Colin Dixon, Senior Analyst, IP Media and Michael Greeson, Founder & CEO of The Diffusion Group have posted an essay entitled “Recasting the Concept of Podcasting: Part I.” The essay points out what many of us suspected, the vast majority of people consume podcasts on their computer (or not at all) as opposed to on a portable device. The authors cite a study by Bridge Data indicating 80% of podcasts never make it to a portable device. The essay focuses on the existing definition used by the New Oxford American Dictionary which includes “downloading to a personal audio player” and then goes on to suggest creating a new “understanding” of podcasting starting from scratch. As someone who was around when the term first was used (Dave Slusher’s September 18th, 2004 post regarding Dannie Gregoire’s “podcaster” user agent hitting his URL – now there is some podcasting history for you) I never presupposed it required a portable device; just that podcast files could make that migration. This was an added benefit hopefully leading to increased consumption. The authors correctly point this out in their article and make a distinction of what “podcasting” means now that Apple’s marketing team is involved.
The information is interesting. What is troubling is, in an article focused on the technical meaning of podcasting, the authors misuse the term “podcaster” and seem to have no idea what it means:
You mean to say that four out of five “podcasters” don’t consume podcasts on a portable device? You mean these are “poser podcasters”? ….(b) 80% of those who we call “podcasters” are nothing of the sort.
They have confused podcast listeners with podcasters, i.e., those who create and disseminate podcasts. This is akin to confusing a radio listener and a broadcaster. Why am I writing about this? Because The Diffusion Group has a number of studies focused on podcasting that are often referenced in the media. Since they hold themselves out as an authority, it is important that they are correct on such basic issues. This is the kind of stuff I usually just ignore, but anyone who sells their research reports on podcasting for $1495.00 a piece ([link] and [link]) has a duty to be right on these issues. I guess I just worry when the “experts” get the basics wrong. I’d be curious to see if their podcast research reports contain similar mistakes, but I just can’t justify spending three grand for the pleasure of proofreading them.