Ups and Downs for Podcast Hosting in 2008

podcasting Back in October, Dickson and I announced that we were shutting down our hosting service Podcast Spot. At the end of November, we disabled uploading and are now in the final transition phase for downloads and RSS feeds. In February 2009, the site will be taken offline completely.

We’re not the only podcast hosting service that shutdown in 2008 – at least two other services also called it quits recently:

The most visible of these services was Podango, so news of its demise created some discussion over the holidays. From Podcasting News:

While Smith attributes Podango’s state to the effects of the financial market, Podango and other podcast hosting services have not demonstrated that there’s much of a need for podcast-specific Web hosting services.

Podcango’s situation raises the question: Is there a real need for podcast-specific hosting services?

It’s a good question, and one I have thought about quite a bit in the latter half of 2008. For the vast majority of people, YouTube, Flickr, and similar tools are good enough. If they want to share some audio or (more likely) video, these services make it easy to do so. Increasingly, video cameras come with built-in support for YouTube, so the user doesn’t really have to do anything but record. This was the curve we attempted to get ahead of with Podcast Spot.

For a smaller number of people, something more advanced is required. Maybe they want to sell advertising, or have more control over production quality, or gain access to better statistics. I think this group can be split into two – the DIY crowd, and the use-a-hosting-service crowd. So yes, there is a need for podcast-specific hosting services, but perhaps the market is a lot smaller than everyone thought.

It wasn’t all bad news for podcast hosting in 2008 though. Some familiar services still appear to be going strong: Libsyn, Podbean, and Podkive to name just a few. Back in July, RawVoice announced they were entering the market with Blubrry. In August, Wizzard Software announced increased revenues and decreased expenses and losses. And on October 21st, Blip.tv announced they had raised another round of investment.

I’d expect 2009 to be similar – a mix of ups and downs for podcast hosting services.

It’s important to realize that we’re talking about podcast hosting here. I don’t think the demise of Podango or any other service should be taken to mean that podcasting itself is in trouble. As Paul Colligan said:

Podango’s problems say as little about the future of Podcasting as GM’s problems say about the future of cars.

Podcasting is all about communication, and the need for that hasn’t gone away. Podcasting itself is doing just fine.

  • Hey Mack, thanks for this blog. I’ve learned a lot coming here about the podcast business. I make a podcast tool called Poddio, that is essentially a podcast studio on an iPhone. It lets you record and edit your podcast, and then send it to your server by FTP. Future versions will let you post automatically, from anywhere. We also sell cheap mics that let you record very good sound on iPhone or iPod Touch (but only 2G) Care to check it out? email me if you wanna chat.