Did Video Kill the Audio Star?

Did Video Kill the Audio Star?Did video come along and kill the world of audio podcasting? The argument can certainly be made that video provides a more immersive entertainment experience while audio is still certainly the most flexible medium. Both audio and video have a set of pros and cons all their own, but the question before us today is whether or not audio podcasts are still relevant when put against videos.

In my home office, I typically work with a series of audio podcasts running in the background, due in part to a condition that demands I have some audio playing at all times while working. I find it difficult to follow some audio podcasts as I get distracted with whatever it is I’m working on, but there are times when a conversation or topic being discussed on a geeky podcast catches my ear and enlightens me to something I might not have previously considered.

If I have a video playing, it’s very difficult to concentrate. I certainly couldn’t drive with a video playing because I would be tempted to look down at it. Meanwhile, driving with an audio podcast or an audiobook running in the background allows me to enjoy a good story during my drive without putting anyone in harm’s way.

On the other side, I wouldn’t enjoy a lot of content in an audio-only format. Podcasts about video games (I’ve hosted several) are only rarely totally acceptable in audio form. Product review shows are also something I prefer in video format so I can see exactly what it is the hosts are talking about. I’m a visual learner, so educational programming is something I’m also predisposed to preferring.

Would YouTube have been successful if it hosted audio files?

One of the biggest questions facing new content producers today is whether or not to produce content in video or audio form. Video requires a lot more work and things have to be pretty prefect for it to come off professional and easy to watch. Audio podcasts are, by contrast, much easier to produce and listen to. Your audience will undoubtedly be in the middle of something else while listening to your show, so attention is one thing you’ll struggle to maintain. Personality is far more important in audio podcasts than anything else. Video shows can benefit from visual appeal and good editing.

I’ve written an article in the past aimed at content publishers regarding this very topic. You can see more of my tips here.

What about the audience? Is it harder now to find an audience for an audio podcast than one with video? Does it really matter to them what medium you publish at?

The answer is actually very mixed. We posed this question to the community and many of the responses we receive either questioned the relevance of audio podcasts form the start or praised audio podcasts for being able to be heard in a wider variety of situations.

Here are some of those answers.

Jeremy Dennis: I usually subscribe to video podcasts, but 90% of the time I just listen to them on my phone.

Gabriel Velez: I do both. Certain podcasts I’ll watch, but for the most part I prefer audio so I can listen while working.

Steven Feasey: Were podcasts even relevant back in 2008? I don’t think so.

Kat Armstrong: David and I both love a good podcast still. I tend to listen to them while I”m working at my computer. David downloads a lot of them to his old iPod and listens to them while biking.

Tim Wendel: I listen to podcasts all day at work. I wouldn’t be able to watch them like I listen to them.

So what about you? Do you believe that video killed the audio star? Are you still an avid audio podcast listener? Which is your favorite?

3 comments On Did Video Kill the Audio Star?

  • The nice thing about podcasts is that, like radio or music, you can listen to them while doing other things, like driving or working out. Is there no room for ambient entertainment any more? Are we destined to be like the overweight, information-overloaded humans of Pixar’s “Wall-E?”

  • While I’m outside of the house, audio is great to have playing “while I’m doing something”. When I get back to the house, the “something” I’m “doing” becomes watching videos (when I’m not playing video games, checking email/twitter/facebook)

  • There’s also the neurological considerations. Speech (audio podcasts mostly) is easy when the body is engaged in a repetitive, almost meditative activity. Gardening, driving, ironing, washing dishes. Typing/reading/coding require the same processing power of the brain that parsing speech does. IF we can pull this type of multi-tasking off, we’re either superhuman, or some sort of productivity hit is occurring.

    Video can transcend language barriers because of the visual nature. How many times does a Westerner watch some zany Japanese variety show, not knowing what’s going on, yet still finding the humor in it?

    I will agree that the lack of massive services (like Youtube) to support audio is disenchanting. (As a disclosure, I was a co-founder of audioblog.com/hipcast years ago)

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