Just got back from the first Melbourne Blogger meet up with Phil, Phil, Michael, James and Cam. We had an enjoyable little discussion about quite a few varied topics - it was great to at least put some faces to names. Hopefully we'll get together again soon, perhaps (as was suggested) over some Scotch Malt Whiskey. :)
Personally I felt like shit. I've just been floored with some sort of 'flu and couldn't talk much - it physically hurt. Sorry guys if I was out of it! In particular I wanted to talk with Cam a little more about the business model he and Mick have developed for The Podcast Network (maybe that link will bump you guys up the technorati rank?) but it was difficult so I thought I'd get my thoughts out in blog form while they're fresh!
So, my problem with the business model - or any involving podcasts - is that I'm not sure that there's significant money in it as a publisher. The whole point of podcasts, the huge advantage of this 'new medium', is that it's so cheap to publish. In theory anyone can do it with minimal cash and effort.
Actually, I'm going to interrupt myself with an important side discussion; right now it actually takes a great deal of effort to create a podcast. The tools are poor - it's not easy to produce a high-quality, effectively compressed audio recording. Nor is it trivial to create and update RSS feeds with enclosures. It's not rocket science but, especially for non-techy people, it's far from easy.
Further, as Cam and Mick found out, it can cost a lot of dosh if your podcast becomes even moderately successful due to high bandwidth fees.
However, both of these issues (ease of creating and cost of bandwidth) will eventually go away. Tools will get better and distribution methods (like using bittorrent) will improve. I firmly believe that within a reasonable time frame (something like a year or two?) it will be easy and cheap enough for my Mum to create and publish a podcast if she so desired.
So, moving on...One of Cam's three pillars of goodness ;) that TPN provides is that it ensures a high quality of show. Listeners will be more inclined to listen to a 'cast from TPN than somewhere else because it's on TPN. A fair point. But perhaps that assumption doesn't hold in a blog-rich world. Personally, I listen to podcasts based on what other bloggers tell me. If there's a really good quality podcast then I'll find out about it from the blogs I read. News travels very fast these days and if someone is producing something - anything - of high quality (or low quality!) you hear about it damn quick. Maybe publishers, and advertising, are a lot less important than they used to be.
I'm not completely sold on that last paragraph myself but thought it might be worthwhile saying it anyways... :)
A couple of other links to stuff we talked about:
Gretchens blog (the drama began on June 1st)
Robot hand (so cool!)
Thanks to Phil for the use of the centre (loved the fire!) and to Cam for organising.
[I see Cam has already blogged about the night!]
Update: A couple of photos are online.