Robert X. Cringely:
The first time any reader asked me if I was planning to become a podcaster was October 29, 2004. That reader was specifically interested in video blogging, which he claimed would replace broadcast television, but he referred to it as “podcasting,” so that still counts. Here is my reply:
“There is something that is being totally missed by these people and that’s production values. Look at the viewership of cable access channels — almost zip. And that’s simply because the programming is so crappy. Money shows in TV and the more you spend per hour the better it looks, which is why people will still be watching network TV. Now there are exceptions. I like to think that my own stuff is generally better than it ought to be for the money involved, but I’m an exception. There will be other exceptions, too. But for the most part there WON’T be exceptions and most of the video bloggers will be blogging to themselves. I see this as growing to be at most three to five percent of the market. Now it can be a very important three to five percent, talking to a very valuable audience about very important topics, but it won’t replace ‘Seinfeld.'”
Nine months later, the Internet world is again in flux, and I find myself not only getting ready to be a podcaster, but a video blogger to boot. What happened?
For one thing, the market changed. More properly, the market expanded, and to not follow that expansion just for some artistic sensibility would be stupid, and Mrs. Cringely didn’t raise no stupid boys.
So here’s what’s coming relatively soon in this space. First, there is NerdTV, my downloadable TV show that I have been suffering to make happen for three years now. The concept of NerdTV hasn’t changed a bit, but once again, I was three years ahead of the curve and only just now has the market caught up.
What’s changed since 2002 when I first proposed the project is a dramatic expansion of broadband Internet access and a dramatic lowering of both bandwidth and distribution costs. I make a distinction between bandwidth and distribution expenses because there are technologies like Bit Torrent that can take much of the expense out of video distribution by removing some of the bandwidth demand. I say SOME of the bandwidth demand because Bit Torrent is a fickle lover and if I throw a couple hundred episodes of NerdTV up there, only the most recent are likely to be broadly seeded, meaning the archive distribution costs fall back on me.