It seems like a natural progression to go from text based blogging to live audio and video, but does BlogTalkRadio have what it takes to push the market? We have already seen vlogging, podcasting, and video broadcasting services so there is definitely a market for this. However, having taken a look at BlogTalkRadio, we’re not sure that it’s the best attempt.
While there are some good qualities, such as MP3/Podcast archives, caller queues, revenue sharing, etc. There are a few hurdles. According to their FAQ, Windows Media Player is required to listen to the broadcasts. If you want to text chat with the host, you will have to use an IM client that’s compatible with the one the host is using. And, to speak live with the host you will have to call into a special number (VoIP, landline, mobile, etc.) It would have been nice if they were able to consolidate everything into one nice little package.
It would be more compelling if you can host a live audio and video broadcast straight from your blog page. Add a listener queue that the host can control and allow text messaging. Give the host the ability to activate and deactivate audio/video of listeners with mics and webcams. Keep all the existing features of archiving, revenue sharing, etc. of BlogTalkRadio. Deliver this app through Flash, widgetize it and you have a widely accessible and usable system without the need to have users piece together the various applications and technologies that BlogTalkRadio currently uses.
Performance and technical details aside, we believe that it is completely possible to deliver such a package. There are advantages to utilizing a phone based system and leveraging existing IM chat software, but will people actually call in to listen on a cell phone while they’re walking to lunch? Or, would it be more effective to streamline the online experience while allowing users to be able to take it offline via MP3/Podcast downloads? Your guess is as good as ours. Our gut feeling says that the market is good, the business model is good, but the implementation falls a little short.
We’ll keep an eye on BlogTalkRadio and see how they progress.
For another take on BlogTalkRadio, Marshall Kirkpatrick has a write up over at TechCrunch.