To stream or not to stream? That is the question. When it comes to audio/visual content, there are two major distribution models to consider: the podcast and the video stream. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks, and deciding which is best for your particular use case depends on knowing a few things about the differences between these models, the media you'll be distributing, and your target audience. In this article, we'll discuss all three topics.
What are podcasting and video streaming? Podcasting, a word coined from the iPod brand of MP3 players and the word broadcasting, is a way of getting audio content onto a computer or mobile device, so that it can be listened to at leisure. Video (and audio) streaming is sent from a media site directly to a person's computer at the moment they request it, but it isn't stored there. Whenever someone wants to watch or listen to the content again, they'll have to have an internet connection and start streaming it once more.
As you can see, these different models fit themselves to different use cases:
A helpful guide is to consider both the form of your content and the way it's to be used. If you're putting out a series of helpful tutorials, streaming might be a better option because it allows near-instant access without long waits for downloads. If you're putting out an eBook, you'll want to cater to people who want to download it onto their MP3 players and listen through, as it suits them, possibly over weeks or even months as they have the time.
In the end, only you can decide what model best serves your content and your audience. Experiment, ask for user feedback, and remember that you can always change your model.