Crunching Numbers Doesnt Interest Podcasters

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“This is really the holy grail,” said Patrice Curtis, of Curtis Research Group to a nearly empty room at the Podcast Metrics session of the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. “Everyone should be in this room.” Maybe everyone was at the Turning Passion Into Profits, or Marketing’s New Change-Agent.

Metrics isn’t exactly an exciting topic for a group of creatives trying to grow their businesses, even if measurement is necessary. This crew just really didn’t seem to care.

But Curtis’ concern was justified, according to her and the panel, numbers is how you make your case for podcasts in the corporate world – a world many here at the conference seem hell-bent on avoiding.

Podzinger’s Alex Laats began the presentation with a discussion about what we’ve learned from the search industry, and how important it is to new media. Podzinger has developed a speech recognition technology that converts audio to text, so that content is findable, and so relevant advertising can be placed alongside it.

This offers increased visibility for the content, says Laats. Keywords and clicks are measurable and add to subscriber numbers, even if download counts are still sketchy. There’s still no way to know if a download was full or partial, or if was deleted before listening.

“Clicking indicates user intent,” he said.

Podzinger is working on ways to aggregate data on how frequently users play podcasts and for how long. According to Laats, music gets the longest play time at an average of 30 minutes, though the average podcast is played for six minutes. In video podcasts, the longest listened to was religious content, at 12 minutes.

These numbers conflict with Leo Laporte’s view that a two-hour podcast was ideal.

Dave VanDyke, of Bridge Ratings, ran down his company’s project numbers for the sparse audience. VanDyke revealed that by the end of 2006, there will be 6.3 million podcast users. In 2007, that number is expected to grow to 8.3 million. By 2010, that number is expected to double to 16 million podcast users.

According to age group, VanDyke says those ages 12-24 listen most, 52 percent of them downloading over 10 podcasts per month. He estimates the number one barrier to broader adoption is the complicated process of downloading to a computer and transferring to a portable media device. If simplified, podcasting could reach a much broader audience. Less sophisticated listeners are leaving the podcast on their PCs, rather than transferring.

Crunching Numbers Doesnt Interest Podcasters
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