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State of the Podcast Sphere Part 1

Posted by geeknews at 2:09 PM on November 8, 2009

I look forward to writing this post each year, but I  have to admit some of the data results cannot be expressed properly on this blog. On one hand I want to applaud podcast host that get it, but for a great many others I wish I could simply scream and shake them by the shoulders and say wake the hell up.

The results make it apparent that the reason many of your shows are not growing, is because a percentage of have set yourselves up for failure. Many have failed to do the basics on their websites to make it easy for listeners to consume the content.

We examined Podcasters sites that received more than 10 nominations during the 2009 Podcast Awards Nomination Period. A total of 2381 sites were reviewed.

NOTE: The below information has nothing to do with how the podcast awards voting slate is derived. This is a seperate effort I undertake each year to get a sampling of what is happening in the podcasting space and on podcasters sites.

If you quote these numbers in your own blog post please provide a link back to the source data as I have went to considerable expense to provide these numbers free to the podcasting community. My personal company Podcast Connect paid for this.

Base Review consisted of 2381 Sites:

21% Had Invalid Podcast RSS Feeds.
59% Had Feeds with Errors but where Valid.
51% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was a Blog Feed only.
21% Had an RSS Icon on their default landing page that was Podcast Ready.
23% Had a Podcast RSS Feeds Buried on a SubPage in their Website
44% Of Sites had a Podcast RSS feed we could subscribe to!
81% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon on their default landing Page.
93% Had a Visible iTunes Subscription Icon someplace in their website.
6% Had a Visible Zune Marketplace Icon on their websites. (See Note Below)
43% Had a Visible e-mail contact address on their website.
14% Had a Newsletter sign-up page.
11% Had a call in number for listeners to comment on their shows.
88% of the sites had good unique website branding.
59% Had less than one paragraph of show notes for their past 5 podcast.
51% Had a physical download Link on their websites.
71% Were Creating Audio Only.
9% Were Creating Video Only.
20% Were Creating Audio and Video.
23% Number of Podcasters Blogging as well as Podcast content.
19% Where creating Audio, Video & Blog Posts
66% Of total Nominations were Shows creating Audio, Video and Blog Posts
3% of Sites where mobile phone ready (iPhone, Android, Palm Pre)
37% Did not have their show listed on Blubrry.com
51% Did not have their show listed on PodcastAlley.com
14% Did not have their show listed on Podcast.com
41% Had a Twitter Link on their website
53% Had a Facebook Link on their website

While I think the data points paint an obvious picture let me lay out a few of the obvious points.

Source RawVoice: Do podcasters realize the Zune has been responsible for 17% overall increase in unique podcast listeners over the past two years? I question why podcasters would ignore a huge segment of potential listeners by not carrying a Zune subscribe icon on their website.

There are 100′s of devices that cannot sync to iTunes, and by not having a Podcast RSS feed visible on the main page of their websites, that they are simply not reaching those listeners. This includes the millions of people who have smart phones.

Why do we continue to see such jacked up RSS feeds?

Five years into podcasting and podcasters still do not understand that RSS is the lifeblood of their podcasts. It blows me away that it is impossible to find Podcast RSS feeds on popular podcasters sites. I find it striking that I can find links to people’s Facebook pages, but have a hard time finding a link to subscribe to their shows.

Smartly some podcasters are learning that they cannot rely on Audio or Video alone that they have to a variety of media. Audio, Video, Blogging

Show Notes: Some Podcasters are finally waking up and finding out that Google can be their friend and that by writing comprehensive show notes results in more traffic to their websites.

I will let you do your own interpretation of Part 1 of my report, but I am convinced the success of my personal show is largely to do with content creators not doing the basics to be found, seen, heard and subscribed to.

Part 2 will be a comprehensive look at how podcast networks are playing a key role for podcasters.

I do want to extend a big thank you to the team in the Philippines that did this work.

Todd…

16 Comments

  1. From Freddy, NOTLP Crew at 2:38 pm on November 8, 2009

    Very insightful! Thanks, Todd!

  2. From Ron Evry at 3:51 pm on November 8, 2009

    How many sites were there where their spelling skills were awful?

    Do not podcasters understand that they need to use proper punctuation when phrasing a question?

    And what is happening on podcasters’ sites? Are they using apostrophes when appropriate?

    What in the world does the success of your show have to do with the perceived failings of other content creators. If your show is successful, bully for you!

    By the way, if you set a thousand friends loose, you will probably lose a few in the process.

    -=-Mister Ron-=-

  3. From geeknews at 4:23 pm on November 8, 2009

    There is always one smart ass

  4. From John White at 7:30 pm on November 8, 2009

    What I find disturbing is a trend in this year’s nominations toward major media produced shows.

    2008′s nominated class was comprised almost entirely of independent podcasts. There wasn’t a single nomination for an ESPN podcast nor a show listed on Yahoo.

    What happened? And where is the support for the independent podcaster? That is not to just call out those who nominated the shows but to the community as well.

    Todd, your project last year produced a list of shows from the little guy. What changed in twelve months?

    It’s time for the independent podcasters to unite for one common goal and one purpose – to promote the media they produce and the art of podcasting itself. and to do it not to put money in the pocket of anyone out there. This should be free – just like our shows.

