Are podcasts the new online news channel?

by Eve Resnick on April 16, 2008

in General

Last night, during our podcast on video on the Net, it occurred to me that we got used to new technologies very fast and that they spread all over even faster. Blogs and podcasts – considered new tools a few months ago – are now… would I dare say banal? We all have cameras, know how to use them and post our videos on line; we all know how to create and animate a blog. What’s the use?

Like blogs, podcasts are of two types:

  • branded podcasts for an estate or a winery;
  • thematic podcasts – about wine, food, women, travel, lifestyle etc.

Château Palmer, a Classified Growth in Margaux, launched its blog first, then its webcasts. What is the purpose of these unusual actions by a very formal Bordeaux estate? The blog was at first supposed to replace the “News” page of the first site. In 2004, when the second version of the site was opened, a blog was quite a novelty. Château Palmer was the first Classified Growth to open a blog, and, as far as we know, is still the only one to have such an interactive tool. The management very quickly understood the use of such a tool: to interact with their consumers and wine lovers. Their posts are open to comment, and whoever wishes to express an opinion is welcome.

The first video podcasts were launched for the 2006 harvest after much thought. Once more Château Palmer was a pioneer in Bordeaux, and, in this rather conservative area, the Châteaux owners gave interviews which were then published as a podcast. The site of the Wine Spectator is now full of this sort of video. Until this move by Château Palmer, no estate had published its own podcasts. Harvest is a crucial time for a château, and filming it, as well as interviewing the participants, is rather tricky. Accidents may happen, rain may fall, thunderstorms may occur – and everything will be recorded. Of course one may edit the film or the interview, but then where is the honesty in such an enterprise? The idea is to give the consumer information, which is as accurate and true as possible. The risk cannot be described as non-existent for a winery. Château Palmer took the risk, and so became famous for the quality and realism of the information given to its customers and web visitors. This type of “branded” podcast is the best way to reach the end-consumers. Life at the Château and interaction with the team are shared with every end-consumer and Club member.

The thematic podcasts are different. They want to bring together people sharing a common interest or passion, in our case wine or wine and food. From December 2006 to March 2008, at the suggestion of longtime friend Randulo, Robin Garr, the creator of wineloverspage.com, launched the “WineLoversPage TalkShoe”, a weekly live Internet radio show.

The live show was hosted on the talkshoe.com platform, which is a community of web users and show hosts. How did it work? Every week Randulo and Robin chose a topic related to wine: for example, how to read a French label, corkscrew or screwcap, unusual wine and food pairings, wine goes to Hollywood, Champagne, wine and cheese, etc. The audience could listen to the live show, call in to give an opinion or take part in the topic, or download the show after it was completed.

Podcasts are not only videos or audio interviews. Behind the scenes there is a syndication technology called RSS requiring skills in programming and editing, which were provided by Randulo. TalkShoe’s technology allows a much better interaction with the web users. People can talk to the show host live and/or can download the podcast – keeping it for further listening on their MP3 or iPod at a convenient time. Podcasts, like blogs, are syndicated and have a life of their own on the Net. Once they start being syndicated they reach more and more people.

How does it answer our question? By their instantaneity, the podcasts, especially when they are hosted on a platform such as TalkShoe that allows live broadcasting, can bring information on very actual questions and serve as news carriers. It’s not the “breaking news” of CNN but it provides a very accurate information by its quick realization and the speed of its distribution. The technology brings the world up to speed and people together.

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