It is very common as you walk through the various expositions and events in our industry to see interviews taking place either on the show floor or in some more private area. Generally, I will sit for an interview in either the Broadvox booth or in the established video area. However, up until this year, I had not done a podcast. Doug Green, of Telecom Reseller, finally got me to do one on the merger of Broadvox and Cypress Communications during IT EXPO and while I was at COMPTEL, he got me to sit again. Since, Podcasts are not high on my list of information sources, I discussed with Doug how many people participated or listened to the podcasts. He has quite a few posted on his site from a broad array of participants in the IP community. As I reviewed some of the subjects, it seemed that Doug has been very good at convincing people to sit in his booth and get interviewed. However, I was also interested in the general acceptance of podcasts. That was a lot more difficult to assess.
I was unable to find any recent studies on the adoption of podcasts by general users of the Internet. Most of the information regarding the interest and listenership of podcasts was older than five years. One comment did catch my eye as it referred to a podcasts as “talking to oneself”. That has become a common refrain for blogging among younger users of the Internet. Blogging has been falling off for Internet users in their teens and twenties because they don’t believe they are reaching an audience of any size. Similarly, individuals creating podcasts are probably only talking to themselves. However, when podcasts are used to convey industry knowledge and are consolidated on a respected site, then they are more likely to be accessed.
Therefore, I do not suggest that each of you establish an area on your websites for podcasts. Nor do I suggest paying some marketing firm thousands of dollars to develop and market a podcast. However, I do think that if you find someone like Doug who is developing a following with his podcasts, then participate. It may even be useful to link to certain ones that may be of interest to your customers, prospects, partners or employees. One thing is certain, according to eMarketer, the total US podcasts audience was 10 million in 2006 and forecasted to exceed 50 million in 2010 (again old market data). Even if the numbers are off by 10-20% that is a lot of people.
Listen and, indeed, learn.