Things go in phases I guess. One of the things I enjoy about blogging is keeping drafts of things that are important to you. I received an email earlier today from Jason Evangelho who does the Hardcore Insomnia Radio Podcast. He asked myself and a couple of others to provide some subscriber data about our shows as he is a fan of our shows (as we are of his I assume). It prompted me to finish this which I began in September, and the answer to Jason's question is now embedded....
I was talking with someone last spring about MP3.com and generally about the drivers for user generated content businesses. Different people will come up with different conclusions based on their experiences, but to me the formula is as follows:
Hosting + Stats + Audience = Audience + Artists(generally) + Marketable Demographic/Psychographic Data
At Mp3.com we offered the first three, free song hosting, artist stats and audience. The bands/artists drove their fans to the site increasing their stats, and growing the audience. We in turn received more general consumers, more artists, and could derive interesting things from the data for the purpose of advertising, programming etc.
An interesting idea that a good friend of mine often repeats is that people are motivated by only four things: Power, Adventure, Love and Fame. User generated content can arguably reach different aspects of each, but the one that gets tricky is fame. With the exception of the A list bloggers in the blogging world, or bands, or photo enthusiasts, most of us grapple with a measure of audience or more simply Fame. Our efforts want a feedback loop to understand if what we are saying is reaching anyone or if it has any value. We look at our site meter stats or our bloglines subscribers. These are markers but not good absolute measures of fame. They are not Nielsen, or Billboard, or a Best Sellers list or some other equivalent.
The User Generated Content Ecosphere must have some component of Hosting (free or paid), some sense of audience ( I do 'this' somewhere where people might randomly come across what I make) and a sense of Statistics (What am I doing relative to everyone else). There are clearly pieces of this, and I mean this post less as a statement of what must be, rather I mean it to be a starting point of a conversation about what does the alternative media distribution system at the edge of the network look like? Which brings me to Jason's question....
I don't know how many subscribers I have to my Podcast. I do know that instead of working out a BitTorrent or some other alternative distribution ala P2P, I have the luxury so far of using a hosted account I have for some other purposes to host the podcasts I have created. The benefit of centralized hosting is the monitoring of your statistics. As a data freak I comb the logs frequently to try to gleam meaning from what I see. I know that in addition to the many complete downloads I get, there are a large number of small sized requests that transfer very few bites. I have some half baked ideas about what they represent but will withhold commentary until I know more. So, Jason, in answer to your question, here is the detail of the requests for each of the shows I have done as of this morning Tuesday November 23:
59933: 4.44%: Nov/23/04 8:10 AM: /temp/250million05.mp3
56917: 1.56%: Nov/23/04 8:10 AM: /temp/250million04.mp3
49742: 2.12%: Nov/22/04 6:06 PM: /temp/Show 3.mp3
42735: 3.66%: Nov/23/04 8:21 AM: /temp/250million06.mp3
38363: 2.49%: Nov/22/04 6:00 PM: /temp/250million02.mp3
25698: 3.23%: Nov/22/04 6:01 PM: /temp/250million.mp3
18406: 2.24%: Nov/23/04 8:21 AM: /temp/250million07.mp3
878: 0.26%: Nov/23/04 8:31 AM: /temp/250million08.mp3
I roll off the shows at 5 per feed so currently only shows 4-8 are in my feed.
It sort of begs the question to me of what happens with podcasting if we all move to BitTorrent. We definitely defray our costs, but what mechanism do we put in place to measure our audience? How do we know that the data we transfer is ever listened to? What is the Arbitron of podcasting/blogging/moblogging, etc?