We can expect
…a massive dilution in the audience size of the early entry podcasters. EVERYONE’s audience will fall as the marginal listeners find something they like better. Yes, there will be some podcasts that get more listenership than others, but most of them will be repurposed content that already has demand.
…when those formally known as podcasters do an accounting of the net dollars they earned and compare it to the time they invested, they will realize they made about 17 cents per hour all in.
All that will be left of profit motivated individual podcasters will be the few and far between and probably less than half of a percent of all podcasters (and please don’t anyone post a comment saying…if there are a million podcasters, 1 pct is 10k, half of that is 5k. That’s a ton. I’m making up these numbers to prove a point, not to be literal…Ok?).
And like personal blogs, tens of thousands if not more will stay on as labors of love that we enjoy because of their creativity.
So in about 3 years, the Podcast phenomena will have run its course and will just be a normal part of the digital media landscape.
Just like streaming.
My take: The key question is what kind of aggregators will take off. Some people find blogs through Google, but most find them (I suspect) through other blogs. Podcasting may not work this way. The relative returns to "portal podcasts" will be lower than for portal blogs. Glenn Reynolds can read and process material faster than most people, but no one can hear a two-minute comedy routine in much less than two minutes (no need to write me about speeding up the tape, cutting out the dead space, etc., you get the point). So you won’t find good podcasts through other podcasts to the same degree, since it is harder to serve as an effective portal. The sorting will work less well, and the categories will be harder to describe and communicate. Advertising will matter more, and institutions such as iTunes will have more influence over selection and content. Podcasting will be more in hock to MSM than are blogs.