Podcasts to Hit Inflection Point in ’07

During a radio interview yesterday (iTunesmp3), Jon Gordon, the host of Future Tense, asked me

whether universities will continue pouring content into their iTunes troves in 2007. The answer boiled down to this: Podcasting stands poised to proliferate in ’07, much like the web did back in ’95 and ’96. Just a year ago, the New Oxford American Dictionary selected “podcast” as the “Word of the Year.” The buzz is out there. But how many people have ever listened to a podcast firsthand? It turns out not too many. In a recent survey, the Pew Research Center found that only 12% of web users have ever worked with podcasts (as compared to 7% one year prior), and only 1% download them daily. These numbers are partly a reflection of supply and demand. Not too long ago, podcasts were fairly limited in number. But, during the past 12 months, many universities (see our full collection) have carved out some space on iTunes and developed substantial collections. Somewhere in ’07, we should hit an inflection point. Supply will increase demand. Demand will trigger more supply. We’ll see exponential growth and never look back. The days where you could personally keep tabs on all the great new podcasts will simply be over, although we’ll sift through them and highlight what’s worth your time.

Resources Mentioned in Interview:

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  • I manage the webcast.berkeley program which oversees UC Berkeley on iTunes U. We have over 1700 individual lectures available for download in iTunes and are working hard to grow the program and keep the lectures completely open and publicly available.

    Our Spring 2006 podcast and webcast line-up has been posted at webcast.berkeley and Berkeley on iTunes U (http://itunes.berkeley.edu). Instruction begins on Tuesday and we are looking forward to getting our podcasting program underway for the Spring 2006. Thanks for a great story!

  • Adam Hochman says:

    I “co-manage” this program with Ben, and I wanted to make a minor correction. Our Spring 2007 line-up has been posted, not 2006. We also have our own site, which contains archives of semesters past, as well as hundreds of event webcasts.

    In 2006, through our locally managed site, webcast.berkeley.edu, UC Berkeley offered 82 courses (over 3600 hours) and 79 events (193 hours) to a worldwide audience in disciplines ranging from Astronomy to Psychology, and prominent speakers such as UC Berkeley Nobel Prize Winner George Smoot, Retired News Anchor Dan Rather, and Naturalist Jane Goodall.

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