I'm not going to give you only my opinion of this subject. I had the distinct pleasure of personally speaking with one of the Vice Presidents of Forrester Research on this very subject. His published work states that there is definitely a future and that the model will probably become something more like radio is now before it's able to be a sustainable technology for the future.
I would happen to agree with him. Though it's been woefully long since I've done a 'cast, myself, I certainly think there is a lot of wonderful opportunity for people out there. Some examples of what Podcasting is doing:
- Podcasts are giving people the opportunity to "tune in" to shows that are commercial free and talk about the things they love.
- When people find a Podcast they like, they can listen to it on their iPods, MP3 players, or mobile phones while they're exercising , working, or just driving to work.
- Podcasts have caught the attention of the media and advertisers: Advertisers and current print, video, and web media have noticed that people aren't paying attention to them when they're listening to free podcasts. ... and now they're getting into the act, too.
- Podcasts have offered up new ways for people to generate revenue and build creativity. I personally own a couple of domains which relate to Podcasts, such as Music4Podcasts.com and Kid-Cast.com.
- Podcasts have caused developers, including giants like Sony, to think about how they can write software to help Podcasters get their shows out and sounding professional. Just look at producst like MixCast Live!
- Advertisers, such as Best Buy, have jumped on the bandwagon for getting Podcasters, like Engadget, to deliver in-show ads during their Podcasts.
So, all in all, I think that we can say - just from these few examples - that there is lots of potential for awesome content and revenue to be had. We, as a technology community need to support it well, and all of the "talent" out there needs only to find a niche for a subject.
I'm looking forward to the Forrester VP's further prognostications about what he sees happening with Podcasts and other "consumer related" technologies.
*Special thanks for Mr. Forrester VP, who will remain nameless so that I am not considered for using his time and my own for personal gain by anyone even though we both had this conversation of our own will and it had nothing to do with a conflict of interest or anything ridiculous like that.