Thoughts on the Corporate Podcast Summit – UK

Just back from the event and thought I’d post some general impressions, balancing optimism and skepticism.

The event was pretty well attended, with an estimated 150 people present over the two days, mainly from the UK.  As is often the case in such events, there was a definite element of preaching to the converted.   There were a lot of speakers and panelists – I heard a few people place the number at 47.  So 33% of the people had a business or other vested interest in the subject matter. In other words, it is happening now, it is happening big, and those companies that do not get it, well, ….

Peculiar, however, was fact that very very few big businesses (and no big media) were present to discuss what they were doing with podcasting, and how they were making money from it.  Why?

That being said, there were several solid presentations from medium and large businesses that were podcasting.  These presentations  conveyed a very concrete analysis as to why they started podcasting, and the benefit they derived from it.

Sun Microsystems stands out with their MiFID podcast –  The European financial market is being forced to upgrade their systems to comply with an EU MiFID directive.  The opportunity for Sun and its competitors is huge.  Competition fierce. Sun’s MiFID podcast is a vendor-neutral podcast, hosted on the Sun website, conveniently next to the Sun product whitepapers.  By being neutral, the podcast hosts get to interview opinion leaders, many of them being upper management of the prospect customers themselves.  The hosts gain unparrelel “inside info” that the industry can download and listen to, all which positions Sun as the market leader.  Great idea.

First Direct, a telephone/internet only bank in the UK (HSBC member) launched a podcast that provides valuable financial planning information to its customers, as well as strengthens the ties between the customer to otherwise invisible bank employees.

There are companies using podcasting internally, such as Alcatel-Lucent (training).

Are businesses adopting podcasting?  In the UK, slowly.  Less so elsewhere in Europe.   With the exception of the early-adopters, corporate podcasting must answer to the all mighty ROI analysis.  Clearly, the blog + podcast combination creates a new way for companies to get a more personal message out (podcast), and create a feed-back mechanism (blog).

Is it a compelling opportunity?  Like any other technology, podcasting is crossing the chasm with the early adopters and will grow.

Anita, the event was very well organized, and the presenters knew their stuff.   Good job.


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