And while everyone loves the idea of a podcast and lots of people enthusiastically talk about making podcasts, it’s actually difficult to find a lot of people who admit to listening to them. Hands up, how many people out there listen to podcasts on a regular basis. I’d be surprised if more than a few people raised their hands.
If the paucity of podcast listeners is true, why is that? Podcasts should be popular because they’re easy to produce, which means they’re a huge variety of content available; they’re pretty easy to find and download, and listening to them on your computer or MP3 player is user-friendly. Hit play, and you’re good to go.
But in the scheme of things, podcasts have such a low profile. While podcasts struggle to gain momentum, blogs continue to boom, video-casts are becoming more popular as they get easier to make and access through places such as YouTube, and photo-sharing still has plenty of traction. You could argue that podcasts are the ugly-duckling on the user-generated content family.
Even though few people want to admit listening to podcasts, there are apparently lots of people apparently downloading them. According to ReadWriteWeb, Wizzard Media (which owns Libsyn, Switchpod and Blast Podcast) passed the one billion download barrier in 2007.
But as RWW points out, getting an accurate read on what this accomplishment really means given it’s difficult to tell how people consume podcasts after they are downloaded. For example, I’ve got a bunch of podcasts in my iTunes but only listening a very small number.
The other podcasting mystery if whether there is a business to be had. In other words, are advertisers gravitating to the medium at a time when they’re still, at best, dabbling with putting ads on blogs? While there are podcasts that attract sponsors, my sense is the vast majority of podcasts never even get a sniff of advertising revenue – and it’s not like there’s AdSense for podcasting if you are looking to make a few bucks on the side each month.
So, Leesa Barnes (one of Canada’s leading podcasters), what do you think? Is podcasting, in fact, alive and well?
Technorati Tags: Podcasting