More than 6 million American adults have listened to podcasts, according to a new report from the nonprofit Pew Internet & American Life Project. That amounts to 29% of the estimated 22 million U.S. adults who own MP3 players.
A podcast is an audio file that has been published or syndicated online as an RSS feed. It may be music, a radio-style talk show, or other audio content. Those who subscribe to a podcast feed with the appropriate software can choose to automatically download the file, which typically gets transferred to an iPod or a competing digital audio device for playback.
The audience for podcasts skews toward youth. The report finds that nearly half of those between 18 and 28 who own an MP3 player have downloaded podcasts, while 20% of those over 29 have done so.
While the study didn't include anyone under 18, minors appear to have a major influence on their guardians in terms of device adoption. Some 15% of parents living with children under 18 have the devices, compared with 8% of those without children in the house.
Those who hope podcasting develops into a viable advertising channel may be encouraged to hear that iPods and other MP3 players appeal to an upscale audience. The study notes that 18% of those living in households earning more than $75,000 annually have the devices. Among households earning less than $30,000 per year, only 7% have them.
The study is the result of a national phone survey of 2,201 adults that was conducted between Feb. 21 and March 21.