Dedman hosts around 600 videoblogs (awkwardly dubbed “vlogs”) on his site, AntisnotTV.com, and says that number would explode if Apple releases a video iPod. “Audio is boring. It’s boring to make a radio show,” Dedman says. “The reason [videoblogging] is not that hot yet is because we don’t have a device to shift the video on to. If Apple does it, it will be pretty big.”
On August 9, the online activist group Downhill Battle will launch its “Participatory Culture” player and website, which will make it easier to distribute video and audio content on the Internet. One of its directors, Nicholas Reville, says that a video iPod “can only have a really strong, positive effect…It would bring a level of credibility – the same thing Apple brought to MP3 players and audio podcasting.”
When Apple announced its support for audio podcasting in June and began listing the mostly amateur radio segments within its iTunes Music Store, podcasting saw its biggest boost to date. Just two days after podcasts were made available, more than one million people subscribed.
So what content will drive the adoption of video podcasting: fringe talk shows, progressive commentators, obscure sporting events? If the past is a barometer, it will be another category: pornography. Video podcasting – essentially short video files discreetly transferred to a device – seem like a natural for the skin trade. There’s already an interest in erotic audio podcasting. A report by Digital Podcast in June found that the most-requested category by listeners to its podcast hub was “Erotica.” Ironically, though, fewer erotic podcasts were available on the site than any other category. But that won’t last long.
Midwifing a new media such as video podcasts is likely not Apple’s motivation in launching a video iPod. After all, the device would command a steep retail premium. Further, with individual music videos reported to be offered for $1.99 each on the iTunes Music Store, according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple could make money through licensed video content sales as well.
Still, the unveiling of a video iPod could be the flashpoint for video podcasting – adding to the already-strong momentum in what might be the 21st century’s most significant technological development thus far: do-it-yourself media.