• What is a podcast? Does it have a future?

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, a podcast is “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the internet.” Therefore, a podcast could well be described as a ‘broadcast’ which is electronically downloaded into an electronic device such as an iPod. The word ‘podcast’ itself is a neologism of the two words which describe it- broadcast and the iPod. However, it could well be accessed on a computer which had the ability to play media files.
Recently, Apple Inc. announced that their database now had over 1 billion subscriptions to podcasts, which threw light on the fact that podcasts were well going on to become a means of mass absorption of information as was evident in the high number of subscribers to the search base that it has. Further, since the files downloaded via a podcast could be accessed even offline increased the convenience access to information thus had.
Podcasting could well be described as a kind of media which was horizontal in nature- in as such that the ones who consumed could well go on to become consumers and vice versa. Today a large number of social brands are resorting to podcasts thus making the medium a part of digital market strategies.
However, it remains to be seen whether podcasting could go on to establish itself more firmly. The Edison Research Study on the Podcast Consumer (Webster, 2012), from 2006 to 2012 there has been a 105% increase in the awareness of the medium. Then consumers who have actually listened to a podcast have grown 163% in the same time period. Therefore a majority of people are aware of this medium, less than a third had actually listened to one (Martin, 2012). However, the graphical representation of listeners drawn out by the State of the New Media 2012 showed a growth rate which was small yet steady. Further, Pew Reports state that there has been almost 100% growth in podcasts via cellphones, in a period of a year.
Therefore, to me, it seems doubtful as to whether there was a future to pod casting. While most of my data has taken into consideration the year 2012, the outcome in 2013 would determine whether podcasting would stage a comeback, seeing as how experimentation continues in the market with new podcasts.
Martin, T. (2012): http://www.conversedigital.com/digital-strategy/podcasting-statistics-trends-future
Webster, T. (2012): http://www.edisonresearch.com/home/archives/2012/05/the-podcast-consumer-2012.php


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