April 26th, 2006 at 11:14am
Before you get your hopes up, no this post does not contain download statistics, they will be delivered in the monthly blog view stats.
In the last few weeks I’ve received a bit of correspondence from the guests who have been on Samuel’s Persiflage, about the monthly statistics I send out. You see, not only do I post the download statistics each month in the blog view stats, I also send statistics letters to all of the guests, with details about the downloads of their episodes.
In general the response has been very good, the guests are pleased to know approximately how many people have been listening (these are download stats, they don’t prove exact listenership), and are looking forward to the monthly updates.
This is pleasing for me as I decided that it would be a good idea to do this from the start. Basically, when you do a radio or television interview, you can find out pretty easily the approximate number of people listening/watching. TV ratings are published daily, and radio ratings come out to a set schedule. Unfortunately the same is not true for podcasts, and as this is a relatively new form of media, some people are skeptical of there being any point in appearing on a podcast.
There is also a problem with the fact that traditional broadcasts are generally instant or mildly delayed, but are usually broadcast once, with no ability for the end viewer/listener to replay what happened if they didn’t record it. Basically, you speak, people hear you, the world carries on. With podcasts though, you speak, a bit later the podcast is published, and for the rest of eternity people may hear/see your message. This obviously isn’t any good for a message you need to deliver right now, but for non-urgent messages this can be quite effective.
This changes the way ratings need to be measured though as you can’t just say “250,000 were listening when you spoke”, you effectively have to say “250,000 heard you on Monday, 75,000 on Tuesday, etc etc”, and of course you can’t really measure the exact size of the audience due to the very nature of downloads, so you measure downloads and call it an approximate audience size, which it is with the law of averages (some will download part of a podcast, some will download a full podcast and share it with others).
As podcasting matures, I think we will see more and more podcasters providing download statistics, as it is something which interests most of the audience, is useful for future guests, and good information for previous guests.
I’m by no means the only podcaster doing this, but I am one of the leaders in providing statistics, and I get the feeling that one day I will be able to say “I helped to start that!”.