I FINISHED AN afternoon chat with Benjamin Edwards, the podfather of IBM. He told me things about the reach of IBM's external podcasts that I might have guessed along with a surprising amount of details about IBM's intranet podcasts. The lessons IBM have learned about how to quickly and efficiently make accessible audio content could make a case study on their own. As it is, they form part of an Inside View podcast to be released on 6 February 2006.
I learned that “IBM and the future of crime” generated more than 15,000 downloads during its first month online.
It appears that IBM is effectively working around an inability of people to cop onto RSS feeds. The lion's share of downloads come through iTunes and direct referrers. People are subscribing to RSS feeds at iTunes without knowing they're using the popular syndication format. People who download the files directly come from email pointers or from the front page of the IBM US site.
IBM's customers appear to enjoy the highly accessible podcasts. They are easy to grasp and the Big Blue brand benefits from being portrayed with the sheen of an expert. That alone would make podcasting an effective item as part of the mix used by those charged with increasing the value of the company's brand in the minds of investors, customers and the press.