They don’t all listen to the same programs, they don’t all use iPods, and they don’t all come from the same background. They are podcast users, and they defy clear-cut connections between usage and factors such as gender, age and income level.
Arbitron and Edison Media
noted a nearly even
gender split between male and female US podcast listeners, with 25- to
34-year-olds making up the largest single age bloc with 24%
representation in the study.
An age-based Bridge Ratings study spanning nearly two years showed
growth in the percentages of older podcast listeners between August
2006 and May 2007.
The increases ranged from a 10-point spike in the
percentage of respondents ages 25 to 34 who said they listened to
podcasts (from 45% to 55%) to a doubling in the response rate among
listeners ages 50 to 64 (from 8% to 16%).
At first glance, these numbers seem to indicate a surge of interest
in podcasting among older listeners. However, this same study showed
that the response rates for most age groups declined between July 2005
and May 2007. The only exception was the 50-to-64 age group, which
experienced a negligible single-point increase in that time.
The ups and downs in the Bridge Ratings tracking study could be the
result of the methodology. Survey participants were asked if they had
listened to a podcast in the past 30 days; but if statistically
significant numbers of respondents were more occasional podcast
listeners, they would not have been counted. Also, the results were
extrapolated from a sample of radio listeners in 10 US urban markets
that do not necessarily reflect the general population.
Similarly, Alloy Media + Marketing found that only 5% of US college
students downloaded podcasts on a daily basis, compared with 83% who
used e-mail, 54% who used social networks and 40% who engaged in IM’ing
every day. To put these results into perspective, even avid podcasters
did not necessarily download podcasts on a daily basis.
From an income standpoint, Arbitron and Edison noted a relatively
even breakdown in the percentages of US podcast listeners in four
income brackets: $25K to $50K; $50K to $75; $75K to $100K; and $100K