Podcasting and Radio

Post ImageRadio industry research firm Arbitron has released a new report that has some information related to podcasting, though they consider it a form of radio. I wondered the other day, as I have in the past, if podcasting was stealing some of the audience away from traditional radio, and the Arbitron report seems to answer no:

According to the report, “Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they expect to listen to AM/FM radio as much as they do now despite increasing advancements in technology.” For people that have listened to podcasts, 27% expect to listen to less radio, and among satellite radio users, 36% expect to listen to less radio.

I guess we’ll find out won’t we? The report also states that 22% of Americans have heard of podcasting, and that 11% have actually tried podcasting. Evidently, the people that are using podcasts are young and relatively affluent.

Read: Podcasting News

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

Podcasting Research Findings

Post ImageYou might recall that a little over a month ago I mentioned Peter Chen’s very promising survey of podcasters and the preliminary results. I remember getting the email about the final findings, but I must have overlooked it in the chaos that was my November (at least the first two weeks). From the abstract:

Based on a survey of 366 podcasters and videobloggers, this paper examines these emerging cultural practices from aspect of production, with specific interest in producer motivations, production methods, the relationship between formats, and audience numbers. The exploratory research findings – largely limited to English language producers – illustrates a number of interesting features about this area of activity.

I’d go out on a limb and posit that “podcasting” and “audioblogging” are generally accepted to be different practices, and I don’t think that “video podcasting” and “videoblogging” will be any different. That being said, the title of the research as “Podcasting and Videoblogging” is kind of off-putting. Is it really videoblogging, or is it actually video podcasting? It would make a difference if you’re really trying to compare the audio and video guys.

The findings are really quite interesting and basically make me long for even more research. Of course, too much research can be a bad thing in some cases too (today wine will save you, tomorrow it will kill you, etc). The frequency of production, gender, and age of producers are immediately the most interesting, but there is lots of data to grok.

Read: Peter Chen

Google Analytics Very Slow!

Post ImageI’m not exactly sure when Google released their new Analytics service, but it was recently. Apart from being the cleanest looking of all the various Google offerings, it looks like one of the most useful services too. Who doesn’t want to know more information on their website traffic? Here’s what Analytics is all about:

Google Analytics tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. You’ll be able to focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliver ROI, and improve your site to convert more visitors.

Unfortunately, I haven’t really been able to evaluate the service! I added their tracking code two days ago, and my account still says waiting for data. A quick blog search reveals that lots of people have encountered the same problem. How long is it supposed to take?

After you first install the tracking code, it generally takes 24 hours for report data to appear in your account. Google Analytics generally updates your reports every 24 hours.

Well I’m clearly past that 24 hours, and I’m still waiting. I just hope the data is up to date once it starts showing up. More later.

Read: Google Analytics

Preliminary Podcasting Survey Results

Post ImageVia Derek I came across Peter Chen’s preliminary statistics from his podcasting and videoblogging survey. He makes it clear that the results are preliminary, and that follow-up data is being requested with more analysis to come. Having said that, the results are quite interesting! Here are some highlights I picked out:

  • Looks like the majority of podcasters publish content weekly. (48.77 %)
  • Average episode length is just over 29 minutes.
  • The average number of minutes spent producing an episode is almost 260! That’s an incredibly high number that we hope to reduce with our solutions. I know how much time it takes – that’s one reason I stopped BlogosphereRadio to focus on building the tools!
  • About 61% of respondents say they have no business model – they do it as a private endeavor. Sounds like my Average Joe Podcasting post was spot on!
  • English is overwhelmingly the most commonly spoken language. (85.75 %)
  • One stat that surprised me – around 83% of respondents were male. For some reason, I expected that to be a little lower. I think it’s because of the recent push in blogging to find female voices; I probably figured that podcasting would benefit.

Very intriguing results. I look forward to seeing what Peter comes up with next. I also wonder just how representative these numbers are – there’s no margin of error or anything posted (probably because they are preliminary results).

Read: Peter Chen