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Making podcasting more enticing

Friday 7 May 2010, 18:05

Andrew Caspari Andrew Caspari

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At BBC Radio we are pretty proud of our success with podcasting. Around 10 million editions of BBC podcasts are downloaded each month in the UK - Around 20 million across the whole world. The numbers are impressive.

However I often wonder whether we could do much better than that. "Ask not how many podcasts there have been but how many more there could be."

Listeners often tell us they would like to be able to save programmes and hear them when it suits them and being able to take programmes with you on an MP3 player or mobile phone is also attractive. On the other hand people also tell me that podcasting seems very complicated. It feels rather geeky or indeed expensive. So we commissioned some research and are going to experiment with some new ways of describing what I think is a really terrific offer.

Our first go is the new trail for A History of the World which John Humphrys has recorded. We worked hard to try to make the whole business enticing and simple and John is one of the least geeky people around:

A History of the World has proved hugely popular with over 3.4 Million editions downloaded so far. It is unique in that we can offer the full series of podcasts forever. You can listen or download them from the A History of the World web site.

So if you think there are things we can do to make podcasting feel easier or make it more attractive do let us know. Words like 'subscribe' ("sounds like something you have to pay for") or 'download' ("I don't like clogging up my computer") are particularly unpopular. We will try to do better.

Meanwhile A History of the World is back on May 17th for 8 weeks or 40 more podcasts.

Andrew Caspari is Head of Speech Radio and Classical Music, Interactive

  • There are currently 262 BBC podcasts. Learn about them and subscribe here.
  • Give us your own suggestions for how to sell podcasts to the millions of people who haven't tried them yet - snappy catchphrases or clever communication ideas - in a comment below.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Get more from your favourite programmes with BBC podcasts, free, straightforward and yours to keep forever.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    "Break-free from the bandwaves, pause it when the doorbell goes...listen to the shows you love when you want" BBC Podcasting

    "I listen to (Insert Name of Podcast) while on the tube" Escape from the radio and enjoy a podcast of your favourite show : BBC Podcasting

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    I subscribe to several BBC podcasts and for me the major issue is the podcast downloading software.

    I loathe iTunes and won't use it; Juice is old and nolonger updated and I currently rely on ZenCast Organiser (which outrageously inserts it's presence into your browser user agent string (unless you go through a complicated method to counteract this) and is somewhat tied to their Zen mp3 player hardware (which I don't own). The alternatives are browser-based (such as Google reader etc,) which I don't care for, since I want a desktop app that I can launch as I see fit, or leave running and auto-downloading.

    How about the BBC release a free, maybe open-source, podcast downloader, able to operate on all podcasts (not locked-in to only BBC podcasts). Perhaps make it AIR-based like the BBC iPlayer, or perhaps integrated into the iPlayer itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Listen when you like with a pod: easy peasy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Instead of referring to 'downloading', why not say that the programme is available to put on one's MP3 player, or save to the computer for listening when not on the internet, by clicking on the 'Podcast' button.


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Identifying the top ten game changers operating in the UK today.


See the latest on our blog


Find out about this year's panel and theme