Saturday, January 14, 2006

Prospects of Podcasting in the Philippines

Today, the Philippine Daily Inquirer ran a full page article on podcasting in this country. Entitled “30 peas in a podcast,” this was more a PR-affair (with numerous mentions of a company selling Apple products) than a serious discussion regarding the state of podcasting and its potentials in this Asian country.

Gathering from the (incomplete) list of Filipino podcasts mentioned by the author, the great majority are produced by traditional publishing companies and other established institutions. From this account, one must gather that podcasting as the grassroots audio-blogging as we know it primarily from the United States has yet to arrive in this part of the world. While there are individual Pinoy podcasters, these - this is my impression – are not based in their home country. Please correct me, should I get this wrong.

Some weeks ago, Abe Olandres, who some call the guru of Pinoy blogging, asked the question: “Will podcasting pick up in the Philippines?” He said he was “still a bit skeptical,” and predicted there could be a surge in listeners, but not in Filipinos actually producing podcasts. This, Olandres explained, was due to “inherent barriers” not limited to the Philippines, but found in all developing countries: low internet penetration and broadband connectivity.

Based on the situation today, I find this a realistic assessment. But this could change dramatically the moment mobile telephony and podcasts get linked or integrated. In the Philippines, I can think of at least two factors favoring the audio format:

First, the people’s craze for mobile phones and the readiness of even the poor to chunk out large parts of their meager income for mobile services.

Second (and this is a cultural phenomenon), the prevalence of the oral as opposed to the written in daily communications. It is no secret that, compared to other countries, reading is quite unpopular in the Philippines.

In spite of this, “classical” written blogs (as opposed to the audio variant) are doing quite well in this country. Imagine how successful audio-blogging or podcasting could become once technology produces a system that is accessible and affordable for the highly talkative masses.


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Blogger Mon said...

For podcasting to pickup in the Philippines, what we need is a good, intelligent, and fearless podcaster, totally unbiased, who is not afraid to speak about Philippine events. The best place to start is in the tech arena, but we need a tech journalist who is not a paid shill that says anything that a sponsor pays him to say.

And while I am skeptical about this podcasting phenomenon taking off in the Philippines, I am still hopeful.

7:41 PM  

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