This morning I was reading about the growth in podcasting over the past year. Surprisingly (or not), there was large growth in podcast awareness but small growth in use. Why has the growth in use been so small? I think much of it is due to the fundamental way that podcasts are used. In contrast to blogging, where the user determines their speed of consumption, podcasting limits the user to consuming the information at one rate. While podcasting cannot be skimmed like a blog entry, it can accompany an article or blog to make the content more meaningful. While there are users that subscribe to their favorite podcasts, most users will selectively pick those podcasts that they want to listen to on an individual basis.
I rarely listen to podcasts because I’d much rather skim through rss feeds. A couple days ago though I was browsing PRWeek and found an interesting interview discussing social media monitoring so I listened in. The segment was around 5 minutes and I listened for the entire duration. I found out about the segment via the article I was reading. This was a perfect example of effectively using a podcast. In this information hungry world we live in, there is no way that podcasting could ever experience the growth that blogging experienced, but it can experience a spike in usage through effective utilization.
I predict that more of the a-list blogs will begin to take advantage of alternative forms of media (video and audio) as they begin to compete with mainstream media for consumer attention. Much of the growth in podcasting will come from single segment users rather than full subscribers. The Edison Media Research report suggests that podcasters begin to sell their content. Not a bad idea. Who wants to work with me to make the podcast e-commerce marketplace?