Podcasts – Could They Be the New Black?

Brits, it seems, lead the way in downloading and listening to podcasts.

According to research published by eMarketer, four in 10 internet users in the UK aged between 16 and 54 have downloaded podcasts at some point in their interactive lives.

That compares with just 29.5% of the same demographic in the US (Source: Universal McCann‘s Power to the People: Social Media Tracker)

But it is looking a little closer that throws up the potential this holds for media suppliers and, dare I say, bloggers.

While 40% may be an encouraging statistic, further analysis by Entertainment Media Research at the turn of the year suggests that just eight per cent of its respondents were regular podcast subscribers while just two per cent paid for such content.

Yet of those who did, there was an even split between the number of males and females downloading aged between 15 and 54, suggesting that a free podcast of particular note could do well in attracting users and retaining them if good enough.

Perhaps more interesting, the fact that 16.5% of those quizzed by RAJAR during April and May this year said they would still be interested in downloading podcasts supported by advertising, bolstered by a further 36.7% claiming they would be somewhat interested.

By contrast, just 31% said they would be willing to pay for ad-free subscription podcast, according to Rajar’s ‘Podcasting and radio Listening via Internet Survey’.

But as content improves and publishers and broadcasters look for other ways to engage users and find new ideas for generating advertising revenues, might it be that podcasts become the next ‘big’ thing in media land?

Categories: Media philosophy & trends

1 reply

  1. Shame not everyone’s so in tune with the potential of podcasts. As I pointed out at http://www.iainhepburn.com/please_stand_by/2008/07/seo-what.html, a senior publisher type at a major UK newspaper told me about a year ago that there was no future in podcasts, that they were a fad and that they had no real audience. I won’t name the individual for fear of embarrassing them, but clearly and speaking from personal experience the reverse is true.
    The key to podcasting being a success is, perhaps even more than blogging and web publishing, it really is accessable by all. All you literally need is a computer and an iTunes account, and somewhere to host the podcast.
    Most computers have a decent quality mic and basic audio software on board these days, democratising the process far more than blogs as you don’t necessarily need a good grasp of written English. Some of the best casts out there are folk with no broadcast or journalism experience – just a microphone, a bit of wit and something interesting to talk about.
    The subscription numbers are interesting, especially given the success of Danny Baker and Ricky Gervais in offering subscription-based downloads. With Gervais the superstar value is key, clearly, but Baker’s shows what you can do with a loyal audience and a cult figure.

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