updated 09:25 am EDT, Fri June 17, 2005
According to new forecasts from The Diffusion Group, a consumer technology research consultancy, demand for podcasts is expected to grow from less than 15 percent of portable digital music player owners in 2004 to 75 percent by 2010. TDG's new report, , suggests that between 2004 and 2010, the use of podcasting among U.S. consumers will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 101 percent. "Today the term 'podcast' refers to almost any online mobile content distribution service," said Marc Freedman, contributing analyst with The Diffusion Group. "It has taken on very general precepts, thus indicative of its status as a service category as opposed to a branded activity."
While the iPod explosion created demand for both portable digital music players and inexpensive, downloadable content, Freedman contends that it wasn't until consumers became aware of personal video recording and the virtues of time-shifting (downloading or saving to consumer media content when most convenient to consumers) that podcasting became a distinct activity.
"Consumers were already accustomed to downloading music for playback on portable devices - this is a well-engrained activity that precedes online digital music," said Freedman. "However, the downloading of online 'audio blogs' for portable on-demand consumption is certainly new. Yes, the roots of podcasting lie in non-commercial amateur blogging, but podcasting's non-commercial status is changing as more businesses begin to find creative ways to use this new delivery medium to push audio content."
Diffusion Group said Freedman's claims have been validated by a host of recent commercial podcasting activity. ABC and NBC (along with MSNBC and CNBC) are using podcasting to offer recorded newscasts via online downloads. National Public Radio, Infinity Broadcasting, and Clear Channel Radio offer a number of popular radio programs for podcasting. Even Business Week created a special audio blog to accompany its recent analysis of the podcasting phenomenon.