Don’t Believe the Forrester Hype

Forrester has been creating quite a bit of buzz for themselves on the heels of their latest podcasting report, claiming that only 1% use podcasts. In fact, Forrester is predicting that only 700,000 households in the US will use podcasting in 2006.

When I first saw people linking to this article, I was immediately suspicious. Why? Because everyone else’s numbers had been much higher. Take, for example, the Pew Internet and American Life project report from March of 2005 (before iTunes adopted podcasting) that stated 6 million Americans have listened to podcasts. In addition, consider Apple’s announcement (after the Pew report) that in the first two days of podcast adoption, they topped one million subscriptions.

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So why should you not believe the “hype” around Forrester’s report?

  1. Forrester is only measuring those who “regularly” download and listen to podcasts… not the total marketplace. Heck, without coughing up the $250 for the report, we don’t even know what “regularly” means.
  2. Forrester is talking about “households”, not individuals.
  3. This one is the BIG issue – Forrester is only counting people who listen to podcasts on a portable media player! That’s what it says in this Information Week article on the report. If this is true… it’s huge! A recent study suggests that only 20% of podcast listeners do so on their portable media devices!

This latest Forrester report, in my opinion, was aimed at generating controversy rather than giving us real insight into the podcast listening audience. Spread the word! Forrester got it’s buzz… but we still want real data. – John Keehler



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It seems to promote the virtues of streaming video over podcasting. Given the recent timing of the CBS announcement that it will be offering its programs as streaming video instead of dowloadable podcasts, it makes me wonder whether or not CBS was privy to this study before it was released and were fooled into reading more into it than is warranted.

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