How many podcasters are there?

Post ImageI read some of the comments and other blog posts that referenced the Forrester report I linked to yesterday, and it seems that most people think the numbers are far too low. John Furrier has an excellent roundup of estimates, and Todd Cochrane said he thinks the unique listener number of 700,000 is actually “about 10 times that many.”

After I thought about things a little more, I realized that the problem is not whether they are too high or too low, but rather that we have no idea how many people are creating podcasts. Seems to me you need to have creators actually producing something before you can have listeners! I know there’s more to it than that, but a good idea of the number of people who are creating podcasts might help in trying to establish a credible number for how many listeners there are.

So far I haven’t really been able to find any such data. Our own estimates here at Paramagnus peg the number of creators at somewhere around 30,000 worldwide, but that is an extremely “back of the envelope” guess, and I would not be surprised to find it is wrong. Does anyone have reliable data on this sort of thing? Also, we haven’t yet bought the Forrester report – does it contain information on podcast creation, or just the listener side of things?

Podcasting Research from Forrester

Post ImageNo disrespect to Peter Chen or the Diffusion Group or anyone else that has done podcasting research thus far, but I was pleased to see a research report from Forrester. Finally something from a widely respected and referenced research group. Also refreshing is the fact that the report doesn’t make podcasting out to be an amazingly fast growing technology (though it is growing pretty quickly and will probably grow faster over the next couple years). In the new report, titled “Podcasting Hits The Charts“, Forrester shows that only 1% of North American households regularly download and listen to podcasts:

Podcasting will get easier and the content will get better, but it will all take time.

So should companies be putting podcasting on the backburner? Hardly. Content that already exists – such as earning calls, training updates, and executive presentations are all excellent fodder for podcasts. Think of us poor analysts who must listen to streamed quarterly calls while chained to our laptops! My caution is that companies shouldn’t be dashing out to create expensive original content for a small audience – unless they gain value from being seen as innovative.

That first sentence is incredibly important, I think. Podcasting still isn’t easy enough for most people! And yes, these things take time, but hopefully we can help solve that problem in a couple months. The goal of our podcasting solution is to first of all make it easy.

The second bit of stuff I quoted there is important too. We’re doing a lot of our own research on the business sector of podcasting right now, and we really agree – there’s a huge market. Podcasting is an excellent way to solve some communication problems that have always existed.

Read: Charlene Li