That is the question that came to mind while doing some recent research. Will the podcast medium every provide large commercial 'branding' opportunites for someone like Proctor and Gamble? If not, is that necessarily a bad thing, or is it really a good thing?
With estimates that podcasts today are reaching a grand total of 3 million active users, and that only 10 million people have actually ever experiemented with this medium, it is not likely that major Madison Avenue clients are clamoring for inventory. There are however 70 million people with iPods, and eMarketer
predicts the total podcast audience will be 25 million in 2008. A lot of captive ears, as yet unharnessed.
Podcasts as a viable medium really isn't the question however. The larger challenge is figuring out which companies can benefit from the brief voice overlays and sponsorship spiels that are the primary inventory at this time. If Coca-Cola is launching Diet Coke 2.0 for example, would it even be worth it for them to consider podcast advertising. In other words, is there critical mass enough for a large brand to justify advertising a main stream product in a podcast?
Right now, the answer is likely no. And that is good news for the SMB market, niche products, and the buzz builders. Where P&G fears to tread, there is ample opportunity for savvy marketers with focused and appealing products.
Until Clear Channel starts muscling in on the podcast world, there simply isn't enough critical mass or clearly defined inventory to make it an efficient medium for a mass marketer. There is however a great deal of focused content that is a perfect fit and free of noise for the right product or service.