Friday, April 07, 2006

BBC picks up the Gervais gauntlet

BBC flagship comedy podcast, The Now Show, hits the podosphere tonight. I was lucky enough to be invited to see the recording of the topical comedy show last night, which will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 6.30pm and then be made available as a podcast at 7pm. It was an absolutely hilarious show, and included a very funny podcasting-oriented song by Mitch Benn, which may or may not make it into the final edit.
I've been a fan of this radio show for many years, and it's great to see it join the BBC's podcasting trial. It's a flagship in my book, as it is BBC radio's first proper comedy show to break through all the comedy writer licensing issues and be made available for people to download for free and store on their hard drives in perpetuity. I hope this will be the first of many, and if it is successful in the podosphere I'm sure it will be.
The keys to its success in the podosphere will be the quality of the writing, and the position the BBC has in being able to offer its content to the public for free, due to the unique way in which the BBC is funding. Therefore it will always remain a free podcast, unlike the Ricky Gervais podcast which, after a hugely successful free first series, has transitioned into a paid model. I just don't think the podosphere is ready to support paid content - if the BBC can be successful in producing such high quality shows and podcasting them for free, then the download numbers for these show will soon eclipse the likes of Gervais.
Is The Now Show the BBC's answer to the Ricky Gervais podcast? I think so!

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