Ride the podcasting long tail

According to new forecasts from The Diffusion Group, a US-based consumer technology research consultancy, demand for time-shifted digital audio files – that’s ‘podcasts’ to you and me – is expected to grow from less than 15% of portable digital music player owners in the US in 2004 to 75% by 2010.

The firm says its new report Podcasting: Fact, Fiction and Opportunity  – which costs a whopping $1,495.00! – suggests that between 2004 and 2010, the use of podcasting among US consumers will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 101%. (Hat tip: Mike Wendland.)

For many would-be business podcasters, you can make some relatively safe judgements on podcasting by just reading TDG’s press release from 15 June, and taking a look at summary projections from Forrester Research published in April which said:

[…] Podcasting, which is the newest entrant into the digital audio mix, will see significant growth by 2010 – reaching 12.3 million households – as MP3 adoption climbs and broadband reaches 62 percent of households.

Then, make sure you read the latest RSS data analysis from FeedBurner, published on 6 June, about podcasting on the rise.

Key point:

[…] In February, we managed 20 podcasts with over 100 subscribers and hundreds of podcasts with more than 10 subscribers. Now we manage about 20 podcasts with over 1000 subscribers and hundreds of podcasts with more than 100 subscribers.

As we noted in our first podcasting report in February, a typical "long tail" is developing. Granted, these are still very small numbers we are talking about when contrasted with other media, but considering the wealth of additional podcasting tools and services about to come to market, both podcast production and subscription will undoubtedly become easier.

So, an order of magnitude leap in attention in just a few months is exciting.

Now, ride that podcasting long tail.

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3 thoughts on “Ride the podcasting long tail

  1. Some consumers who would balk if you asked them to download a podcast would be ecstatic if they could download the kind of audio art/news/information that appealed to them for play when it was convenient to them. For that reason, I don’t have any trouble believing the 75% figure quoted.
    Just as “blog” sounds too esoteric for some people, I suspect “podcast” will seem foreign to some folks who end downloading content in spite of (rather than because of) the name. Time shifted audio has much more appeal for Joe and Joanne Public, I think.

  2. I think podcasting as a term has taken off quite well in many parts of Europe (although Radio Sweden talks about podradio just to be different. I just had a Forrester party projecting 1996-2000 Forrester reports on a screen and laughing at how inaccurate many of the figures turned out to be. Save your 1500 bucks. Podcasting will sink or swim once easy to use production software gets there. NOT there yet, IMHO.

  3. Good points, Eric and Jonathan.
    On the TDG report, maybe that’s the way to make money out of podcasting – put together a report and charge $1500 for it! But I really can’t imagine anyone coughing up that kind of cash for a report where much of what you need to know is easily discoverable on the net, and free.
    Mind you, the report seems focused on podcasting music, so maybe the target purchaser is the music industry. You know, those label guys with bags of cash.

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