Paid Placement in Podcasting

Eric Rice (EricRice.com) and Bill Flitter (Pheedo) have put together a paid-placement deal with Warner Brothers that I think establishes an historic milestone in the short life of podcasting. According to the story by Zachary Rogers in ClickZ News”

[Warner Brothers will give Eric] exclusive interviews, banter and impromptu jams featuring “The Used,” which were recorded on the band’s current tour. Starting on Thursday, that material will be made available on Rice’s podcasts. “The Used” is on Warner Brothers’ Reprise label. When Rice uses the content, he’ll disclose the financial relationship between the show and Warner Brothers.

I spoke to Eric a few minutes ago to learn more and to clarify a few points. This is an experiment for all involved. Eric previously participated in another paid-placement test with Marqui, in which bloggers were paid just to mention the company and its products. (Disclosure: IT Conversations was a beneficiary of this experiment when Eric kindly donated $500 of his revenues from the experiment to the IT Conversations tip jar.) But this is a bigger deal, not because of the dollars involved (undisclosed), but because it’s a deal made with a major markeing organization outside of the pod/blogosphere. This deal moves podcasting into the marketing limelight, at least for the next 15 minutes.

I’ll also be announcing at least one major sponsor for IT Conversations in the next few weeks, but it won’t be a paid-placement deal. Our sponsors will be treated like public-radio underwriters, and will not be involved with the content or editorial decisions. Don’t take that to mean that I’m critical of the paid-placement model; I think it’s great. It’s just not what I want to do on IT Conversations.

Eric may not get as much press coverage as Adam Curry (PodShow) or Evan Willans and Noah Glass (Odeo), but he’s someone to watch. Of all the people in podcasting/blogging/video, he is pushing more boundaries at once. If anything, he may not sit still long enough for any one of his projects to realize its full potential, but there’s no one out there doing more in the way of experimentation than Eric. And now I think Bill Flitter may also have established his credentials in podcast marketing as well.

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