Monday, July 9, 2007

PodPoint: Fast Facts

I ran across this Christian website the other day that host podcasting channels for churches. What is a podcast you say?

A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. A podcast is a specific type of webcast which, like 'radio', can mean either the content itself or the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the name of Apple's portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast[1]; a "pod" refers to the iPod, and "cast" to the idea of broadcasting.

In other words, a podcast is a collection of files (usually audio and video) residing at a unique web feed address. People can "subscribe" to this feed by submitting the feed address to an aggregator (like iTunes - software that runs on the consumer's computer). When new "episodes" become available in the podcast they will be automatically downloaded to that user's computer. Unlike radio or streaming content on the web, podcasts are not real-time. The material is pre-recorded and users can check out the material at their leisure, offline.

Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

Simplier terms podcasting is audio blogging (well sort of), remember when we talked about blogging? I believe podcasting is just another way for the church to diseminate its message. It is a new media form, instead of cassette tapes, and cd's, people are now getting media content directly from the world wide web and listening to it on their computer or transferring it to some portable media player like an ipod or other mp3 player (mp3 is the name of one of the most popular audio files). So, check out these facts and see if you think podcasting is a viable option for the church of today.My church is podcasting@ says,
Our passion is to see your organization succeed outside of "the box". Podcasting and the internet have brought with it new ways to reach people. We want to see your positive messages spread by utilizing technology while making it simple for you. This is the heartbeat of the company. Simply put: we want to see you reach people.
1. 25% of adults have downloaded audio files to their computer.
2. The podcasting audience is expected to surpass 60 million by 2010
3. 7% of the American population has downloaded a podcast
4. You do not have to own an iPod or an MP3 player to listen to a podcast
5. 11% of American adults own an iPod or MP3 player
6. There are now over 50,000 podcasts
7. Publishers of the New Oxford American Dictionary recently selected "Podcast" as Word of the Year