Television

Podcasting growing in the US: Nielsen survey

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MUMBAI: Nielsen//NetRatings, which works in the field of Internet media and market research has announced that 6.6 per cent of America's adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast

Four per cent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast. These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 per cent, and online daters, 3.9 per cent. However, podcasting is not yet nearly as popular as viewing and paying bills online, 51.6 per cent, or online job hunting, 24.6 per cent.

For the uninitiated podcasting is a relatively new technology that enables users to quickly and easily download multimedia files, including audio and video, for playback on mobile devices including iPods and other MP3 players, as well as cell phones.

Nielsen//NetRatings analyst Michael Lanz says, "The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young on-the-go audiences. We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate".

As is often typical with new technologies, young people are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in audio or video podcasting. Web users between the ages 18 and 24 are nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, who were also more likely than the average Web user to do audio podcasting.

Video podcasters showed 25-34 year olds indexing the highest. Web users above the age of 45 were less likely than average to engage in podcasting of either sort. Since the popularity of Apple's iPod is largely responsible for the spread of podcasting, not surprisingly podcasters enjoy using Apple products and visiting Apple Web sites. For example, audio and video podcasters are over three times as likely as the average Web user to use Apple's Safari as their primary Internet browser.

Among audio podcasters, Macworld is the most-visited content site, with a composition index of 606 (see Table 4). Apple and iTunes are the No. 2 and 3 e-commerce sites visited by audio podcasters, with composition indexes of 455 and 396, respectively. The Apple connection is not as clear for video podcasters, who flock to Startrek.com among content sites, with an index of 864. Live365.com and eMusic are the two most popular e-commerce sites for video podcasters, with indexes of 730 and 656, respectively.

Lanz adds, "Competitors to the iPod are now in the marketplace, but Apple got a big head start. It will take time before other portable media players make significant in-roads with the early-adopters who are currently podcasting".

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