Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Podcasting dead or alive? TrendsSpotting marketing indicators

August 30th, 2008 by


Podcasting, first to be discussed in 2000 (audio files encapsulated in RSS feeds)- has not turned into a mass consumer behavior, nor has it become a routine in our daily life.
Around the blogsphere, I find much ambiguity over the matter.

Chris brogan asks: “Think about podcasting: Where is THAT going? If you can guess that one correctly, get back to us all. It’s been a crazy ride so far”

Some say it is dying off (Alexander Wolfe, Information Week; AlexIskold, RWW , while others still believe in its potential.

I’ve gathered few indicators to suggest that as long as we believe in the technology to allow podcasting (ipods, MP3 players)– we can still believe in the potential of the podcasting tool. Not one to replace other existing ones (as streaming video), but certainly another optional tool (much similar to RSS readers) to attract users in need for information in a more planned manner.

1. Technology to enable podcasting is common and still on rise
2. Services to allow podcast content seem promising
3. Young people, are already intensive users
4. Chinese mass market – highly in favor
5. New markets: Video casting is developing
6. Marketing research shows a constant rise among potential users

1. Technology to enable podcasting is common and still on rise:
US stats:
According to a December 2007 Pew survey: 34% of US adults and 43% of US internet users report owning an iPod or MP3 player (up from 20% adults, 26% internet users
users in April 2006). 61% of young adults (18-29) own MP3 players.

2. Services to allow podcast content seems promising
Services as iTunes offer you to get your morning newspaper, or preferred show delivered to your iTunes desktop (The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, CNN and more).

3. Young people are already intensive users
Younger generations have embraced the technology, their percentages nearly doubling since 2006: ages 18-29 are the heaviest podcast users – 27% have ever downloaded a podcast. (Pew Survey May 2008).
Many colleges and universities now provide podcasts of lectures and important speakers. Students are required to create podcasts as an alternative to traditional papers.

4. Chinese mass market – highly in favor: China is the world’s biggest podcast market (74% users = an estimated 45m users, 18% listen and download everyday )

5. New markets: Video casting is developing:

Mashable points to multiple mediums of broadcasting – “instead of just podcasting, it’s podcasting and videocasting and giving people the option to subscribe to either.”

6. Marketing research show a constant rise among users downloading podcasts
Forrester 2006
eMarketer January 2008
Edison Media Research study February 2008:
Universal McCann March 2008 global study
Pew May 2008 US survey
More on podcasting marketing research – recent Pew May 2008 US survey

Currently, 19% of US internet users report downloading a podcast so they could listen to it or view it later (up from 12% – August 2006 Pew survey).
Still, podcasting has yet to become a daily routine: among those who download podcasts, only 17% do so on a typical day.

Who is downloading podcasts in the US?

Men continue to be more likely than women to download podcasts; 22% of online men
compared with just 16% of online women report ever having downloaded a podcast.
However, men and women are equally likely (3%) to download podcasts on a typical day.

Younger generations have more fully embraced the technology, their percentages nearly doubling since 2006: ages 18-29 are the heaviest podcast users – 27% have ever downloaded a podcast.

Previous internet experience:
Users with six or more years of internet experience are significantly more likely (22%) than those with less online experience (13% – for 4-5 years experience, 11% for 3 years or less) to have ever downloaded a podcast.

Broadband connection at home:
High-speed internet access at home are also significantly more likely than dial-up users to download podcasts (22% versus 8%).

Other parameters found to show a significant tendency to download podcasts are education and income.

Pew survey – Methodology:
The Pew survey was conducted April – May, 2008 on nationally -representative telephone survey of 2,251 adults, among them1,553 internet users. The marginal error on the internet sample is plus/minus 3 percentage.

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9 Responses

  1. Daniel Sellers Says:


    A well written article that includes valid research from third parties. I fully believe that podcasting is well and alive. The market is shaking off many mis-conceptions many podcasters originally had. Get rich and famous quick. I think those still podcasting consistently realize the work that is necessary. Those looking for fame from podcasting are walking away bitter. That is a shame. However, just like the early days of radio, and t.v.; podcasting will catch on. It just requires more patience and hard work.
    Podcast reviews from fellow podcasters

  2. Michael McGimpsey Says:

    I listen to podcasts all the time. I think they are very much alive.

  3. Crystal Says:

    I’m one of those people who downloads them all the time but rarely listens. I have dozens of subscriptions that upload into my ipod at any given time but I’ve never once tuned in despite my best intentions.

    I suspect that I’m far from being alone in this bad habit.

  4. Taly Weiss Says:

    Thanks Daniel, Michael and Crystal. Podcasting is there, its an industry and there are many potential targets. Yet, something did not fuel it up. Might it be that people are still trying to deal with “live” information overload? What conditions are needed? What is missing?

  5. Richard Farrar Says:

    Podcasting makes heavy use of RSS for distribution, so until RSS becomes globally accepted and utilised by Joe public (which it really isn’t at the moment), I think that podcasting will remain a geeky/youngster endeavour.

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