jonesrc wrote: What are your thoughts on the future of podcasting and what would it take to make it successful viable video option?
In my opinion:
(1) Better, cheaper bandwidth
HD (even SD) video files are enormous, compared to web surfing. The majority of people aren't willing to pay the money it costs to get fast (10Mb/sec) internet access to make file transfers doable in near-real time. More than half the people I know won't spend more than $20/month on internet, which gets them a cruddy 1Mb/sec ADSL connection. Having ubiquitous cheap internet comes in one of 2 methods: government utility rollout (like in some European countries, or municipalities in the US) or increased/real competition in local areas (take away US monopolies to cable companies etc have in laying new wire). Good luck on either of those.
Even the current prevalent streaming technologies that offer "HD resolution" video do it at such a low bitrate (to match the slow download speeds) it's fairly blocky/pixelated/ugly on HD TVs. I have a 10Mb/sec download (fiberoptic to the house, baby!) and my streaming "HD" looks fairly good, but not great.
(2) Better support of RSS-type protocols, and better storage in consumer electronic devices: TVs, cable/satellite set top boxes
*Most* people don't want to hook up their computers to their TV (or buy an additional computer for the TV), and they want to watch TV on their TV while sitting on the couch. As long as set-top boxes and TVs have no storage, and can't access storage on the local network, there's nowhere to put the files. I happen to have a "home theater PC" hooked up to my TV, so video podcasts (and audio for that matter) are a normal part of the content available on the TV.
(3) MPAA and TV studios need to change their attitudes, or people need to decide to want something besides the big entertainment productions.
Right now, the idea that you can have a file on your personal computer with "their" content on it gives them hives. They hate having any level of control taken out of their hands. They'd rather stream because it's just buffered in memory and dumped after it's been displayed. The grubby customer has no chance to *save* it. They have been very clear in saying they want you to pay for it every time you watch a video or listen to a song. If they could make that stick, they would. They don't license content distribution to anyone who can't assure them that the distribution ends with the customer.
The flip side of this is they only have this power because people want to see big-studio movies and TV shows. There are hundreds of video podcasts available for viewing by small media producers or individuals who are not trying to "lock down" the content. People have to want to watch those. I *do*, for example, which is why video podcasts are working great for me.
(4) There is still a significant barrier-to-entry in *finding* the content you want.
TV channels show you what they want; cable and satellite companies package content. There isn't anyone spoonfeeding the populace with video-podcasted shows. They require people to seek them out (and therefore know about them beforehand). We know how proactive people are. Not.
(1) iTunes-purchased TV and movies use a podcasting-model with copy-protected files for content distribution, and they are somewhat successful. Notice that they have a settop box with local storage (the AppleTV), and limit the HD to 720p to make file sizes manageable, and their software works to pre-download your subscribed video before you view it, but it's still painful to use with average high-speed internet.
But even so they are denied high-profile TV and Movie licenses which end up going to streaming media ventures (a number of TV studios took their shows off iTunes to stream via Hulu.com).
(2) Lastly (man I am long-winded today)...
Podcasting is currently *very* successful in certain market segments. In fact, TOO successful for older business models to continue as they did previously.
For example, NPR and PRI have put a lot of their content into podcasts. Their podcast listenership has been growing rapidly (they are more than 1/2 of the most subscribed to podcasts via the iTunes podcast directory), and it's been eating away at the radio-listenership of their affiliate radio stations (I've read). They've noticed that people are moving away from listening over the airwaves, and moved to the podcast feeds. This has had the unintended consequence of moving pledge dollars from the local stations to the shows' producers' station. (e.g. This American Life's WBEZ Chicago ends up getting donations from San Francisco residents instead of KQED SF).
It'll never "pop" until people can find and watch something of comparable quality (both production value *and* video presentation) in a comfortable environment on equipment built with it in mind. This happen over the studios' (metaphorical) dead bodies.
Oh and it has to be less-expensive than the alternatives (cable, sat, IPTV, VoD, built-in streaming). "Just as cheap" doesn't make people ditch a currently working system.