Saturday, November 19, 2005

Chick podcasters getting sponsorship

Now here's a trend (albeit a mini-trend right now) to keep an eye on: Major non-tech advertisers buying sponsorship on podcasts in a big way.

Podcasts have had sponsors before. One of the few podcasts I listen to is Coverville, and he's had iPodderX and other sponsors the whole time.

But the two deals announced the other day are intriguing: Dixie is sponsoring Mommycast, a dual-mommy effort, and Nature's Cure acne treatment sponsoring Emo Girl Talk, a podcast provided by a 15-year-old girl.

These aren't tech companies. These aren't small players. These aren't companies that still assume people who listen to podcasts are early adopter geek (and male) types.

Now if you talked to some of my marketing-to-women expert colleagues, such as Yvonne DiVita, Toby Bloomberg or Andrea Learned, I bet they'd say: about damn time. (OK, maybe they wouldn't curse.) We know the figures: women are responsible for the majority of purchasing decisions in the home, even the decisions on products that aren't thought of as "women's", like cars and electronic devices. And the statements made by the male head of Women in Technology Int'l. aside, women can be plenty interested in the technology, new media, new content, new entertainment.

The landing of these deals is significant and very very interesting. I would bet the deals have reasonable out clauses for both parties, and I will look forward to seeing whether the companies stick with it, or even expand their presence in this space. That, my friends, might convince me we really were starting to become mainstream.

Souce: MarketingVox

I congratulate these podcasters for their sponsorship deals - frankly, I congratulate *any* podcaster for getting sponsorship. But, at what cost sponsorship?

Forget the technology, the geekery that made (makes) podcasting possible - what was the original driver? Arguably, it was to give people a voice, free of the nanny-state mentality of the FCC. But just that freedom of speech is what will scare off many sponsors.

My fear is, that to appeal to commercial sponsors, podcasters have to become just another version of anodyne ClearChannel programming. If that happens - what, exactly, was the point?

Not every podcaster wants sponsorship - not every podcaster deserves it, quite frankly. But some who deserve it *still* don't want it - because of what they would have to give up in the process.

All the above "just my opinion".
Well, it's pure conjecture to talk about what they'd "have to give up." Because right now we don't have anyone having to give up anything.

Moreover, the market and the technologies available will likely allow both podcasts with wide appeal and large sponsors and niche voices with little or no sponsorship to co-exist and be found by their respective audiences.

The "free" market concept used to be a lot more of a joke than it is now that new technologies and distribution models are opening access to more people every day.
Comes down to value. Value for the blogger. Value for the advertiser. Value for the listener. If all three are not aligned ... it will fall flat and the podcaster will loose hard won listeners.
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