A few years ago, Apple started cracking down on companies that used the term “Pod” in their name. This occurred just as podcasting was catching on to the mainstream. Because of this, many podcasters started using the term “netcast” to describe their shows. Off the top of my head, these include shows from the This Week in Tech (TWiT) network as well as the ARG Netcast but dozens, if not hundreds, made the switch. (Google serves up 452,000 results for “Netcast,” but it is difficult to say if they are all podcast-related.)
Since that time, Apple has gone on record stating that they do not mind third parties using the term “podcast.” According to Wikipedia, there were dozens of attempts to register “Podcast” and podcast-related names with the US Patent and Trademark Office, but only one was successful. In fact, the first trademark attempt failed, citing Wikipedia’s history of podcasting as prior art.
Now, as I listen to Pandora, an ad comes on from LG Electronics about something called Netcast™ (with the “TM” being extremely prominent). From what I can glean from the site, this has nothing to do with podcasting — that is, subscribing to arbitrary audio or video shows using iTunes and/or RSS. It is a fancy term for on-demand streaming via Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, and other services. (*Netflix® subscription required.) I worry that this new usage of the term “Netcast” may dilute the original meaning as a synonym for podcast.