I was listening to the latest TWiT podcast (92) and also came across a post on Vallyewag about Justin.tv. The combination of these two drove me to comment.
First, I am a fan of podcasts. Whether it is BattleStar Galactica, TWiT, or the Java Posse, they keep me entertained as I commute to and from work.
On the TWiT podcast, there was a group of podcasters and video bloggers talking about various topics related to the subculture. One interesting point was when Leo mentioned that most podcasters find that they can't really break a peak audience (measured as downloads) of about 200k-300k. They went on to talk about how international their audiences are. When you break that down, it is actually a VERY SMALL number of Americans who consume this type of media at all, let alone a specific podcast. Contrast this with what one of the callers (yes, the podcast has callers) talked about. She does her own podcast, and was struggling with the growth of her audience from 7 to 700. For most people, this is a huge number of people to be interested in you and what you have to say. The caller was concerned about how to deal with this notoriety. The guests talked about how they started to be concerned about what public information they had posted online, etc. but continued to say that they all had pretty good experiences with their fans and enjoyed their mini-fame.
Podcasts are both huge and tiny at the same time (whereas this blog is mostly just tiny). I think this is cool, but it will be relegated to something that is done for fun, and not profit for a long time to come. Leo was very up front about the struggles that he has with his podcasts (he has more than 10 in his network) getting sponsors. Leo is a 'famous' personality who used to host a TechTV show and now has a nationally syndicated radio show. He is an industry guy who is a known quantity. However, his (big) audience is still way too small for advertisers to pay any real attention to. If you want to reach millions of people, negotiating deals for 200k at a time is very time consuming (which translates to expensive). I think many semi-popular websites also struggle with this as they become too popular to manage part time, but are not big enough to really attract advertising dollars outside of a network.
On to Justin.tv....
I think they Valleywag article nails the Justin.tv phenomenon pretty well. It is another illustration of how big something can be that < 1% of Americans ever know about, and how crazy we are. Why are people so fascinated with the minutia of individual's lives? The Valleywag article makes several great points including how we've been here before (JenniCam) and how cruel everyone can be, when you take what we say in 'private' and expose it to the world. I have to admit, I'm tempted to go check out Justin.tv, but so far I'm holding strong.
Of course, this blog is my own vanity project that I hope will propel me to fame and fortune, so take all of this with a big grain of salt.