80 Million in Podcast Advertising This Year?

You might have already seen this new report released by eMarketer that has new projections for the growth of podcast listeners and the amount of money going into podcast advertising. You’ll have to lay down $695 to see the whole report, but here’s the gist of what they have revealed:

In 2006:

  • 10 million people will listen to at least one podcast
  • 3 million people will have downloaded at least one podcast on a weekly basis
  • 80 million dollars will be spent on advertising in podcasts

By 2010:

  • 50 million people will listen to at least one podcast
  • 25 million people will have downloaded at least one podcast on a weekly basis
  • 300 million dollars will be spent on advertising in podcasts

Here’s my reaction to these numbers.

Audience Growth

These figures seem reasonable. Due to the huge sale of iPods (100+ a minute according to 2005 Q4 numbers), inclusion in iTunes and a precedent set by blogs–not to mention people’s disillusionment with the current state of media–the number of podcast listener’s will continue to grow rapidly.

In a report from November 2005, Bridge Ratings stated that 4.8 million people had listened to a podcast in 2005 and this number would reach a conservative 45 million by 2010. This lines up with eMarketer’s 10 million number for 2006. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bridge Ratings is one of the sources cited in the eMarketer report.

Podcast Advertising Dollars

80 million?!? I must admit this surprises me. I have previously mentioned that 2006 would see considerable adoption of podcasting as a valid advertising medium, however, 80 million seems a bit ambitious.

Maybe I’m underestimating big media’s ability to adapt quickly and spend that much money. There’s still a lack of information needed to meet their comfort level. They want good demographic information and accurate market measurement. For now, there’s no way to measure how many people actually listen to a podcast, leaving listenership numbers unclear. That is a hurdle we need to overcome as a new media.

eMarketer Editorial Director, Mike Chapman, attributes the advertising dollar influx to the following:

  • The attractiveness of the demographic
  • The steep growth in the number of listeners
  • The appearance of several companies dedicated to podcast advertising placement and measurement
  • The fact that several major brands have already made the plunge and invested money

I can’t speak to the exact sources for their numbers as I’ve not read the full report.

Will this trend hit a whopping 80 million in ad spending? I guess we’ll see. I’m not one to prematurely ruin the party, but, despite my wholehearted hopes for podcasting, I cannot as of yet embrace this 80 million dollar figure. I’d like to know more about how it was derived.

Despite my skepticism and surprise, I remain open-minded (and hopeful). If it’s true, I plan to claim my slice of the pie.

There’s one point I will solidly and respectfully disagree with Mr. Chapman on. He states:

“The appeal of moving images to both consumers and advertisers and the continued evolution of devices like the video iPod mean that videocasts will become the predominant format within the next five years.”

When it comes to consumer preference regarding podcasts, Video will never surpass audio for one simple reason: I don’t see myself driving down the road, jogging or doing dishes while watching my video iPod. The multitasking nature of audio podcasts cannot be overcome by “the appeal of moving images”. I could be wrong, but that’s the way I see it right now.


  1. says

    As a podcaster myself who has seen great success in non-monetary measures, its very encouraging to think that the “hobby” I spend so much time with could one day pay the bills.