17% Podcast Growth Expected, Should You Get Involved?

Podcasts merge the inevitable evolution of technology with our First Amendment rights. While it sounds high-tech, it is actually quite simple; any person who has an iPod or any MP3 playing device can download a podcast, an audio or a video file made available for syndicated download on the Internet.

These files are not music as people typically associate with MP3s, rather a podcast can consist of a person talking about a particular subject, reviewing a product or even having a debate between several people.

eMarketer projects a figure of 37.6 million people downloading podcasts on a monthly basis by 2013, up 20.2 million from 2008’s figure; a 17% growth between now and then. To further support this, surveys from shoppers show that more than half of those surveyed online also listened to or downloaded podcasts.

The breakdown of the survey results were heavily skewed, with young adult males between the ages of 18 and 29 making up the majority of the results.

While podcasts may seem irrelevant to SEMA members, various organizations have already taken advantage of podcasts. CK Media, who produces the DriftZone podcast for the Formula Drift series, has used podcasts for the past three years to convey vehicle buildups, driver interviews and event recaps for fans. BBC radio produces an F1 podcast for each practice day, race day and post-race discussion.

So what is a SEMA member to do with this technology? For starters, members who support a racing team can create a podcast to follow the team’s progress and keep fans informed. Podcasts can chronicle research and development on new products and take consumers behind the scenes to understand the work that goes into the products they buy.

Some companies insert advertisements into podcasts or sponsor ones made by others. With the advancement of technology it is easier than ever to reach consumers across the globe.

As technological phenomenon’s, such as MySpace and Facebook, automotive-focused forums and even the widespread use of smart phones (Blackberry and iPhone) have proven, staying current with technology is not only relevant, but could ultimately be an inexpensive solution to engaging your audience. — SEMA Research & Information Center