Some Thoughts on the Association for Downloadable Media

Post ImageLast week a new organization calling itself the Association for Downloadable Media launched. The ADM aims to provide standards for advertising and audience measurement for episodic and downloadable media. From their press release:

The ADM will focus primarily on the world of podcasting, downloadable media and portable content monetized by advertising and sponsorship. The ADM will create a landscape that facilitates the commercialization of this growing audience.

Monetization of podcasts is a growing opportunity for these parties, and the ADM supports the momentum of this channel through the collective mindshare of its members.

They have sixteen organizations already on board, including Apple and NPR. Individuals can join for $150/year, for corporations the price is $1000/year.

First of all, I’m not sure the organization is needed. Where are all the content creators and advertisers complaining about the lack of standards? Furthermore, none of the member companies are bound to do anything anyway. They can, however, point to the ADM as an example of how they are “participating in and improving” the industry. Take the five “initial” committees they have already created – isn’t it kind of early to have such committees? Probably, but it makes them look more legitimate.

More importantly, will the ADM really be able to accomplish anything? Aside from Apple and the NPR, the organizations currently on board are small fish in the grand scheme of things. Yes even venture-backed companies like Podshow, PodTech, and Revision3. What happens when NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox jump into the downloadable media market? Or perhaps even other media outlets like the New York Times? The ADM will drown in the ensuing splash, that’s what. The big fish will be able to do whatever they like, regardless of what the ADM has already “standardized.”

One other thing – downloadable media is a fairly broad term, don’t you think? Fairly ambitious of the group to proclaim themselves the association for such a thing.

I hope I’m wrong. I hope the ADM will accomplish great things. I don’t think it’s going to happen though. I suspect the ADM will be nothing more than a distant memory come this time next year. Time will tell!

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