A report by Pew Internet & American Life Project claims more than 6 million people in America have tried podcasting services. More than 22 million Americans own iPods or MP3 music players and 29% of them have downloaded podcasts.
The survey indicates younger people leading the trend. Nearly half of the 18 to 28 age group who own MP3 players have listened to podcasts compared to 20 per cent of those over 29. Connection speed seems to make little difference with both dial-up (28%) and broadband (33%) connections showing similar results.
However the report cannot be taken as an accurate indication of podcasting trends due to the ambiguous questions used in the survey. For example, survey respondents were asked if they had ever downloaded a podcast or radio Internet program. It appears the term podcast is being confused with other terms like internet radio, streaming and downloads. Add this to the small sample group and large margin of error and it starts to look less meaningful than all the headline hype seen lately. An important aspect omitted from the survey and one we all want to know about is what type of content do consumers prefer?
Taken from the report;
The new findings come from a national phone survey of adults by the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted between February 21 and March 21, 2005. In all, 2,201 people were interviewed, including 208 owners of iPods or MP3 players. The margin of error on the full sample is plus or minus two points and on the MP3 player sample is plus or minus 7.5 points. Those under age 18 were not part of this survey.
See Podcasting catches on for the full report in PDF format.
Certainly the podcasting trend has been growing fast as more and more podcasts become available and the number of portable media players increase. In fact the meat of the Pew Internet report centres on demographics for iPod and MP3 player ownership.
According to Jupiter Research the number of MP3 players in the United States is expected to reach more than 45 million in 2008. All along, these tangible technology sales and pedicted market growth have been driving the ambitions of the pod people. Wireless communications and mobile phone products in particular are huge markets by comparison.
Podcasting pioneer Adam Curry believes this market potential can be commercialized. His idea is to create an aggregated community of podcasters that can share income revenue raised via advertising. His new venture is called PODSHOW.com, in a recent BBC report Curry states;
"How I believe this will work, is to create a network that, in aggregation, will have enough numbers to support a return on investment for the advertisers and for the podcasters.
"I have 50, 60, 70,000 listeners. I could make a couple of bucks off that, but not much. If you are talking a million podcasters, and then you can kind of divide that amongst ourselves, then that is kind of interesting."
Odeo (pronounced OH-dee-oh) hopes to make podcasting accessible to everyone in a similar way blogging tools did for web publishing. The brain child of Pyra Labs Blogger co-founder Evan Williams and Audioblogger developer Noah Glass, Odeo claims it will make it easy for you to discover, create, and subscribe to fresh, independent audio content. Here’s a screenshot.
Of course anyone with the kind of pedigree these guys show will be of interest. From the Odeo blog by EV;
"My focus for almost six years has been on enabling people to publish to the web—and very seldom has money been involved. The democratization of media is something I take very seriously. I think it’s one of the most powerful forces in society today. And it’s what inspired me to help develop and spend my time on Odeo. Noah and others who I’m working with feel the same way."
And here’s another model for making money with podcasts: Payback: A Blogvertising Standard – Preliminary