March 22, 2006 by  
Filed under Podcasts

The Ricky Gervais podcast has been, since it started, the most popular podcast available at the iTunes Music Store. I’ve downloaded one episode and have yet to listen to it, but I’m wondering if it’s moving into the pay category. All podcast downloads are free at iTunes, and while the Ricky Gervais Show still appears in the podcast directory (and the final episode is free), the shows are also offered for $2.99 each, as audiobooks (that link may not work for all – and will try to launch iTunes if it does). The podcast link offers Episode 12 only, as does the Guardian Unlimited site (below). At the podcast link takes you to the audiobook I already mentioned above, so it does seem their podcast is no longer free.

Speaking of pay-for podcasts, the ABC has been quietly talking about introducing advertising to raise revenue. Well, the Communications Minister Helen Coonan has been talking about it. There were two articles in The Australian’s media section two weeks ago (which I have been meaning to do a post on) talking about the succuss of ABC Radio’s podcasts. If they start charging for them they could make a bucketload, as the argument goes. My argument goes a little differently, if they start charging for them nobody will listen. That’s not entirely true, but you’ll definitely see the downloads drop dramatically. I guess it really wouldn’t matter though – if only one person paid $2.99 for “Dr Karl on triple j”, that’s $2.99 more than the ABC had before. Incidentally, one of those articles thought the ABC would rake in more along the lines of $10million a year, even if downloads dropped and were only charged at 99c a pop. As an aside, the top 25 podcasts on the iTunes Music Store today include six from the ABC’s suite, five of those are in the top 15, and four of them are from triple j.

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