Well, not exactly. But consider Audible's long-awaited announcement that they are entering podcasting with their new Channels service, which will augment their audiobook offering with a series of short programs. About a year ago, I gave a research presentation to the Audio Publishers Association (an organization of audiobook publishers, including Audible) on some research we did for them about the audiobook listener. In my presentation, I talked a lot about podcasts, and the coming rise in demand for shorter bits of audio programming to join the current demand for audio books.
Fast-forward a year, and Audible is doing their part to meet that demand with their announcement of Channels, and I for one am very much looking forward to hearing what they have come up with. If you read any of the press on this announcement, everyone is talking about Audible getting into podcasting.
However, if you visit Audible's page for this service, note what you do not see: the word podcast.
Now, this doesn't mean that the word won't creep into their communications from time to time (Audible was already publishing podcasts from entities like the Wall St. Journal and the New York Times under that name) but their messaging around Channels is certainly around short programs, not "podcasts."
In last year's Podcast Consumer 2015 webcast, I made the point that, since familiarity with the term "podcast" continues to lag, though consumption continues to rise, perhaps we ought to consider the future utility of the word "podcast" in the future. The conclusion I was left with was this: if you are already calling your podcast a podcast, keep calling it a podcast--why fight human behavior here. But if you were planning a program in the future, maybe consider calling it a "show" or a "program" instead. After all, we don't call shows that we have DVR'd a "TiVoCast." We call them shows.
Predictably, I got a lot of blowback from some veterans of the medium (and to be clear, since we've been covering the space for 11 years, I think we have a little time-of-service here as well). "Don't bring up this old chestnut again," they said. "The name is the name."
Here's the thing--I don't disagree with that. If you are a podcaster, keep making podcasts. If your audience is looking for a podcast, give them a podcast. But the market for on demand audio > the market for podcasts. I have been in room after room over the past year talking to mainstream consumers, and many of them have no idea what a podcast is, or think they can access them. They know, however, what a show is. There will always be a market for a "podcast." But the space is about to get a whole lot harder to pin down--and a whole lot bigger. And ultimately, that's a good thing, for podcast producers and show producers alike.
I'm excited to see what Audible will offer, whether it's podcasts, shows, or programs.