Geoghegan’s Problem and Microsoft’s Missed Opportunity

Michael Geoghegan, Podcasting’s Jimmy Stewart (I will make that meme stick, darn it), writes of the “Problem with Subscribe” in a recently, very well thought out piece on his Blog. 

In short, the issue is this:  “smart people who are new to podcasting still find the terms confusing and off-putting.

He explains that the process of “subscribing” misses the mark on so many levels, one has to wonder if it is effective at all.  Subscription, everywhere else, means giving people personal information and/or money in exchange for content.   People are tired of that exchange – and they should be.

The wonder of Podcasting is that the customer doesn’t have to do either in the subscription process.  That’s the value proposition for the customer.  Us Podcasters can’t trick anyone into anything anymore – we have to perform first.

It’s what we call the “Podcasting Paradox” in the book.  It is where all of our power lies.

Michael says, “Easy to say it is their problem, but if you are building a business in podcasting – this is our problem.

As always, Michael is right.

So, who is going to help us fix this “problem?”

Microsoft could have cleaned up with their recent release – but did not.  They could have tied subscription into the IE7 engine, called it something different, and tied it into Media Player.  It could have been beautiful.

But they did not.

So, it is our job now. 

We have to explain the benefits.  We have to teach them what it means.  We can’t just give them great content, we have to demonstrate what this great content means.  Subscription, in our world, needs to be all about the subscriber.

Which means, and I hate to pound this into the ground, but we become the media in this one. 

We must. 

We have to not only produce, distribute and market, but we must show people how powerful this option is.

I think of HBO who keeps telling me that they’re not TV. 

That must be our message.  We’re not a traditional subscription.  We are far better than that.

We’re a service that brings those MP3s right to you – without grabbing your intimate details.

We’re content that can’t con you into consumption – it is your choice.

We’re the future – where the audience is completely in charge.

Subscription buttons are not enough. 

We’re gonna have to hold their hands a little bit longer.

The term ain’t gonna go away (neither is the term Podcasting) – so we just have to change what they think of when they think of subscription.

Nobody else is going to do it for us – not our audience, not Microsoft, not Apple, …

Good, I didn’t want to give them a piece anyway.

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