Is Podcasting’s 15 Minutes Almost Up?

Dec 2nd, 2006 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, Citizen Media, Commentary, Podcast Distribution, Podcasting Research, Podcasting Statistics

stopwatchMarketingShift is reporting that podcasting’s 15 minutes of fame is almost up.

“Podcasting probably will never become an ‘impact media’ like online video or satellite radio, and deservedly so,” says MarketingShift’s John Gartner. “The multitude of independent podcasters will scratch and claw for the occasional hour when people want to hear about a niche of their interest, but podcasting will have about the same long term business impact as e-books.”

MarketingShift highlights a recent survey by Pew Internet & American Life Project, which found that 12 percent of Internet users have downloaded a podcast, and about 1 percent do so each day.

Some may view these percentages as small. However, based on Pew’s Internet audience size estimates, the percentages translate into about 18 million podcast listeners in the US alone, with about 1.5 million users downloading podcasts each day.

While podcasting may not yet be mainstream, the technology’s audience of tech-saavy users is too large and too attractive of a demographic to be ignored.

Gartner adds some other interesting commentary.

Podcasting technology has been around for a decade, and just because the “Pod” name was put on it a few years ago doesnt mean it will be any more successful.

Listening to recorded discussions is good for when you are traveling, the subject is extremely compelling, or you are bored out of your skull. If you have an iPod, most of the time you are going to listen to music. If you are online, you aren’t going to divide your attention between the screen and your ears because it takes too much of your brain to digest a podcast. Music is a nice background noise that doesnt prevent you from “working.”

It sounds like Gartner may be unclear on what exactly a podcast is, and also the fact that many Internet users like podcasts specifically because they can download a variety of free music podcasts and enjoy whatever type of music they like, whenever they want to listen to it.

No Responses to “Is Podcasting’s 15 Minutes Almost Up?”

  1. Murphy says:

    Would that Gartner’s ability to analyze data could be as sharp as his pointed head.

  2. Way to go for your credibility Gartner! not! Podcasting – ie delivery of enclosures via RSS 2.0 had specifications finalized in September 2004 (and early adopters like myself using it from early October 2004). Before that we had downloads, sure, but not anything like the automated deliver via RSS enclosure.

    No RSS with enclosures and it’s not a podcast, it’s a web download, which is something quite different.

    Does Gartner have any credibility left? Has any one of their predictions ever come close? (FWIW, in my research, no Gartner prediction of the “future” has ever come close to being accurate.)

    Thanks for clarifying tat the end there.



  3. I agree. Podcasting won’t help anyone get anywhere and its just about over and won’t be used as a medium for advertising or help anybody do anything outside of podcasting. Well, except for the TV deal I got through my podcast. And oh yeah, the deal I got at SIRIUS Satellite Radio. But that’s just those two. Except for the 10 TV commercials I’ll being doing in the spring for a mini-mart/gas station company that is all over the US. But THAT is definatley it. Except for the state of KY hiring me to do commercials for their Bluegrass, Blues and Bar B Que section of KY. And then there’s the sausage deal. But THAT is all. NOTHING else. Oh wait, then there’s the…

  4. The interpretation of that Pew report has been appallingly lazy.

    They said that people who have tried podcasts has risen from 7% to 12% in 6 months (71%, or 200% annualized).

    Yet the number of people who download on a daily basis is static at 1%.

    There are several things wrong with the interpretation of that 1% figure.

    1) It’s rounded. If the actual figure was 0.7% six months ago compared to 1.2% now, you would have the same 70% growth. However, that would be lost in the rounding to 1% in each case. And this is because…

    2) The sample size was too small to accurately report on what is a marginal activity. Less that 1000 people were polled. One percent of 1000 is just 10 people! So between 6 and 15 people answered their question in the positive in order to give the rounded figure of 1%. If 16 people said ‘yes’ – which rounds to 2% – we would have “Podcasting doubling in six months” headlines.

    3) For the same reason, the margin of error is +/- 3.5%. So the actual likely answer is somewhere between 0 and 4.5%.

    4) The wording of the question, paraphrasing, was “did you download a podcast to listen to at a later time, yesterday”. So if you listed to the DSC online at your computer – answer ‘no’. If you downloaded 2 days ago – answer ‘no’. If you asked Americans in the middle of June if they watched baseball, I’d guess maybe 40% might say ‘yes’. Did you watch a game yesterday? I’m guessing a fraction of the amount. Watching baseball isn’t a daily activity. Neither is downloading podcasts, for many poeple.

  5. Put that prediction in the same bin as Henrich Hertz’s insistence that the electromagnetic radio waves he discovered could have no practical purpose, and certainly could never be used for wireless radio broadcasting…

  6. […] Dit is ook wat Podcastnews beweert op haar site. John Carter refereert aan een bron die hij vervolgens op zijn manier uitlegt. Opzich is hier niets mis mee maar het geeft wel een vertekend beeld van de werkelijkheid zoals beschreven door BusinessWeek. Maar los van dit is het wel interessant om deze artikelen eens te bestuderen. Wat wordt er nu eigenlijk beweert, door wie en met welke argumenten? […]

  7. Jersey Todd says:

    I love you Wichita, you’re so precious.

  8. […] So, there is growth, but the overall penetration is still quite marginal. Admittedly, podcasting is still a young technology (apparently, as issues about its specifications frequently pop up during conversations on podcasting throughout the past days), still I have some mixed feelings about Pew’s findings. Even though the demographics of podcasting may be attractive to marketers, RSS is not. Podcasting might suffer from the same teething troubles like regular blog feeds, not offering enough statistic-pingbacks. I suppose the big money will skip podcasting and turn itself directly to online-video, probably turning the podosphere into a niche-market. […]

  9. […] Found at Podcasting News via Marketing Shift via Business Week. […]

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