In show #21 of The Hobson & Holtz Report on Monday, Shel and I discussed research on podcasting from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that was released on that day. Pew’s research information we discussed included this statement:
Some 29% of the 22 million people who own iPods/MP3 players have downloaded podcasts. That represents more than 6 million people.
It now appears that this information is not what it seems.
According to a Techdirt report on Tuesday:
[…] the research director behind the study clarifies (after the fact, of course) that the study actually asked people: "if they had ever downloaded a podcast or radio Internet program." So, out of 200 people [who were interviewed], they got 60 to admit that they had maybe at some point downloaded an internet radio program (which is not necessarily the same thing as podcasting) — and from that they put out a report with the headline that "6 million American adults have listened to podcasts."
If that’s true – and there’s no comment on the Pew website – then I’d have to question the validity of much of Pew’s statistics. Disappointing to learn of this.
However, while trust in Pew has taken a bit of a dent, I don’t think this news diminishes by any means what clearly is a growing trend. I feel pretty comfortable saying that and relying on data such as the numbers of podcasts that are catalogued in the various podcast directories like Podcast Alley, which have more and more every time you look.
These are plenty of valid indicators.