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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