More people have downloaded a podcast lately than have published a blog or engage in online dating, according to a new study by Nielsen//NetRatings.
The study, based on data from its @Plan Summer 2006 release, found that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have downloaded an audio podcast in the past 30 days. It also found that 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast.
By comparison, Nielsen//NetRatings’ data shows that 4.8 percent of the U.S. adult online population publish blogs, and 3.9 percent engage in online dating. Those activities still lag far behind online job hunting, at 24.6 percent, and paying bills online, at 51.6 percent.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This blog post attempts to clarify some of these figures.
Podcast listeners skew younger, with Web users between the ages 18 and 24 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. Video podcast downloading was slightly more popular among the 25-34 group, followed by users in the 18-24 and 35-44 age groups.
“The portability of podcasts makes them especially appealing to young, on-the-go audiences,” Michael Lanz, an analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings, said in a statement. “We can expect to see podcasting become increasingly popular as portable content media players proliferate.”
The study also found that podcast users are more than three times as likely to use Apple’s Safari browser, and twice as likely to use Firefox, than Internet Explorer.
The @Plan panel is made up of 36,000 adult Internet users in the United States. The data collected supplements Nielsen//NetRatings’ traffic data with user lifestyle, demographic and attitudinal information for media planners and buyers.
Nielsen//NetRatings’ findings paint a rosier picture of podcasting’s future than a recent Forrester Research report issued in April. That report, based on a survey of 5,051 online users in North America, found that only 3 percent of users had ever downloaded a podcast, and only 1 percent did so regularly. In addition, about 73 percent of people said they’d never heard of podcasting and didn’t care to learn more about it.
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