According to a recent Pew Internet and American Life Project study, Internet users are shifting their media consumption habits to downloading more podcasts.As compared to 2006, where only 7% of users had downloaded a podcast; podcast interest in 2008 has more than doubled, rising to 19%.
However, unlike with other Internet trends, more men than women report ever downloading a podcast.
Though podcasting is not yet a permanent daily fixture among Internet users, as just 3% of all those surveyed download podcasts on a typical day. Of those who download podcasts, 17% do so regularly.
Supply Grows With Demand
The demand -- supply rule works here, too. As the demand for podcasts grows, so does its availability. The study also reports that, in 2006, Podcast Alley -- a popular podcast directory -- catalogued more than 26,000 podcasts. Since then, the number of podcasts has almost doubled to more than 43,000.
More Podcasting Options
Thanks to iTunes and other online subscription providers, podcasts are reaching more people and covering a variety of topics. While technology is the most popular sector, with more than 4,000 podcasts available, academic podcasts are gaining popularity, too. iTunes University, one of the most powerful podcast providers, is used by many colleges and universities to provide podcasts of various lecture series and important speakers on campus.
Podcasts are proving to be a driving force in the continued evolution of the social media. There are more and more online venues that cater to broadcasting of audio and video on the Internet for the sole purpose of podcasts being downloaded at the leisure of Internet users.