Podcasting Offers a Great Opportunity for Traditional Media

pew_logo_2.jpgBusiness Week is reporting on a Pew Internet & American Life Project podcast downloading survey and gives readers a pretty good summary of the podcast landscape. Highlights from the Business Week article include:

  • “Roughly 12% of Internet users have downloaded podcasts in order to listen in at a later time” (up from 7% early this year)
  • “Most tuning into podcasts are sampling shows available, rather than subscribing and regularly listening to particular programs”
  • “Only 1% of Internet users reported downloading podcasts on a typical day”
  • “Estimates of the number of podcasts range from 30,000 to more than 60,000”
  • “Researchers at the Diffusion Group forecast that 11.4 million Americans will tune into podcasts by the end of 2006″ (21.7 million in 2007)
  • “Analysts point out that it’s still hard for many Internet users to find satisfying podcasts, much less ones that you want to hear on a regular basis”
  • 75% of the podcast traffic is driven through Apple iTunes
  • “Many of the most popular podcasts are produced by traditional media outlets (about half of iTunes’ top 100 podcasts are from existing media companies)”.
  • “A Forrester study found that the content many respondents were most interested in receiving via podcast was produced by traditional media outlets.”
    • 23% of respondents were interested in radio news programs
    • 20% wanted broadcast radio shows
    • 20% wanted to listen to recorded books
    • 18% wanted television news programs
    • 10% wanted recorded news or magazine articles
    • 8% wanted audio content from bloggers.

What it means: even though podcasting (and listening to podcasts) is growing, volume usage is still limited to traditional media consumption. Is podcasting a way for traditional radio broadcasters to offer time displacement like Tivo or PVRs are doing for TV? This clearly seems like a great opportunity from a traditional media point of view, an opportunity to extend the reach and frequency of radio and TV shows (via video
podcasts
).

Harry says: Public broadcasters have already embraced podcasts as a way to timeshift; many NPR, CBC and BBC programs are available within hours of their original radio broadcast. As for traditional media outlets having the upper hand, they do have the talent, technology and promotion machines to stake out the top positions. The world’s most popular non-traditional media podcast, This Week in Tech (reportedly with hundreds of thousands of weekly listeners), features media personalities that produce the show on the side, in addition to their ongoing mainstream media jobs. Reminds me of the adage, giving someone a paintbrush doesn’t make them a painter.

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