The casting of the pod | 802 Online

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The casting of the pod

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 6:01 PM

I know that continuity is the most important thing with blogging, so I want to issue a mea culpa for not upholding 802 Online's regularly scheduled programming. Whereas Cathy usually posts once a day, I've eked out two posts in a week! That said, though, I have a bunch of stuff in the pipeline now, so things should move more smoothly between now and Ms. Resmer's official return.

In the meta-media-saturated blogosphere, I'm a bit behind the eight ball with this story, given that it was first posted on Monday and Slashdotted  later that day. But I think it's worth noting that earlier this week, The Ricky Gervais Show's  British comedy-variety podcast went to a pay-per-month subscription model. The offer is up now, and service starts February 28.

Arguably, this isn't all that new; NPR's been offering downloadable shows on a pay-per-episode basis via Audible.com for years (streaming is usually free). There's also no increased functionality from podcasting's main platform: individual podcasters still don't have a way to sell their own content directly through iTunes. This just seems to be the first time an independent producer has moved away from a donation model. Gervais already has a lot of recognition as a creator of NBC's "The Office," and media support from The Guardian, the UK paper that's consistently won awards for the best online daily newspaper. (The Guardian also publishes a print edition, the only full-color paper in the UK.) He's not exactly your average joe.

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out. Will the majority of podcasts continue to be labors of love, made and distributed for free (albeit with lots of ads in some cases, à la  central-Vermont expat and liberal talk radio host Thom Hartmann's progressive programs), or will subscriptions become more common? Should we care?

Any of the Friday Coffeebloggers care to offer their two cents?

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Meghan Dewald

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