Don't believe the Podcast hype

Many news sites and blogs have used the Pew soundbite from their latest research ' 6 million American adults have listened to podcasts', examples include Podcasts Reach 6 Million US Adults at PC Magazine and Podcasts infiltrate 6 million Americans at Macworld UK.

Techdirt picks up on the disinformation.

"The folks at the Pew Internet and American Life Project tend to come out with pretty interesting studies that don't often seem overhyped -- but this appears to be an exception that really calls into question what the Pew people were thinking. It didn't take long for many to question the findings, noting that it's quite an extrapolation to go from 60 people answering yes to six million in the US. Amazingly, even the folks at Pew admit they don't believe the 6 million number. They only put out the press release about it -- why should they have to believe it, or even support it with the facts in their survey?

In fact, the research director behind the study clarifies (after the fact, of course) that the study actually asked people: "if they had ever downloaded a podcast or radio Internet program." So, out of 200 people, they got 60 to admit that they had maybe at some point downloaded an internet radio program (which is not necessarily the same thing as podcasting) "

This last point is the root of the broohaha: it is down to the definition, its misuse and intepretation of term 'Podcasting'. From Wikipedia:

""Podcasting" is a web-based broadcast medium in which files are made available online in a way that allows software to automatically detect new files (generally via RSS), and download them. A podcast can be thought of an audio magazine subscription, in that a subscriber receives regular programs without having to remember to go get them, and can listen or watch them at leisure."

Pew press release. Full PDF report.