Podcasting is a term used to describe a collection of technologies for automatically distributing audio programs over the Internet using a publisher/subscriber model. It differs from earlier online delivery of audio or video because it automatically transfers the digital media files to the user's computer for later use. Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated "shows," and gives broadcast radio or television programs a new distribution method. A small part of the much larger Ipodverse.
Any digital audio player or computer with audio-playing software can play podcasts. From the earliest RSS-enclosure tests in 2000 and 2001, feeds have been used to deliver video files as well as audio, and other media such as photographs and text are transferable by podcast. The term "cast", however, still refers largely to audio distribution
Podcasting's essence is about creating content (audio or video) for an audience that wants to listen when they want, where they want, and how they want
"Podcasting" is a portmanteau that combines two words: "iPod" and "broadcasting."
The term is a misnomer since neither podcasting nor listening to podcasts requires an iPod or any portable player, and no broadcasting is required. The term is also sometimes criticized as giving undue credit to Apple for a technology which it had very little to do with creating. Aware of this potential misunderstanding, some writers have suggested alternative names. One such alternative is "blogcasting", which implies content based on, or similar in format to, blogs. Others include "audioblogging" and "rsscasting".
As of 2005, the term seemed to have become established as "podcasting," however, largely because of its phonetic similarity to "broadcasting" and because of the iPod's current domination of the portable audio player market. Some writers (notably Macintosh pundit John Gruber, see his Is That a Podcast in Your Pocket?) speculate that the word itself played a significant part in Apple's decision to add podcasting support to its iTunes music application, in order to confirm the company's association with the phenomenon. Others, acknowledging that an alternative term is unlikely to prevail, have suggested reinterpretations of "pod", such as "Personal, On-Demand" or phonetically "Portable Audio".
Podcasting as a medium is primarily associated with, but not limited to, audio data. Podcasting of video data is called, among other things, "video blogging" (see vlog), "video podcasting", "vlogging", "vodcasting", or "vidcasting". Other people are working on photocasting and flickrcasting.
The New Oxford American Dictionary crowned "podcasting" as the 2005 word of the year and defines the term as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player".