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Friday, July 28, 2006

Nielsen Podcast Survey Presented Dodgey Numbers

On July 13, I read a story on a couple of blogs about the inaccuracies of a recent Nielsen study on podcasts, then Wednesday (13 unlucky days later) I saw that CanWest papers, including The Vancouver Sun, had published the original study numbers and a recap of a Washington Post article. Seems unfortunate that the Washington Post didn’t do their research to see that the numbers were faulty, seems even more unfortunate that CanWest then passed off bogus info as news.

Here’s the press release posted on MarketWatch.com: “Nielsen//NetRatings announced today that 6.6 percent of the U.S. adult online population, or 9.2 million Web users, have recently downloaded an audio podcast. 4.0 percent, or 5.6 million Web users, have recently downloaded a video podcast. These figures put the podcasting population on a par with those who publish blogs, 4.8 percent, and online daters, 3.9 percent.”

The Washington Post requires a subscription but here’s their headline from July 23 (10 days after it was public knowledge online that the numbers were inaccurate): “As Podcasts Spread, Advertisers Sniff Money” by Kim Hart, F07 (Post, 07/23/2006): “The podcast is heading for the mainstream. A report released by Nielsen Analytics last week found that podcasts—online broadcasts downloaded from the Internet for playback on portable devices—are ...”

Here’s the story I read announcing that the numbers were inaccurate.

From Frank Barnako’s blog: “Nielsen “podcast” survey not only about podcasts. Just had a conversation with Michael Lanz, the analyst on the podcast survey by Nielsen/NetRatings whose findings were released yesterday.  He said that while the firm’s news release said more than 9 million audio and 5 million ‘podcasts’ were downloaded, well—maybe they weren’t all podcasts.”

Seems that Nielsen didn’t clearly define podcast, which means that music downloads were included in the 9 million figure.

I love that with blogs, blog writers are smarter because blog readers keep them on the right path.

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