Update: See below - Charlene Li reports on podcasting market and podcast adoption. I previously had a PodTech InfoTalk with Charlene last year. She is a very solid analyst but I don’t know why or how she would come out with these low numbers. It seems a bit low. If you look at iTunes and iPod marketshare alone - I estimate that around 15-20 million people are accessing podcasts on iTunes. Independent to my opinion some Apple watchers put the iTunes client software penetration estimates at around 100 million worldwide. In another report ( I believe it’s Infoworld) estimated that 22% of iPod users were aware and consuming podcasts. This data along makes Charlene’s analysis look very conservative.
Unlike Forrester the Diffusion Group is more bullish and recently put out a report that says the podcast user base is currently 4.5 million and will grow to 60 million by 2011.
At PodTech we do podcasting day in and day out and it is clear from the PodTech.net data is that usage is up and users are accepting and listening to podcasts. Independent of the Forrester report I see a bright future for podcasters and podcasting and soon we’ll have some data to report on usage and consumption patterns. Where I do agree with Charlene is that users want quality content and tend to gravitate toward brands that they come to know and trust. That being said expect to see a new breed of brands emerge that earn the trust of users.
Update: I edited out my comments earlier because some folks thought they might be too harsh on Charelene. They were not intended that way. I know Charlene and she is a very solid analyst. I was just surprised and that came across the wrong way.
A couple of podcasting metrics have been floating around recently.
- According to Forrester, 1% of the households surveyed listen to podcasts regularly.
- eMarketer estimates there will be 3 million active podcast listeners by the end of 2006, 7.5 by the end of 2008.
- Diffusion Group estimates there will be 11 million by the end of the year.
- NPR reports to have had 18 million podcasts downloaded since August and eight NPR’s titles are in the iTunes top 100.
- Rick Gervais’s podcast had two million downloads in the first seven weeks of its being available on iTunes. They claims its was the most popular podcast on iTunes during that period.
- Liberated Syndication (libsyn), has three thousand users, hosting over 55,000 episodes and has over a million downloads a day.
- iTunes player currently has about 30 million users. Apple’s Websites have about 36 million unique users a month.
- The US has about 100 million broadband users.
Okay, what does it all mean?
The average of the three US podcast active listener estimates is 5 million. I suspect the large discrepancy in the estimates (between 1 and 11 million) can in large part be explained by differing definitions of “active” or “regular.”
We are working on metrics at PodTech because we are working with advertisers and producers. A new metric centered around attention will be the big story. Steve Gilmor is leading a most important effort in this area and I see podcasting and new media having a metric on this very soon. Stay tuned.
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