Finally, a three hundred and sixty degree view on transcription.
BobWP, (otherwise known as Bob Dunn), has written down his thoughts on podcast transcription specifically, but I think they also apply to transcription in general. You should go read his post, because my thoughts spring from his.
The part of the post that struck me the most was the brief discussion of possible revenue loss. Not only is there a cost for the transcription itself, (which Bob has determined is the cost of doing business), but sponsors are also hesitant to cover transcription costs for fear of losing revenue from podcast listeners. And if we’re totally honest, businesses don’t sponsor podcasts for exposure, they do so for possible revenue from listeners. To be honest again, the reason non-hobby podcasts exist is to drive revenue to the businesses putting them on. If a podcast or podcast network can’t produce at least revenue, and ideally profit, then it goes away because it’s an unnecessary expense. For an illustration of this, see what happened to the Serotalk Podcast Network.
Podcasts specifically are very difficult to monetize in the first place, unless you have a metric ton of listeners. So I’m glad to see that, despite the failed crowd funding campaign Bob ran to get his podcast episodes transcribed, he’s chalking it up to the cost of business and going ahead with it anyway. While I’m glad Bob is doing the right thing, I think advocacy for podcast transcription specifically needs to take the cost/sponsorship part into account. Podcasts that are raking in enough to pay for expenses and make a profit have no excuse to leave it out. But for smaller podcasts, I think a pragmatic approach is going to be more productive than activism.
For accessibility advocates appearing on podcasts, offering to cover the transcription cost of at least that episode could be one way to handle transcription, and for podcast creators, reassuring sponsors that they will have an ad more appropriate to text content could also work. These are just ideas, but I think both of these could serve as possible solutions to the lack of transcription in the podcast realm.