that Apple has sold over 100 million iPods and that more than 300 million copies of iTunes have been installed.


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