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Streaming Media West 2005 Wrap-Up Part 2

Podcasting & Video-Blogging: The Best Thing to Happen to Streaming Media
Moderator: Damien Stolarz, author, Mastering Internet Video; Panelists: Nicholas Ascheim, Product Manager, NYTimes.com; Eric Rice, Founder, Audioblog.com; Mark Larkin, Executive Producer, CNET Broadband and Webcasting, CNET Networks Inc.

Podcasting and video blogging are answering a question a lot of people are asking: "Where is my media?" The pioneers in this area are citizen journalists who are offering content in a voice that people have been looking for. For so long, major news outlets have offered a small palette of news flavors that runs one way, from them to you. Blogging, video blogging, and podcasting allow the consumer to not only get what they want when they want it but now, where they want to get it.

The production barrier to entry has been lowered and the ability to monetize it through traditional advertising methods have increased. More and more advertisers are recognizing that these smaller blogs/podcasts/videoblogs are an effective passage to their target audiences.

Most of the smaller but popular "XCasters" (a term I coined for people in the blog/video blog/Podcasting space) have been successful due to their ability to build their brand and infuse that brand into all of their content. This is not entirely dissimilar to the methods used by traditional branding exercises.

The questions that kept coming up at this panel were related to who is going to win and what effect this will have on us all. It's so early in this game that calling a winner would be silly, because this thing we're all talking about has not even taken shape yet. "The Media" wants to maintain a competitive edge by using the technology to get to more consumers and the smaller players are doing it to reach "their people"--people who want to hear that voice. This also works for the larger outlets, but everyone already knows that voice.

Podcasting is growing, but video blogging is growing faster. In a natural progression, people liked audio content, but video appears to be the main driver in this area. As more and more media outlets are leveraging this technology to be competitive, XCasters of far smaller magnitude are developing rabid and dedicated audiences. Inasmuch as they are competing for the same eyeballs, they use each other’s wins and losses as learning tools, allowing each other to evolve and grow in a symbiotic relationship.

Another thing that came up was the complete lack of oversight in online publishing. Copyrights and Trademarks are protected in the same way online as they are in other formats but the free speech monster raised its ugly head and when it does, we sometimes get some scary viewpoints. One of the panelists was so focused on his concern about his young daughter's access to the "big, bad Internet" that he intimated that it was too free and he would welcome a change. That is a strange stance to take by someone who makes a living under the protection of that blanket of free speech.
—Lionel Felix

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