Podcasting to Generate $400 Mil. in Ads by 2011

Can I get in on this? I’m putting my brain to work on thinking of what sort of short (3-5 minutes) podcast I could do to get started on this new media. I want to do it mostly for the experience, and so I can turn it around and use that experience for my employer or clients.

Podcasting, the hot new media darling before YouTube mania swept in, is poised for a major growth spurt in ad dollars, despite the fact that the young medium’s usage has failed to match the recent proliferation of Apple’s iPod and other MP3-playing devices.

That’s according to a report to be released by eMarketer this week, which finds that spending on podcasting advertising will quintuple over the next five years, from a paltry $80 million base in 2006 to a $400 million market in 2011. (Granted, this is still on the small side, considering the $20 billion interactive ad market expected this year.)

I agree with eMarketer analyst James Belcher, that Google is probably going to be the catalyst for growth in this area.

Belcher expects that by 2008, the 800-pound algorithm gorilla will develop a version of AdSense that can be easily adapted to podcasts, theoretically allowing any Joe Schmoe podcaster to implement advertising. “That should help grow the market,” he said.

Its really not that hard. All you do is set up an ad server that can read the meta data for uploaded podcast MP3 files. According to the meta data, it then inserts a 15 or 30 second ad spot before the original podcast audio material, and serves it up for the audience via a web interface or RSS/XML feed.

As a matter of fact, you could easily set it up so that the whole process is automatic and seamless. Content producers don’t worry about looking for ad clients, and ad clients can pick from a diverse catalog of content based on keywords, demographics or other factors.

It would be interesting if BlogAds.com made a play for this segment, as their model would be an easy one to re-purpose for podcasting ads–at least on the front end. Of course, the back end is a complete different infrastructure and knowledge base / skill set.

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