From the blog

Patrick Smith asks whether anyone listens to podcasts, following a US survey which revealed that only 13 per cent of Americans had ever listened to one and Independent editor Simon Kelner’s statement that he doesn’t know anyone who listens to them.

Tom Webster The stat about paying for content referred to the fact that 40 per cent of podcast listeners had ever paid for “digital content”, such as a song from iTunes, and not for a podcast per se, which would no doubt be significantly lower. We’ll have the full report up on edisonresearch.com this week, which will hopefully clear up a lot of confusion.

Chris 13 per cent of Americans is more than 32 million people, which isn’t a tiny number. That said, I’m not convinced about podcasting. I think it works better in some sectors than others, specifically technology.

Richard Fairhurst There’s a big difference between podcasting as timeshifting, which is what the BBC does, and podcasting as new content. Timeshifting is a major innovation and has made the daily commute more pleasurable for thousands of people. It’s radio evolving for the internet generation. But the new content, which I think Kelner was referring to, is generally a bit of a dud. Whywould you want to listen to stream-of-consciousness Heffer rants, when you can read a more thoughtful article of his in a quarter of the time? By the same token, I get exasperated every time The Guardian plugs one of its “Media Talk” podcasts. I fail to see why I should waste half an hour of my time just because they can’t be bothered to spend some time transcribing it into a two-minute read.

David Burckhard Indeed, the single number alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Consider just how podcasting has spread throughout the undergraduate schools and podcasting’s use in business, especially business-tobusiness and you have the potential for explosive growth. I think what we’re seeing now is a levelling off of podcasting as a vanity broadcasting medium and only the beginning of podcasting and subscription RSS feeds used as another viable business.

Olly Surely Simon Kelner has met his brother, Martin, who does a weekly podcast? On Richard Fairhurst’s point about Media Talk, I tend to listen to it on the train journey into work… it’s easier to access than a newspaper on a tube and also you get a sense of involvement that you don’t get with written content. It’s just a different way of delivering content – I don’t think one is necessarily better.

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