PodShow, the “media company” founded by Adam Curry, and the recipient of millions in venture funding, has changed its name to Mevio. Has the ring of one of those wacky Web 2.0 startup names, doesn’t it? Just vague enough to allow for a completely flexible business model.
Podcasting News linked to a video featuring PodShow co-founder Ron Bloom. In it, he described PodShow as a network of 15,000 shows. This, of course, includes the many externally-prdouced podcasts within the directory maintained by PodShow, along with the company’s own “entertainment properties”. Bloom went on to say, when asked about the name change, that podcasting seemed to denote amateurishness. He mumbled something about the Amateurville Horror. I think that was supposed to be a quote, but I’m not familiar. Irony is fun, isn’t it?
PodShow is not the first to ditch the “pod” from its name. While earlier name-changers struggled with the “do I need an iPod to listen?” question from potential listeners and viewers, my guess is that PodShow’s move, as underlined by Bloom’s emphasis on getting away from amateurism as a hallmark of the medium, had more to do with honing the message for the “brands” that PodShow must court in order to sell advertising within its programs. After all, Zune Marketplace adopted podcast when it opened its doors to RSS-based content last year, joining arch rival Apple, whose iTunes did not, after all, originate the term. On the consumer side, I think the word podcasting actually has meaning for people.
Podcasting News speculates that producers will leave PodShow. They may. It’s happened before. But I think the name change has mostly symbolic value on both sides. PodShow began to pull away from the original idea of podcasting as an independent form of media about the time it started pitching Madison Avenue agencies. Producers complained about onerous contracts then, and other podcast industry watchers noted that the company made a show of turning its metaphorical backside to industry organizations and events. I don’t know why being a part of the Mevio network would make people more likely to jump ship than what has gone before.
In the wider world of downloadable media, it’s another “podcasting is dead” headline to chew over and refute. Paul Colligan weighs in with a spirited and somewhat melodramatic defense of podcasting as an independent media form, particularly when compared to streamed content, or DRM-reliant offerings. Maybe that’s what the beleaguered folks who believe in podcasting (for business and/or pleasure) really need to hear right now. As for me, I’ll squirm a little uncomfortably, because my Libsyn referrer list shows a fair number of people find my podcast through PodShow. I sort of wonder why that is.