I came across an article on CNET News.com today which cites an IDC report and proclaims that shipments of MP3 players are expected to hit 124 million units in 2009. That’s an incredible 370 percent increase from the 26.4 million units that were shipped worldwide last year. Podcasting is surely going to benefit from the surge in mobile devices, and it may become an even richer experience too:
The report also explored the revenue potential of three other portable devices that play back compressed audio: DVD players, mobile phones such as the Motorola Rokr and gaming devices such as Sony’s PSP. This category of “other” portable play-back devices is expected to exceed 700 million units shipped with an estimated $114 billion in revenue in 2009, IDC said.
Combined with the MP3 player category, all compressed audio players are expected to reach 945.5 million units shipped and $145.4 billion in revenue worldwide by 2009.
Combined with new devices that also support video, such as the new video iPod, the potential market for both audio and video podcasting is huge. I don’t know the numbers, but I would expect a large majority of podcasts today are simply played on the computer, not on a mobile device. As more people acquire these devices, and as the devices themselves become easier to use and update (like wireless transfers of audio files, support in all major automobiles) I think that trend will change. More and more people will listen on the go. The main potential problem that I would predict is poor battery life – it needs to drastically improve from where we are today.
It will be exciting to watch podcasting grow in the coming years! So far 2005 has been a big year for podcasting, but I am certain the best is yet to come.
Read: CNET News.com