London’s LBC Premium Podcasts

It was always going to happen but now London’s LBC has started to charge for podcasts.
To be fair the full podcasts of their shows were never available, I came across the station when I found The Iain Lee Show Podcast, which consisted of about 15 minutes of the best bits of the day.
For an admittedly small £2 a month you can have access to the full length version of most LBC shows, archives of LBC podcasts, Online exclusive shows and special editions of shows also.

In my opinion LBC has missed the boat. They’ve done everything that I suggested as regards radio podcasts (extra podcast-only content etc.) but by slapping a fee of any description on the content has ensured that it is alienating thousands of potential listeners and has ensured that the basic ideals of podcasting will not be a mainstream pursuit.
I personally would love to hear the full Iain Lee Show, but as a point of principal rather than a point of pennys I refuse to buy it (besides, I can listen live if I’m around my PC at the right time).
When LBC drops their Premium podcasts after a lack of interest I hope they realise it’s because of their decision to charge rather than their decision to try something new.


  1. James Hatts 04/02/2006 at 15:03

    It seems a fair deal to me. The podcasts don’t contain ads, bandwidth costs money, and the sums asked are modest. The ‘best of’ podcasts whet your appetite and subscribers get a good deal.


  2. Administrator 04/02/2006 at 18:57

    Sure, bandwidth costs money, but why is it that thousands of podcasts exist, including ones like Ricky Gervias, the most downloaded podcast in the world, without a charge? At worst they have a brief advert or a mention of a sponsor, something I’d happily put up with.
    Sure £2 isn’t much for a month, but in my opinion putting any kind of charge on a service instantly cuts your audience to pieces; even if they charged 1p, you have to deal with people without credit cards etc. and those who just don’t want the hassle of setting up accounts etc.
    Surely they could use podcasts to promote their station on the internet like other radio stations, and why can’t they do something different without slapping a price on it?
    If I heard enough stuff on these podcasts to interest me I might start listening live online during the day; and if they get a sponsor mention at the start and end of the cast they would probably cover bandwith costs with ease.


  3. [...] As noted on TCAL, The amazingly popular Ricky Gervais Podcast, which has completed it’s 12 episode run recently is set for a second series beginning on 28th February. The show, which has been recorded in the Guinness Book or Records as the most downloaded Podcast in the world, recorded an average of 261,670 downloads a week in its first month and was hailed by many as the first real mainstream step into a typically offbeat pass-time. The success of the show was probably due to a number of facts. The show was free, it was original content (rather than a re-run of the XFM radio shows) and it featured a world famous and critically acclaimed comedian. Now, however, at least one of those facts are due to change; the second series of the show will only be available to paying customers. As mentioned before on this blog, charging for podcasts is not a unique phenomenon however this is one of the first podcast-unique shows to begin a charge and its popularity is sure to make the result much more interesting. Listenership of the show is certain to drop dramatically once charges are introduced; that’s not to say that it will not be a profitable move. It is unlikely, however, to be something that will be much copied at present, not many podcasters have the same clout as Gervais does, certainly not in the mainstream market. It will be some time, in my opinion, until podcasts are used to their best effect. Podcasts need to shake off the shakles that mainstream radio seems desperate to impose upon it. They should not be seen as vehicles for radio re-runs; this relegates them to little more than Video Plus enabled VCR’s for the iPod generation. They medium will stay in the domain of ‘geeks’ and home broadcasters as long as people at the fore of traditional communication ignore their potential and resist the urge to charge. [...]


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