Posts Tagged ‘podcast’
Soon to be available nightly, zero days a week
The flexibility of being able to download audio and video programmes to my mobile devices is one of the things that’s revolutionised by media consumption in the last decade. I have a 64GB ipod which is pretty much dedicated to podcasts, and it’s usually complaining that I’m about to run out of space.
I’m a massive consumer of documentary and current affairs, but I watch very little on-the-day TV news. And thanks to NBC’s decision to kill the podcast feed of Nightly News, I’ll now be watching even less.
I’ve been downloading NBC Nightly News pretty much every day for the last couple of years. It’s a great contrast to UK daily news programmes. I enjoy the different presentational style, I enjoy the different editorial decisions. But I also enjoy the very traditional collection of ‘stuff that happened today’ packaged into one simple bulletin.
There’s a helpful announcement pointing me in the direction of other ways to watch, via the dedicated app, or on the web, but here’s why the other options don’t work for me:
Both the app and website options need a live internet connection. I don’t always have one. The fantastic thing about a podcast or download is that it works wherever you are, even when your connection is patchy. I’m almost always enroute somewhere when I’m watching, hence my internet is always patchy.
Neither the app or wesbite options allow me to watch at anything other than real-time. I have something like 35 programmes on my device and in order to fit everything in, I almost always play things back at a faster speed.
This may seem extremely geeky (and I admit it probably is) but I often listen or watch up to 5 hours of media in a day, and I only have about three hours to do so. The ability to compress time is really valuable.
I chose an ipod specifically because is has the best implementation of this that I’ve found so far, as it attempts to keep the pitch the same, while increasing the speed. It doesn’t sound normal, but it isn’t so strange that you can’t listen or understand for quite long periods. A 30 minute show magically becomes 15 minutes long and I have 15 minutes to watch something else.
The audio version of Nightly News will still be available yes, and I could download that and play it back at a higher speed. However, without the pictures, I would do better with a dedicated radio programme instead, radio reporters don’t constantly refer to things you cannot see.
I don’t know the reason NBC are getting rid of Nightly News in video, but in doing so, mainstream TV loses another viewer and they hurt their overall accessibility at a time when ease-of-access is one of the most important things for a media producer. Make it harder for people to get to your offer, and the majority just won’t bother.
If I had the time, I could probably do a screen-scrape of their web video and get the programme back, but there’s so much competition out there, I’ll probably just switch to something else.
I never cease to be amazed at how organisations suffering from audience-flight make decisions which will exacerbate the problem, but at least my ipod has a bit more space now.
Score: Innovation 1, mainstream media nil. Again.
Restructuring doesn’t just affect paper
I’m a huge fan of time-shifted and downloadable radio. I currently have 12 regular ‘must listens’ on my phone at any one time and they’re brilliant accompaniment for walking to and from train stations as well as drowning out other people’s overly-loud personal music choices once you’re on the train.
But my ‘must listen’ count has just reduced by one. The Guardian has decided to drop its regular business podcast. This is a shame, because at a time when I feel we need more analysis of business, there’s slightly less choice now.
I also feel it’s loss should be noted, as when I looked around last week to see if anyone was noting it at all, I was surprised and saddened to find almost nothing bar the odd mention on Twitter:
RIP The Guardian Business Podcast, you were useful, interesting, and no more bit.ly/ue7xeE
— Mark Hillary (@markhillary) February 6, 2012
This might be for a couple of reasons. The mention that the current episode was the final one came in the final 30 seconds, perhaps people had dipped out before the end and missed it. The second reason might just be that there were few people actually listening at all.
That annoys me because it was genuinely good. But I’m a realist, things change, efforts are put in other places. I don’t read the Guardian’s business pages, so sadly, my contact with that part of their journalism ends here.
It’s worth touching on another change I’ve heard while listening to another Guardian programme, Tech Weekly. Talented long-time producer Scott Cawley left at the end of January.
With the Guardian’s former Head of Audio and presenter of Media Talk, Matt Wells, now in New York, there are clearly changes ongoing to the area he launched and championed.
I’m trying to think what else will be in the pipeline. Media Talk itself has competition now in the form of the Radio 4 Media Show, and I haven’t heard an episode of the US edition of the podcast in years.
Also a loss.
In the meantime, here’s some other business and economics programmes that are worth adding your feeds to replace the Guardian.
BBC In Business/World Business with Peter Day (if you’re not already listening to this, go to the back of the class)
NPR Planet Money – twice a week and addictive
And finally the Economist’s weekly “Money Talks”. Don’t look for it on their site. Due to their hopeless search and out of date RSS feeds (which I’ve mentioned before) you’ll be taken to an episode from October 2011. This is a shame, because the programme isn’t bad, just hard to find.