Posted March 23, 2007 4:53 pm by with 13 comments

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Although still highly “niche,” the popularity of podcasting has grown by 18% year over year according to Edison Media Research (via Podcasting News). In their survey in 2007, 13% had listened to a podcast, up from 11% in 2006. (The 18% is lift: (13-11)/11=0.181818.) Awareness of podcasts has grown even more, from 22% having heard of the medium in 2006 to 37% in 2007. (68% lift.)

Video casting has grown from 10 to 11%, which is 10% lift. There is some doubt to whether this is accurate, since such popular vidcasts as Ask a Ninja and Rocketboom wouldn’t fit into the same definition as a podcast (ie they’re usually not downloaded for later listening or viewing).

Edison VP Tom Webster says of podcasting’s growth:

If you think podcasting isn’t “broken,” think on these graphs again. 15 million more Americans learned about podcasting this year, and the vast majority responded…”meh.” You can grouse about the numbers, you can grumble about mainstream America’s apparent inability to grasp how great podcasting is, and you can blog about “the end of podcasting.” Somewhere, though, somebody will see this data for what it is—a challenge to work harder, to claim the greater prize.

Perhaps most valuable of all is the study’s demographic information on podcast listeners:

  • 49% female, 51% male.
  • All ages. The survey found more listeners 55+ than in the 18-24 age group.
  • Well-educated. Twice as many podcast users have advanced degrees as others.
  • Well-to-do. Podcast users are twice as likely to have incomes over 100K and nearly twice as likely to have incomes between 75K and 100K.
  • Wired – spending more than 50% more time online.
  • More likely than others to own an HDTV and use a TiVo or other digital video recorder.
  • More than twice as likely to own an iPod or other portable media player.
  • More than twice as likely to own video gaming systems.
  • Twice as likely as others to use NetFlix or other DVD rental service.
  • 36% more likely than others to have made online purchases.
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to have purchased songs or other digital audio online.

The survey also included some interesting information for advertisers:

  • Podcast users are twice as likely to have clicked on a banner ad.
  • However, podcast users are also much more likley to actively block spam, pop-up ads, spyware and other unwanted advertising.

Clearly, the sruvey was indicated to induce or at least facilitate podcast advertising. It’s not too surprising that podcast listeners skew rich. Aside from being able to afford iPods and MP3 players (and a broadband connection), podcast audiences need to have more leisure time to listen to the podcasts.

Podcasting is still a very young medium that hasn’t quite “arrived.” When will podcasting arrive? How will we be able to tell? Or perhaps the better question is which, if any, offline medium will have to make the leap to podcasting for it to gain widespread acceptance?

For more advice, be sure to check out Webster’s conclusions at Edison Media Research.

  • Jordan McCollum

    PS: Hat tip to Andy. How did you know I like data? 😉

  • Just a hunch. 😉

  • I think the biggest challenge podcasting faces is making itself accessible to the masses. It’s still not as straightfoward as it could be to subscribe to a feed and find it available when you have time to listen to it. There’s still an amount of planning for pod-casting-savvy users to go through and the reality is that most people out there jut aren’t bothered.

    For podcasting to be a success it needs to be as available as listening to the radio – available at the touch of a single button – whenever and wherever the listener wants it.

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  • I don’t know why podcasting hasn’t caught on as quickly as some of the other media forums.. but I suspect its only a matter of time.. as Owen states, it’s not very straight forward – especially to your average user!


  • I’m pretty tech-savvy and a bit of a gadget freak. My main reason for buying an MP3 player wasn’t to listen to music, but to listen to podcasts. I haven’t listened to a podcast in ages, mainly because I can’t get Juice to run on Vista, and I haven’t found the time .. or motivation to hunt around for a different feed aggregator .

    I might pick it up in the future, but i can’t be bothered messing around just to listen to Adam Curry waffle along ….

  • One of my favorite sem/seo podcasts

  • I’ll stick it in my favourites for the next time I start listening to podcasts again …

  • I just don’t understand why podcaster isn’t more popular than it is. From time to time I spend more time listening and watching podcasted stuff than TV. Find a little nugget of gold like the TED lectures and the satelite doesn’t get watched for a while.

    I would have thought that companies like the BBC and other TV channel/ distributers/ makers etc would make a much greater use of it. Guess their must be rights issues but I’m sure that’s solveable.

    Lots of money is being spent by TV companies on DVRs and the like but this almost seems to be a solution waiting to be used.

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  • Isn’t it just like online shopping? It took a while… but last year people purchased more clothing online than in stores. Books, other items. Huge online now. It’s just going to take time.

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