Podcasting Numbers Under Delivered?

    February 5, 2008

I know that eMarketer’s numbers on the growth of podcasting should make us all feel warm and fuzzy, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the channel has severely under delivered.

The good news is that US audience numbers should grow from a total audience of 18.5 million in 2007 to a whopping 65 million by 2012. Also good news, the amount spent on podcast advertising should grow from $165 million to $435 million by 2012.

But, let’s take a closer look at the numbers:

If you read the small print, you’ll see that "total podcast audience" is made up of "individuals who have ever downloaded a podcast." What does that mean? Well, it certainly must include those that have downloaded a single podcast, thought to themselves "this sucks" and then went back to listening to their radio or mp3 player.

But wait, it gets worse!

That number also includes anyone from "ages 3+." Huh? OK, last time I checked, 3-year olds were not listening to podcasts and making buying decisions based on the ads they hear.

With that in mind let’s turn our attention to a more meaningful number: those active podcast listeners that download at least one podcast a week. That bloated number of 65 million drops to just 25 million. That’s 25 million, including toddlers!

OK, I admit, 25 million is still a pretty impressive number, but it’s still not stellar growth for the medium, is it? Especially when one analyst is calling for the industry to already hit maturation.

Are you disappointed with the growth of podcasts? Do you include podcasts in your advertising budget?