With a background in web development and online education, Abertay PhD student Colin Gray was quick to spot a gap in training and production support for one of the most exciting digital media breakthroughs this decade: The Podcast.
"Podcasting is going from strength to strength right now as a way for businesses to engage with customers and grow an audience of fanatical brand fans. It’s the personal connection that really does it - something comes across really powerfully by voice."
With 4 million adults in the UK now listening to Podcasts and the BBC alone receiving 24 million downloads per month, podcasting offers access to what is potentially a very large market.
Yet the use of podcasting as a marketing tool has been slow to take off, something that could be connected to the fact that it requires technical skills and the right equipment.
Colin developed thepodcasthost.com to provide training and production support for podcast creators. With his PhD research at Abertay focusing on developing engaging, effective online courses for working learners, he was able to apply this knowledge to the development of thepodcasthost.com.
The objective of the project was to provide a combined production and training service in a format tailored to the needs of potential customers.
While many of the competing sites have moved away from written content in favour of audio podcasts, the regular, high quality written content on thepodcasthost.com over the past six years has proven popular with users. The site is now attracting 500 visitors per day.
Colin was awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship in 2015, hosted by Abertay University, to help him further develop his company by creating a range of courses covering all aspects of podcasting, producing a high volume of good quality written content for the website, and developing the use of software and business systems to deliver excellent service to customers. Thepodcasthost.com now employs two and a half full time staff.
"I've been working in this area since 2007, but we're reaching more and more people now thanks to the help we've had from Abertay and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. It's made it possible for us to grow quickly, keeping up with the medium!"
Professor Gregor White, Head of the School of Design and Informatics at Abertay sees the development of thepodcasthost.com as an example of the way in which the practical research at Abertay is grounded in the real issues we face in the digital age and is leading the way in finding solutions.
He said: “Colin’s success demonstrates the way in which our research – which focuses on practical, real world problems – can contribute to business development. The expertise we have with online design is internationally recognised and can be used to accelerate business growth in a wide number of industries.”
Abertay University works with a wide range of businesses in the creative industries. We also apply the expertise developed through computer games research to developing solutions in other in other industries, including: