Forecasts: U.S. Podcast Users to Hit 60 Million by 2010; Tool Market to Reach $400M

Some 60 million Americans will be listening to podcasts by 2010 and the demand for tools and services to create podcasts will reach US$400 million within the next year, two analysts are predicting.

The consumer technology research company, The Duffusion Group, reports the demand for time-shifted digital audio files, or ipodcastsi, is expected to grow from less than 15% of portable digital music player owners in 2004 to 75% by 2010. TDGis report suggests that between 2004 and 2010, the use of podcasting among U.S. consumers will enjoy a compound annual growth rate of 101%.

"Consumers were already accustomed to downloading music for playback on portable devices ? this is a well-engrained activity that precedes online digital music," said Marc Freedman, contributing analyst with The Diffusion Group. "However, the downloading of online iaudio blogsi for portable on-demand consumption is certainly new. Yes, the roots of podcasting lie in non-commercial amateur blogging, but podcastingis non-commercial status is changing as more businesses begin to find creative ways to use this new delivery medium to push audio content."

Mr. Freedman said examples of how Podcasting is catching on is the early adoption of the technology of by media names such as NPR, ABC and NBC, Infinity Broadcasting, and Clear Channel Radio, many of whom are already offering programming via downloadable Podcasts.

In a related report, Alex Nesbitt, president of Bella Ventures Inc., is predicting the market for podcasting tools and services will reach $400 million, "in the near future." The business consultant also said podcasts of "enduring content" are likely to become valuable as archives.

Capturing university lectures and speeches will drive growth, he added. "Narrowly focused, but very high-value content that is similar to high-priced subscription newsletters, such as investment research, should also have strong commercial appeal," he added.

Mr. Nesbitt predicts advertising will vecome a major factor in podcasting, but also believes being able to accurately survey usage and audience demographics will prevent many big names advertisers from trying out the new medium.

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