Newspapers top the iPod download chart

The Guardian’s exclusive “podcast”

of the Ricky Gervais Show has gone to number one in the Apple iTunes podcast chart in both the US and the UK.

And
The Daily Telegraph has underlined the importance of its own podcast
service by appointing a dedicated editor to look after it.

Comedians
Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington have signed up with
The Guardian to broadcast 12 half-hour shows on its website. The first
one, available from last Monday, prompted 180,000 downloads.

Gervais
said: “When I heard that we were the number one podcast, my first
thought was that it wasn’t a fair fight as The Office is shown in over
80 countries around the world.

“Steve’s first thought was, why aren’t we charging for it, and Karl’s first thought was, is a chimp allowed to win the lottery?”

Guardian
Unlimited editor-in-chief Emily Bell said: “This has established an
important precedent that Guardian Unlimited can host the best original
content from the world’s most popular performers, in whatever format,
and we will be building on this in 2006.”

Meanwhile, The
Telegraph’s daily podcast, launched a month ago, has reached as high as
number seven in the iTunes chart. It consists of actors and journalists
themselves reading out a series of articles from each day’s newspaper.

The
new podcast editor is Guy Riddle, who previously presented Radio Five’s
business programme Wake up to Money and has been with the BBC since
1990.

Riddle said: “Radio and sound have long been considered the
most personal medium, and the close relationship that The Daily
Telegraph has with its readers makes it the perfect paper for the
intimate nature of podcasting.

“This is a fantastic opportunity – one where I hope to be setting new standards for others to follow.”

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