Paid Podcasting Arrives, With Some Anxiety

21 Feb ’06

In what appears to be the first case of a free podcast going paid, the Ricky Gervais podcast is moving from iTunes to Audible, at $1.95 per episode or $6.95 for the season. While iTunes has certainly done a great job building a culture of payment for small doses of media, there’s no question that promoters are still working hard to address market perceptions that some content ought to be free. Note the emphasis on managing those expectations in this coverage by Cnet News:

The move is the first major example of a free podcast attempting to go paid, said David Joseph, Audible’s vice president of corporate communications and strategy. “We’re helping Ricky to build a business so he can pay his people.”

The move is part of Audible’s pitch that it can help create more revenue for podcasts than is possible from a free MP3-based model. The company also claims technical advantages, such as the ability to easily move through chapters and the ability to have smaller file formats by using greater compression than is possible with MP3.

“There will be a little bit of controversy because everybody wants something for free,” Joseph said.

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