Podcasts are huge; it’s just the audience that’s tiny

From Good Morning Silicon Valley

Who’s listening to podcasts? Apparently no one. According to a new report from Forrester,  only 1 percent of online households in North America regularly download and listen to podcasts.  “Podcasts have hit the mainstream consciousness but have not yet seen widespread use,” Forrester analyst Charlene Li explains. “One-quarter of online consumers express interest in podcasts, with most interested in time-shifting existing radio and Internet radio channels. Companies that are interested in using podcasts for their audio should focus not only on downloads but also on streaming audio as a means to get their content and ads to consumers.”

So podcasting, for the moment at least, is not only a bare trickle in the media stream, but one whose appeal is limited to those who use it to time-shift broadcast radio.  Now to be fair, we’re only 18 months or so into the podcasting phenom, and Li predicts that  it will grow to reach 12.3 million households in the U.S. by 2010.  So there’s a chance yet that it will someday become a mainstream medium. But right now it seems there’s little evidence to merit all the bloviating we’ve been hearing from podcast evangelists.