Prescient observation from Mark Glaser:
Mark Glaser, a columnist for the Online Journalism Review, recently wrote a piece about podcasting in which he noted that four million iPods have been sold — but that 650 million cell phones would be purchased in 2004 alone. If the Internet were everywhere, and if every cell phone were equipped to tap into the ’Net, then, overnight, podcasts would have a vastly greater potential reach than they do today.
Last week Glaser, who’s based in San Francisco, told me that he thinks the next step is for manufacturers to equip MP3 players with built-in Internet access — “a no-brainer,” as he put it, since it would eliminate the need for a computer to download shows. To Glaser, podcasting, like satellite radio, is drawing people away from traditional broadcast radio because it gives them choices they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Over the next five to ten years, the media landscape is going to change tremendously. The ubiquitous internet is going to evolve the world toward a fragmented media where personalized content is the norm. This is a tremendous challenge for media companies, but I think some media companies are going to see this as an opportunity, not a threat. Not all of this micro-media content will be created by digital pamphleteers. Some of it will be created by forward thinking media companies. I’ve always believed that quality is what sells. Quality content will raise to the top, regardless of its origin — be it basement tape talk shows or big media news bytes — in a democratized media world, listeners and viewers will pick and choose the shows (and formats) that best meet their needs.