Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fox Busts Out With the Podcasting

In further evidence that podcasting – largely free audio content stored on the Internet that can be downloaded, saved, and played on computers and handheld digital music players – is hitting the mainstream, Fox Broadcasting Co. is making an aggressive move in an effort to support its television programming.

From Reuters:

On Thursday, the network began offering audio episode recaps for all of its series in what Chris Carlisle, Fox Broadcasting executive vp marketing and promotion, said was just the first step.

"Podcasting is a phenomenal concept, and it's going to explode," Carlisle said. "We're approaching it from a very, very aggressive point of view. You already have an audience plugged in to these devices and this delivery system. We want to reach them where they are and give them what they want."

While very few people knew what the term podcasting meant a year ago, it is now both challenging and supplementing more traditional forms of broadcasting. The power of podcasting lies in its ease of use and on demand accessibility. Some commercial radio programs -- such as Harry Shearer’s Le Show and Al Franken’s The Al Franken Show -- are also produced as podcasts so that listeners can download or subscribe to shows and then listen at their own leisure.

The new “Foxcasts” are an inventive way of providing special features for current television programming in the same way that most DVDs showcase interviews, director’s commentaries, and other featurettes.

For the third phase, which begins Sept. 19, Fox will offer recaps of entire seasons for such selected shows as "24" and "Arrested Development" for listening before the new season's launch. Carlisle said these podcast packages also will help promote the relevant DVD boxed-set releases.

Fans can subscribe to these Foxcasts, in the network's parlance, at Fox.com and then play them back on their computer or portable digital music device. Free podcasting software automatically downloads and organizes each episode when it becomes available.

"It's important to take advantage of every avenue available and talk directly to our audience," Gray said. "Podcasts are an emerging and important platform, and we want to be at the forefront of their application to our young and first adopter viewers."

With the specter of video podcasting as the next wave of on demand content, it stands to reason that the latest revolution of technology and media is only just beginning.

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