What’s the Cost of Bandwidth?

How much does it cost a podcaster or anyone else to deliver a one-hour program to a single listener? I’d never bothered to do the math, but it came up in a telephone discussion I had earlier today. You can’t go by “unlimited” hosting plans because they’re not really unlimited. They’re throttled by the capacity of the box and the link to the ‘Net. So I picked a discounted high-volume dedicated-server hosting account: 1,000GB for $100/month. (A 1.3 GHz Celeron Linux server with 512MB RAM and 60GB drive from EV1Servers.)

That’s $0.10 per gigabyte, or about $0.003 for a 30MB file, roughly one hour of 64kbps MP3 audio. Add in some cost of system administration (but not production), and you’re looking at between $0.005 and $0.01 to deliver a one-hour file to each listener. 10,000 listeners? $50-$100.

One thought on “What’s the Cost of Bandwidth?

  1. Incidentally, you yourself have on the order of 10,000 listeners, though your greatest expenses are from travel. As you said, your model is similar to any other podcaster model. Personally, I think podcasting works best by dividing listeners into three groups. For first-time visitors (i.e. non-registered users), access should be easy and donations voluntary (and there should be links to donate next to the link for the stream). For regular listeners, there are those who can pay, and would likely want to pay (i.e. subscribe) based on the average amount of content they listen to, and for those who can’t, sponsorship at the beginning and end of every stream would work best. I think this division fits well with the internet culture. (BTW, I did read the wiki business model page.)


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