I saw this over at http://www.podcastingnews.com  and thought, "I must be on to something!"

Edison Research today released their annual joint study, with Arbitron, of Americans”™ radio consumption habits - and it shows that podcasting continues its steady, unrelenting growth.

According to the report, the podcast audience has grown by 22% since last year, expanding from 18% of all Americans in 2008 to 22% in 2009.

Edison”™s study, “The Infinite Dial 2009” (pdf) details how we listen (and, with online video, how we watch) to online radio offerings, including podcasts.

Among the study”™s findings:

  • Social Networking. Listeners to online radio are more likely to have a profile on a social networking site (like MySpace, Facebook, or even LinkedIn), 54%, than the general population, of whom 34% have a social network presence.
  • Internet Video. As you probably expected, Internet video consumption exploded last year, with approximately 69 million, or 27% of people, watching online video sometime in the past week. That figure is up from 18% in 2008.
  • Portable Media Players. More than four in ten people (42%) own an iPod, iPhone, or other kind of portable media/mp3 player, and among the 12 - 44 year-old crowd, that percentage jumps to above 50 percent. The “key radio demographic” of 35-to 54-year-olds are becoming more frequent online radio listeners.
  • Podcast Audience. Forty-three percent of Americans are aware of podcasts, up from 37% last year. Twenty-two percent of Americans have ever listened to a podcast (up from 18% in 2008), and approximately 27 million (or 11%) have listened to one in the past month (up from 9% last year).

It”™s worth noting that Edison”™s definition of podcasting is intentionally simplified, to facilitate survey gathering.

Here”™s how Edison defines podcasting:

“Audio podcasting is the concept of downloading various types of longer-form online audio programs, in the form of digital files you can listen to at any time you choose.

Audio podcasting does NOT refer to the downloading of individual MP3s or songs.

Audio podcasting does refer to the download of program-oriented online audio (such as a talk show or a hosted music program), usually as an automatic download that can be listened to at the user”™s convenience.”

Edison”™s definition seems to exclude a wide variety of popular podcasts, like Nine Inch Nails”™ remix podcast, (which delivers individual MP3s). Because of this, their findings should be considered with their podcast definition in mind.

The report carries many more interesting tidbits about Americans”™ consumption of online radio. We will be looking forward to finding out more about the implications of the report”™s findings.

Graph: The Infinite Dial 2009, via Edison Research


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