Podcast Audience Up, Up, and Not Going Away!

Once again, new evidence has emerged that continues to legitimize podcasting as a formidable means of content and information distribution.  In its third annual report on podcast consumption, the 2008 Arbitron/Edison Media Research Internet and Multimedia study reveals significant growth in the consumption of audio and video podcasts.  eMarketer agrees, predicting podcast audiences will increase 251% in 2012.  That’s less than four years folks.  This is big news considering today’s market where consumers have a vast amount of choices for information and entertainment.

So why the increase?  Being an avid podcast subscriber, I have seen a tremendous increase the quality of podcasts, especially on the video side.  Mainstream media outlets have also stepped up the amount of content produced for podcast distribution.  Podcasters are improving their methods of promoting their shows.  And, let’s not forget one really big factor:  The majority of podcasts available today are still free!

Other highlights in the report include:
- Significant growth in audio and video podcast consumption in the past year
- Public awareness of podcasting remained flat over the past year at 37%
- Nearly 30% of all regular internet users have downloaded a podcast
- 47% of today’s podcast audience are women
- Podcast consumers are well educated and generally have higher incomes
- Mobile phones are increasingly being used as media players
- 82% of podcast consumers have made purchases on-line

More news from Podtrac and TNS shows how podcast consumers are more engaged with the content they select.  This translates into a greater level of trust with a podcast’s advertisers.  The data suggests that podcasts may be a much more powerful advertising platform than television.  The two companies studied podcast advertising from February 2006 to March 2008 across multiple product categories and ad types. Unaided awareness for podcast ads was 68%, compared with 21% for streaming video and 10% for television.  This is truly an exciting time for new media producers!

Now, for anyone out there who A.) Has not downloaded or listened to an audio or video podcast or B.) Does not know anything about podcasting, please watch this video from Common Craft, then go out, subscribe to a few podcasts and see what you think.  By the way, we have our own little podcast here at Sundog.  Click here to subscribe, and thanks!


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Tracking the audience size is a great first step. I think the next one will be tracking the audience population (who are they?) and confirming that they represent the desired target demographics. An online media audit could be very useful in doing this. Our team just built http://www.buysafemedia.com and it’s got some useful information about the importance of print media auditing. The challenge is to determine if the same principles apply to online media—as well as to get industry buy-in.

Susan Sheehan Posted on: May 30, 2008 at 01:25 PM

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