    Awards are nice but not necessary. The simple truth is that the ESPN’s of the world will dominate the space until we prove that we can produce quality content and that we can promote it.

  5. From geeknews at 7:39 pm on November 8, 2009

    Here is the issue. Most independent creators are going it alone and think they do not need to work with other podcasters. Look at the trend in the nominations. Shows part of networks are very largely represented because they understand what team work is and work together.

    Sadly most podcasters are not willing to work together. Look at what we have accomplished at TechPodcasts.com, ProMedNetwork.com, TravelCastNetwork.com all of these shows are thriving and growing at much higher rates then regular shows.

    Until podcasters quit thinking they can do it on there own networks mainstream or independent will continue to thrive.

    Revision Three, TWIT, GSPN, TPN are represented well simply because they are networking and not going it alone. But you cannot tell this to most A type personality podcasters.

    The number of indpendent shows nominated this year is about the same as last year, the exception is the sports section and why is sports different ESPN has been smart they have a large number of sports shows being distributed in podcast format.

    Strength in numbers continues to be a model that works and pays well for those that belong.

  6. From Joe at 7:37 am on November 9, 2009

    I think part of the problem with the RSS feeds is that the content creators don’t fully understand it. They take for granted that whatever system they use has an RSS feed already configured and make the assumption that it is working properly.

    Even if they figure out that their feed is not working properly (as I did on one of my WordPress blogs), some, like me, are ill-equipped to fix it. As such, we turn to a forum or stumble through a google search and if we don’t happen to find the answer or we can’t get an answer we stay right where we are with a broken RSS feed. I posted a question at the WP forums and never got an answer to what should have been, for someone, a simple question.

  7. From GNC-2009-11-10 #526 Soap Box Time! - Geek News Central at 1:35 am on November 10, 2009

    [...] Links: National Listener Survey See how I have been using GotoMeeting State of the Podcasting Sphere! Can Hackers shut the United States Down? Cough into Phone get Diagnosis. Time Lapse Video pretty [...]

  8. From KC at 4:22 pm on November 11, 2009

    You really ought to hire a proofreader for this article. Don’t throw stones about validation errors when you have misspellings and omitted words.

  9. From Ron Evry at 5:11 pm on November 11, 2009

    BTW, I’m not a smart ass. I believe that people who write advice for public consumption ought to use the services of a skilled editor.

    “Ewe cud awl weighs real eye on a spell cheque err.”

    My own independent podcast, which did not receive a nomination, is not part of a group of podcasters, although I have friends in the podcast community.

    It was written up a few days ago in the Washington Post, which really makes me happier than winning something like this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/08/AR2009110817915_pf.html

  10. From Dai at 8:27 pm on November 11, 2009

    I must agree that when spelling and grammar errors are allowed to creep into posts, it often makes it hard to read the rest of the blog post. The errors also impact the perceived professionalism of the blog and/or podcast, as these errors can be easily fixed before anyone reads them. Generally speaking, you do not encounter these types of errors on sites like ESPN – perhaps that factors into their showings in this year’s awards.

    I am also a bit confused – one minute we are talking about teamwork/working together, but then when someone suggests that a proofreader might improve the readability of a post (ignoring the sarcasm, of course), “quit bitching”?

    I have been a long-time listener of your podcast, and a sometimes reader of your blog. I admit that it has sometimes been difficult to read some of the posts due to the errors, I have always come back because I respected your opinions and your willingness to put yourself out there. I am shocked, however, that you would treat someone like that when they are attempting to participate in the conversation. I will have to think long and hard before I again listen to your podcast.

    Thank you for your time. I sincerely hope that your response was typed “in the heat of the moment” and was not intended to alienate your readers/listeners.

  11. From geeknews at 10:46 pm on November 11, 2009

    The information is here to take as you wish. If it does you no good so be it. I provide it free to the community to do as they wish..

    Having worked in this space for 5 years and haven been one of the first 100 podcasters and also the lead person at RawVoice that is putting 100′s of thousands of dollars in podcasters pockets each year I feel I know a little bit about what it takes to grow a show.

    These data points should tell you if your website is missing elements. The fix to each of these issues is simple and the average podcaster could be in the 100 percentile in a very short time.

    Todd…

  12. From Kimberly at 10:54 pm on November 11, 2009

    Why do people seem to be acting like, it’s a personal attach. Does the truth hurt too much.

    I personally found the data useful as a newbie to the podcasting world.

    Thanks to Todd, this information gave me ideas on what I might be doing wrong or areas I could improve on.

    Again, Thanks Todd.

  13. From Geekazine at 11:37 pm on November 11, 2009

    I am happy to say that I have met a lot of the criteria for my shows. I have worked hard to make it that way. There are a couple improvements I have to make, but for the most part, the show is on a good track.

    I agree on the article. If you look at this in offense, then I would say that you are looking at it the wrong way. If you were to embrace the issues and correct the problems, you might just get a boost in your listeners.

    Then again, if you don’t, then maybe something else is wrong…

  14. From Phoomp at 7:43 pm on November 12, 2009

    Great compilation of a lot of interesting information and stats!

    I bookmarked this article and will be renovating my site over the next few days.

    Thanks!

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