Thursday, April 27, 2006

Podcast audience small in numbers, big in influence

Recently, there have been a number of reports that say that the podcast listening audience is growing, yet isn't growing. Then, there are reports that say the audience is too small, yet is large.

And then, there are people on panels saying that advertisers need to accept that the podcast listening audience is small and that podniche advertising (my word) is the wave of the future.

This is all enough to make my head spin. So many different reports saying different things and using different measurements to come to their varying conclusion.

Yet, I do agree with the conclusion that was made at that panel - that the small listening audience each podcast will garner will become a very powerful group for advertisers.

Here are my predictions:

  1. Podcast audiences will remain small over the next 12-months because the number of podcasts will continue to outnumber listeners.
  2. In about 24-months, podcast listeners will begin to outnumber podcasts as many podcast producers will podfade.
  3. Podcatchers will become more sophisticated so that listeners will be presented with better quality podcasts.
  4. Standards will be developed for podcast producers in attempt to separate the amateurs from the professionals.
  5. Podcast listeners will become an influential group, relying on word-of-mouth to help their favorite podcasts rise in prominence.
  6. A few podcast hosts will become so powerful based on the influence (not the size) of their listening audience that they will be able to make (or break) the reputation of a brand.

'Til then, we'll continue to get wild variations of who's listening, how many are listening and how quickly the podcast industry will grow.


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