Forrester Fruit Salad on Broadband Adoption? And Nielson Talks About the Economics of Podcasting

by Marianne Richmond on July 27, 2006

According to Tech Dirt the headlines of the Forrester Report "China Ahead of US in Broadband Adoption" is another case of apples versus oranges reporting from a major research company. Last week Nielson mixed apples and oranges by comparing those writing blogs to those downloading podcasts.

According to TechDirt, Forrester compared four metropolitan areas in China and compared that with the entire United States to conclude that 41% of Chinese households had broadband compared to 40% of the United States.

TechDirt says that they did some research on their own and put US Broadband adoption at 45% but Chinese adoption at 8%. Their "research of their own" were links to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Report and Web Site Optimization. Web Site Optimization placed broadband penetration in the US at 44.5% (May 2006) and said that Chinese penetration was 8.6%. However they predict that at a growth rate of 90%, China will jump ahead of the US by late 2006. According to Web Site Optimization,

"Summary: China will pass the US in total broadband subscribers by the end of 2006. The US fell to 19th overall in broadband penetration worldwide, and is in danger of being passed by Slovenia in early 2007. Meanwhile, in December 2005 US broadband penetration broke 65% for the first time among active Internet users."

Frankly, I found the date references at Web Site Optimization confusing as well as references between household penetration and penetration among internet users. That might just be me.

They thank Nielsen//NetRatings, Jupiter Research, Ipsos-Reid, the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication, the International Telecommunication Union, Pew Internet, and the Leichtman Research Group for providing their original data.

TechDirt says that Forrester is playing on US fears of lagging broadband adoptions and falling behind China.

This week Nielson issued another report highlighting the economics of podcasting which contained some interesting data: 6% of those surveyed describe themselves as "regular" downloaders of podcasts and 75% of those "regulars" are male and 38% are listening to less radio.

"Among the key findings:

  • The most successful podcasts are garnering as many as two million downloads a month, enabling them to attract mainstream advertising. An example — Dixie Paper Company now sponsors the Mommycast Podcast Series starring Gretchen Vogelzang and Paige Heninger.
  • Overall, 60% of respondents surveyed said they “always” fast forward past commercials in their podcasts. Women were more likely to fast forward than men, with 67% saying they “always fast forward.”
  • Given the ability to skip commercials, advertisers are already devising more effective means to reach consumers, such as embedding their messages within the program content or having podcast hosts endorse their products and services.
  • The survey found that the average length of the podcasts being listened to was 44 minutes. This may change with the growing popularity of video podcasts, which generally tend to be shorter, said Gerbrandt.
  • Some 72% of respondents who regularly download podcasts say they download an average of one to three podcasts per week. About 10% of all podcast downloaders could be characterized as “heavy users”, downloading 8 or more podcasts a week."

Their reference to blogs this week was in reference to business applications, " Like their largely text-based counterparts — blogs — podcasts are being adapted by a broad range of businesses and organizations."

To note,the Forrester Research on podcasting written by Charlene Li published in March 2006 reported that 25% of online consumers expressed interest in podcasting. Well, I would not even attempt to compare "regular" to "expressed interest" but suffice it to say…podcast is a word we should know.

The message to advertisers from the Nielson Podcasting Research? The ad model is dead, long live the ad model….

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