HOLLYWOOD, Calif., July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 6% of U. S adults,
or about 9 million web users, have downloaded podcasts in the past 30 days,
according to The Economics of Podcasting, a report released today by
Nielsen Analytics, part of VNU's Media Measurement & Information Group.
In a first quarter 2006 study, conducted by Nielsen Analytics at
Nielsen Entertainment Television testing facilities in Las Vegas, more than
1700 participants were surveyed on their podcasting usage. About 6% of
respondents described themselves as regular podcast downloaders -- more
than 75% of whom were male. The findings show that a significant
percentage, approximately 38%, of active podcast downloaders say they are
listening to radio less often.
"The incredible popularity of podcasting is the latest demonstration of
consumers' willingness to take control of their media experiences," said
Larry Gerbrandt, general manager and senior vice president of Nielsen
Analytics. "While essentially still in nascent form, podcasts offer free
audio and video content that is inexpensive to create, easy to access and
on a portable platform that has already reached mass distribution. This
exciting new medium has only just begun to stretch its legs."
The Economics of Podcasting is the latest in a series of reports from
Nielsen Analytics on the "uber-media consumers" who lead the media industry
in terms of trends and technology.
Among the key findings:
* The most successful podcasts are garnering as many as two million
downloads a month, enabling them to attract mainstream advertising. An
example -- Dixie Paper Company now sponsors the Mommycast Podcast Series
starring Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger.
* Overall, 60% of respondents surveyed said they "always" fast forward
past commercials in their podcasts. Women were more likely to fast
forward than men, with 67% saying they "always fast forward."
* Given the ability to skip commercials, advertisers are already devising
more effective means to reach consumers, such as embedding their
messages within the program content or having podcast hosts endorse
their products and services.
* The survey found that the average length of the podcasts being listened
to was 44 minutes. This may change with the growing popularity of video
podcasts, which generally tend to be shorter, said Gerbrandt.
* Some 72% of respondents who regularly download podcasts say they
download an average of one to three podcasts per week. About 10% of all
podcast downloaders could be characterized as "heavy users", downloading
8 or more podcasts a week.
The Business of Podcasting
Among key findings of The Economics of Podcasting are that podcasts
differ from other forms of online media delivery, such as conventional
streaming and downloading. Like their largely text-based counterparts --
blogs -- podcasts are being adapted by a broad range of businesses and
Among the various users:
* Cable and broadcast networks are converting episodes of some of their
linear programs into cost-effective, short audio and video podcasts to
serve as previews and promotions.
* Movie studios are exploring the potential of podcasting to market films
and DVDs, such as a recent podcast promoting Paramount's Nacho Libre
that features its star, Jack Black.
* Financial service firms, such as McDonald Investments and The Motley
Fool, offer free podcasts on a variety of finance-related subjects.
* The online travel agency, Orbitz, offers audio descriptions of travel
destinations as a marketing tool.
* With laptops and portable media players as ubiquitous on college
campuses as textbooks, professors are making their lectures and class
notes available as podcasts.
Measuring Podcast Usage
The findings of this study also point to the importance of measuring
podcast usage, so advertisers and the media industry will have a
comprehensive picture of who is using this innovative digital multimedia
"For podcasting to reach its full potential, we will have to find the
best ways to keep track of its audiences," added Gerbrandt. "That means
developing accurate and comprehensive metrics that will allow podcast
producers, distributors and advertisers to answer questions like: 'Who are
we reaching?' 'With what kinds of content?' 'When and how often?'"
To that end, Nielsen Media Research, as part of its recently announced
Anywhere Anytime Media Measurement (A2M2) initiative, is launching several
projects that will explore how best to collect and measure podcasting data.
The first project, to be launched this fall, will measure a panel of
400 iPod (R) users by utilizing a software application that can be
downloaded onto a PC and interface with iTunes software. Each time an iPod
is connected to a computer to sync with iTunes, Nielsen will record all
content accessed, and will provide detailed usage information.
Starting in the second half of 2007, Nielsen also will begin testing
its "Solo Meters" for portable media devices. The new meters will track
audio and video usage on mobile platforms, whether users connect via
BlueTooth(R) technology or a wired headset.
"The Economics of Podcasting" report is available for purchase on-line
at the Nielsen Online Store. Click here for more information and to place
duc t_id=22040&category_name=Market%20Research). For more information about
Nielsen Analytics, please email NielsenAnalytics@vnuinc.com, or call
323.860.4659. For a limited time, this analysis is available for $1195.
About Nielsen Analytics
Nielsen Analytics is focused on creating leading edge research,
analysis, strategic advisory and valuation services to companies in the
media & entertainment space with a particular focus on the convergence of
content delivery and consumer media technology -- and the underlying
economic models in the television, motion picture, cable, satellite, music,
home video, video game, mobile entertainment and publishing industries. Its
products and services consist of custom strategic consulting, valuation
services, white papers, research reports and thought leadership.
Nielsen Analytics utilizes the full portfolio of sister companies
including Nielsen Media Research (television ratings), Nielsen
Entertainment (motion picture, home video, music and interactive
entertainment), and Nielsen//NetRatings (Internet usage) to deliver a whole
media point of view. Nielsen Analytics is part of VNU (www.vnu.com), a
global leader in information services for the media and entertainment
SOURCE Nielsen Analytics