Podcasters Could Make Millions

Jul 27th, 2006 | By | Category: Making Money with Podcasts

Marketwatch’s Frank Barnako is bullish on podcasting, saying that “The most popular podcasts could be making their producers more than $1 million a year.”

Barnako is highlighting research from Nielsen Analytics, released last week, that focuses on the Economics of Podcasting. In the past, Nielsen’s research has been subject to ridicule by some podcasters because Nielsen seems to confuse podcast listeners with podcasters. Their research is nevertheless helping to define the current understanding of podcasting.

Barnako notes that the most popular podcasts, with downloads pushing 2 million downloads per month, could generate 6-digit advertising revenues. Barnako’s blog features a discussion (MP3) with Nielsen Analytics’ Larry Gerbrandt.

Other key findings from Nielsen’s report include:

  • The most successful podcasts are garnering as many as two million downloads a month, enabling them to attract mainstream advertising.
  • Overall, 60% of respondents surveyed said they “always” fast forward past commercials in their podcasts. Women were more likely to fast forward than men, with 67% saying they “always fast forward.”
  • Given the ability to skip commercials, advertisers are already devising more effective means to reach consumers, such as embedding their messages within the program content or having podcast hosts endorse their products and services.
  • The survey found that the average length of the podcasts being listened to was 44 minutes. This may change with the growing popularity of video podcasts, which generally tend to be shorter, said Gerbrandt.
  • Some 72% of respondents who regularly download podcasts say they download an average of one to three podcasts per week. About 10% of all podcast downloaders could be characterized as “heavy users”, downloading 8 or more podcasts a week.

The report also highlights organizations experimenting with podcasts:

  • Cable and broadcast networks are converting episodes of some of their linear programs into cost-effective, short audio and video podcasts to serve as previews and promotions.
  • Movie studios are exploring the potential of podcasting to market films and DVDs, such as a recent podcast promoting Paramount’s Nacho Libre that features its star, Jack Black.
  • Financial service firms, such as McDonald Investments and The Motley Fool, offer free podcasts on a variety of finance-related subjects.
  • The online travel agency, Orbitz, offers audio descriptions of travel destinations as a marketing tool.
  • With laptops and portable media players as ubiquitous on college campuses as textbooks, professors are making their lectures and class notes available as podcasts.

Nielsen notes approximately 38% of active podcast listeners listen to radio less.

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